Published: July 22, 2021

Gene Thomas Gooch passed away on December 13, 2020, in Florence, AL, at the age of 88. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Virginia Reed Gooch; their children, Gena Gooch Cape of Marietta, GA, and Michael Gooch (Angela) of Norwood, MA; brother, William K. Gooch (Marcella) of Sylacauga, AL; granddaughters Lauren Cape Newell (Kyle) and Sarah Catherine Cape, all of Marietta, GA. He was preceded in death by his parents, Willie Thomas Gooch and Edna Parrish Gooch of Florence, AL.

He was a graduate of Coffee High School and a veteran of the United States Air Force. He attended the University of Alabama where he received the Bachelor of Science and the Master of Arts degrees in Music Education.

Gene served as band director at Sheffield High School, Sheffield, AL, Colbert County High School, Leighton, AL, Appleby Middle School, Florence, AL, and Coffee High School, Florence, AL. He retired from Coffee High School in 1986 and served as an adjunct faculty member at The University of North Alabama until 2001.


He served as Secretary- Treasurer of the Alabama Music Educators Association, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alabama Bandmasters Association, and Executive Secretary of the Alabama Bandmasters Association.

Honors include membership in the Phi Beta Mu/Alabama Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame, the University of Alabama Million Dollar Band Association Hall of Fame, the Alabama Music Educators Association Hall of Fame, and recipient of the AMEA Barbara Odom Distinguished Service Award.


Gene was active in the Florence community where he was a member of the Shoals Concert Band, served as treasurer of the Coffee High School Alumni Endowed Scholarship Committee, and was a member of the Good Ol’ Boys.

Gene was a beloved and devoted husband, father, and Papa, and a mentor to many students and young band directors throughout his career.

A Celebration of Life service for Gene is scheduled for Saturday, July 24, 3:00 p.m. at Woodmont Academy of Fine Arts on the Woodmont Baptist Church East Campus in Florence, AL. Immediately following the service, friends are invited to visit with the family in the Green Lounge Room, also located in the fine arts facility.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to one of the following organizations that were very dear to Gene: Friends of the Million Dollar Band, Box 870268, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. *Make checks payable to The University of Alabama with notation that gift is for the MDB; Shoals Concert Band, P.O. Box 463, Florence, AL 35630, UNA Band, UNA Box 5240, Florence, AL 35632; Coffee High School Alumni Endowed Scholarship at UNA, UNA Box 5113, Florence, AL 35632-0001.