Gene A. Wilkinson is the Chief Executive Officer of the law firm of Stennett, Wilkinson & Peden, a Professional Association. In addition to practicing law, he manages and oversees the firm’s business activities. Gene, who grew up on a farm in Copiah County, graduated in 1950 from Crystal Springs High School and then entered Millsaps College where he majored in Political Science and served as News Editor of the Purple and White, the college newspaper.
Upon completing his undergraduate studies at Millsaps College in 1954, he entered the Jackson School of Law (now the Mississippi College School of Law), from which he received the Juris Doctor degree in 1957. Gene was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in 1958 and is now one of the most senior Mississippi attorneys in active practice.
In 2008, the Mississippi Bar honored Gene for more than 50 years of membership.
Gene, who concentrates his practice in the fields of corporate, administrative, and insurance regulatory law, often provides counsel to business executives and to state and local governmental leaders.
Throughout his career, Gene has been active in civic, governmental, and professional matters. He has served as Public Relations Director of the Mississippi Bar, as Editor of the Mississippi Lawyer (the official publication of the Mississippi Bar), and as Executive Legal Assistant to the Governor of Mississippi. He is a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation.
As a young attorney, Gene was selected as Mississippi’s Outstanding Jaycee and was presented Distinguished Service Awards both as Jackson’s Outstanding Young Man and as one of three Outstanding Young Men in Mississippi.
Gene served for five terms as President of the Jackson Council on Alcoholism and for twelve years as Chairman of the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. He has served as a Director of the Mississippi Children’s Home Society, United Way, CONTACT, and several other civic organizations.
Gene has served for more than fifty years as either a Director of, or general counsel for, Community Place (formerly Community Hospital of Jackson), a Mississippi skilled nursing home. He is currently overseeing the relocation of Community Place to a new site in Rankin County.
Gene has served for more than forty years as general counsel for South Mississippi Funeral Services, LLC, and its affiliated entity, Colonial Telephone Company. Operating under the corporate umbrella of these two entities are 27 funeral homes located in municipalitites through south and central Mississippi, a life insurance company, and a telephone company. Gene has provided legal direction as the chain of funeral homes has recently expanded into the Jackson Metropolitan Area, establishing funeral homes in Clinton and Flowood.
From 1962 until 1987, a period of 25 years, Gene served as Chairman of the Jackson Civil Service Commission under four different Mayors.
By appointment of both Governor William L. Waller and Governor Bill Allain, Gene served as Chairman of the Mississippi Employment Security Commission during the years 1974-1978 and 1986-1990.
Gene who is both a Scottish Rite Mason and a Shriner, is the former Chairman of the Board of a life insurance company.
In 1966, he served as State Campaign Manager for Senator James O. Eastland in his successful campaign for re-election to the United States Senate.
Gene is married to the former Peggy Joyce Cooper of Jackson. Their son, Alan, and his wife, Mitzi, live at Lake Caroline in Madison County. Their grandson, Lake, is a sophomore at the University of Mississippi. Gene and Peggy have two step-daughters, Shelby Wallace, a graduate of the University of Mississippi who is now studying to be a dental hygienist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and Delaney Wallace who is a freshman at the University of Mississippi.
Gene and Peggy are communicants at St. Columb’s Episcopal Church in the City of Ridgeland. He has served on the Vision and Planning Committee for the Church, and he has also served a term as Chancellor at St. Columb’s.