Bells tolled, choirs of angels assembled, and God himself opened the gates of heaven last Saturday, March 23, to welcome Genevieve Hawkins Reaud home.
Gena was born in Hollis, Okla., on Aug. 31, 1924. The oldest of four children, she was reared by her grandparents who instilled in her the principles of hard work, compassion and an abiding love of Christ. Throughout her life she took joy in simple things, just as she had done as a child. In her youth, she took great delight in roaming her grandfather’s verdant fields climbing up into his orchards of peach trees — saltshaker in hand — and eating the fruit with her siblings in tow.
Her faith, devotion to family, and kindness to others were the hallmarks of a meaningful and productive life. Indeed, her life is best defined by love. In all things large and small, she sought to live according to the tenets expressed in 1st Corinthians 13:13: “And now abideth faith, hope and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.”
She believed scripture was the divinely inspired word of God and made a ministry out of giving friends and strangers a copy of Dake’s Anointed Reference Bible. As a result of this personal ministry, many came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Gena was fiercely loyal to her family. Her husband Albert E. Reaud, president of Coastal Industrial Construction, passed away in 1991. She remained devoted to him after his death, and continued to stand spiritually by his side as she had done during the 47 years of their marriage. Gena loved her family unconditionally; she stayed true to her many friends, and took great pride in her children and grandchildren. On most days she could be found upon her knees, in her closet, praying for her loved ones. She is survived by her sons, Wayne and Jon Reaud; her grandchildren Reagan and Ryann Reaud; her daughter-in-law, Dana Reaud; her two sisters, Nomi Hudspeth and Hazel Boynton; and her niece, Cynthia Swire. Over the last eight years, Gena was blessed to have three dedicated women who provided care for her in her home: Minnie Allen, Essie Whitfield and Marie Gilbert. They became a part of her family.
But Gena’s conscience and kindness extended beyond her family. She was the inspiration for the Albert and Gena Reaud Guest House, located on the campus of Baptist Hospital, which provides lodging for the families of those enduring a medical crisis. Her belief in promoting higher education gave birth to the Albert and Gena Reaud Scholarship Fund at Lamar University as well as the endowed Gena Reaud Scholarship at Southern Methodist University, both of which provide financial assistance to deserving students seeking a college education.
Few can say they died without regrets; few have felt the contentment of their lives coalescing into a soothing symphony as they departed this world. Throughout her life, Gena composed her masterpiece — note by note, day by day. Her song lives on in lives of those she touched and will forever whisper softly upon their hearts.
Services were held at Cathedral in the Pines on Wednesday, March 27. The visitation took place at 10:30 a.m., in the Fireside Room, the funeral following in the Gena Reaud Chapel at noon. Entombment was at the Reaud Mausoleum at Magnolia Cemetery, Beaumont.
Memorial contributions may be made to Albert E. and Gena Reaud Guest House, 3120 College Street, Beaumont, TX 77701.