Rev. Ernest Eugene (Gene) Rives


Reverend Ernest Eugene "Gene" Rives, Jr. was a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge, born February 16, 1952. A loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, he went to his eternal home on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. He was 69 years old.

Gene grew up near LSU, attending the LSU University Lab School first through twelfth grades and upon graduation in 1970, he walked across the street to attend LSU. While a student at LSU, he started his own business, Frumbrussels Candies; manufacturing pralines, fudges, and hand-dipped chocolates on Chimes Street, near the gates of LSU. In 1972, he married his high school sweetheart, Patty Spillman. He continued in the candy business until 1988, when he and his wife opened The Factory Restaurant and Goodwood Park Grill. As his family grew, with three sons and a daughter, Gene became actively involved with the youth of First United Methodist Church. Life was busy with the restaurants and filled with weekends often spent with family, fishing with his sons, and youth activities. Gene and Patty became volunteer senior high school youth counselors with the church. Some of his fondest memories included the Sunday afternoon youth group, the mission trips, retreats and, of course, cooking for them.

In 1995 Gene received a significant calling and overwhelming certainty to enter the ministry; this was what God wanted him to do. So, Gene re-entered LSU to finish the degree he hadn't when he started his business, was accepted to attend Perkins School of Theology at SMU in Dallas, and completed his Master of Divinity degree in 2001. He became ordained as an Elder in the United Methodist Church in 2004. Gene has served as pastor of University United Methodist Church, Bethel United Methodist Church and Baker First United Methodist Church. Gene touched the lives of so many people. Recently, one of Gene's first mentors in ministry and friend wrote about Gene; "…Gene…wanted nothing more but to serve others and gave every ounce of energy to being a kind and compassionate person. He was the kind of guy who just made you feel better for being in his presence. Easy going, always smiling, never critical… Gene was a tonic for my soul."

Gene is survived by his wife, Patty Spillman Rives; three sons; Trey Rives and Vanessa Rives, Trent Rives and wife India Byrd Rives, and Adam Rives and Misty Bare; and daughter, Laura Wolf; eight much-loved grandchildren; Brooklyn, Hayes, Hudson, Harrison, Hattie, Harper, Gibson and Kelci; sisters Laurie Rives Jones and Pam Rives Crowe and husband Randy, Sherry Rives Daigre and husband Ged; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, friends and special friend and caregiver Audrey James. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ernest Eugene Rives, Sr. and Winifred Cowart Rives; grandparents, Irving and Cassie Cowart, Claude and Etta Rives, and numerous aunts and uncles. 

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