Tommy Gene Hightower, Sr., of West Columbia, Texas, passed to his heavenly home surrounded by his oldest son and family members on January 14, 2023, to be in the presence of Jesus, his lovely wife, Linda and son, Tim. Gene was seventy-six years old and lived a life full of family, adventure, sports, church and work. He was born November 25, 1946, to Ward and Jo Hightower in Mineral Wells, Texas. His school years were spent in West Columbia, and he graduated in 1965. He attended Sam Houston State University to study and play football. He married Linda Sue Williams on June 10, 1966. In Houston, he worked for Cameron Ironworks. Later, he returned to West Columbia to begin work for Texaco Oil Company and work at his father’s service station. He raised his sons, Tommy Gene Hightower, Jr. and Timothy Mitchell Hightower participating in all of their activities and making sure that they had memorable childhoods. He often became the bonus dad for their friends and teammates.
He bragged about working in the West Columbia oilfields for fifty-three years with a very high work ethic where he proudly retired three times. Gene loved to learn and share the history of the roughnecks, roustabouts and pumpers that kept the black gold flowing. It was a place where he taught his sons to hunt, fish and even drive. Many memories were made together in the oilfields. In the later years, he even took Mitch, his loyal companion, for a relaxing afternoon ride through his stomping grounds.
In 1979, Gene trusted Christ as his Lord and Savior. This was a life-changing time and impacted the many years that followed. He was an active member of First Baptist Church West Columbia and helped where needed whether it was driving a bus of kids or the Golden First Family. He worked on the bus many late nights to make the trips possible. His beautiful bass voice as well jokes from the back row of the choir room were part of every musical preparation. He could be found changing light bulbs in the halls, building sets for productions or quietly doing odd jobs for the widows and widowers who needed a helping hand.
He loved to help friends, family and strangers in times of need. You could find him in the kitchen at Lucy’s Mexican Restaurant helping his best friend, Johnny Ramirez. In service of others, he dedicated numerous hours and late nights at WC Little League Baseball Fields. Serving on the Central EMS Board, teaching young men how to change their brakes in his driveway or changing lightbulbs at Coburn Chiropractic made him feel joy, and it was done with a big smile. He was generous with his time not expecting anything in return.
Gene was a man who loved adventure whether it be camping, hunting, fishing, canoeing or antique shopping. Anyone who knew him, knows that he bled maroon for his Texas Aggies at any and all events. There are wonderful stories of his time in Aggieland where he folllowed the baseball and football teams while keeping their stats.
Gene is preceded in death by his parents, son Tim Hightower, sister Kay Hightower, brother Darrell Hightower, wife Linda Hightower, her parents and brother-in-law Butch Miller.
He is survived by son Tommy Gene Hightower, Jr.; grandsons Jacob Hightower, Kevin and Lacey Hartney, Cody and Cynthia Halfman; great-grandchildren Rustin Hartney, Caidee, Cheyenne and Lane Halfman; sister-in-law Joe Ann Miller; niece Heather, Jason and Brayden Bell; nephew Stephen, Jennifer and Shelby Miller; cousins Larry and Rita Dawson, Jo Frances and Ted Hale, Sandra and Alton Maddux. Gene is survived by numerous family and friends.
Pallbearers will be Patrick McGaughey, Cliff Nugent, Frank Reid, Stephen Reed, Jason Newman and Kyle Baker.
Visitation will at C.T. Baker & Sons Funeral Home, 634 S. Columbia Dr., West Columbia, Texas from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Wednesday, January 18, 2023. Funeral service will be at First Baptist Church, 226 S. Broad St. West Columbia, Texas at 10:00 AM on Thursday, January 19, 2023 with burial following at Cedar Lawn Haven of Rest Cemetery. Bro. Dave Barclay and Bro. Ryan Lintelman will preside over funeral services.
The family requests in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Tim Hightower Texas A&M Memorial Scholarship Fund (202 S. Mattson, West Columbia, Texas 77486). This scholarship is awarded to Columbia HS students pursuing their education at Texas A&M.
The family would like to extend their heart-felt thanks and gratitude to IPH Hospice and the Oak Village Sunset Team for the loving care.