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1927 Emogene 2021

Emogene Goodnite Brown

July 9, 1927 — December 26, 2021

Emogene "Gene" Goodnite Brown, age 94, passed away Sunday, December 26, 2021 at her home in Batesville, MS. Gene was born on July 9, 1927 to the late John Felix and Bertha Marshall Goodnite in Sardis, MS. 

There will be a private interment on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 at Rose Hill Cemetery in Sardis, MS. 

Gene was a graduate of Mississippi State College for Women where she earned a degree in home economics. After graduating from college, she married William Benedict Theisman, Jr. MBA, CPA, of Grenada, MS. In Grenada Gene and her first husband were instrumental in founding the Kirk Academy. While residing in Grenda, they welcomed their son, Bill. Due to a job opportunity the family later moved to California where she resided for over 20 years.

In California Gene took a position at J.C. Penny as an interior decorator and salesperson. She was a top salesperson for two decades and well respected within the company. During this time, she was a dedicated member of the Riverside Baptist Church where she met her second husband, Olie T. Brown, one of the founders and first dean of students at California Baptist College

Following Olie’s death, Gene returned home to Mississippi in 2000 where she resided in Batesville, MS until her death. She was a member of First Baptist Church Batesville and an avid bridge player. 

Gene never met a stranger and could make anyone feel at ease. Gene was always ready for an adventure and this spirit took her on many travels and made her many friends.

The family she leaves behind includes her son, Bill Theisman of Batesville, MS; two stepchildren, Gailya Brown of Palm Desert, CA, and Theo Brown of Silver Springs, MD; one brother, George Wendell Goodnite of Batesville, MS; nieces and nephews, Elizabeth Goodnite of Denver, CO, Christy Goodnite Broome of Batesville, MS, John Wayne Goodnite of Sardis, MS, Kathy Goodnite of Naples, FL, Mitch Goodnite of Senatobia, MS, and Gay Goodnite Gelson of Marietta, GA.

Along with her parents, she is preceded in death by two brothers, John Talmadge Goodnite and M. Wayne Goodnite; husband, Olie T. Brown; and one nephew, John T. “Johnny” Goodnite, Jr. 

I lieu of flowers the family would like any gifts in Gene’s memory to be donated to the organization, Lift Up the Vulnerable at




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