Gene Whitten-Legé

Published 4:28 pm Friday, April 2, 2021

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Gene Whitten-Legé, born Eugene Legé in Abbeville, La, passed away 02/21/2021 at the age of 82. Bradshaw Carter Funeral Home provided cremation services.

A Memorial Service in Houston and Graveside Service in Port Arthur will be announced later in the year. 

He was the 11th of 12 children in a blended family that moved from Louisiana to Port Arthur.  

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He entered Lamar/Franklin Elementary speaking only French. Following TJ High School, he served as a Navy photographer.

He earned an MSSW from UT Austin after getting his BA from Lamar University while working in the chemistry lab at Pure Oil and as news photo lithographer at Mid County News in Port Arthur.

He often related details of how he helped produce the first lithographic photograph while there. He retained an interest in photographer throughout his life.   

He was the active CEO and co-founder of In-Home Attendant Services providing statewide Consumer Directed services.

As a Licensed and Certified Social Worker, he provided a life time of leadership in policy and program development, advocacy, and multiagency initiatives while serving in positions with the state of Texas, Catholic Charities, and home health agencies.  

After graduate school in Austin, he worked at the Child Welfare Unit in Port Arthur with his mentor June Klein. From there he went on to serve as Executive Director of Houston’s Harris County Child Welfare for a decade, leading the agency to national certification and establishing several innovative children’s services.

He was active on Boards, Advisory groups, and Committees. With his many activities, he never forgot his Louisiana connections to his family and the Richelieu Leger Association and was a familiar face at meetings and reunions with his wife Pat. 

Many of us can say, “He believed in me and challenged me to be my best self.”  

Shy as a child, he was passionate in all that he did as an adult and never hesitated to speak his mind. He filled a room with energy and piercing blue eyes.

He was a seeker of knowledge, a philosopher, and an advocate. He was a talker, a bit of a rebel, tinkered with everything and welcomed new technology. 

He is survived by his wife of 43 years Pat Whitten-Legé, their son Jon Whitten-Legé and wife Reyna, and 4 children from his previous marriage to Margaret Chelette: Gene Legé, Jr, David Legé, Joan Legé-Krebs and husband Joseph, and Joey Legé and wife Cynthia.

Other survivors include: brother Gilbert J. Legé of Groves, Tx, 7 grandchildren with one on the way, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and work family and friends. He was preceded in death by his 2nd son Rudy Legé, a talented musician, his father and mother Rudolph and Olite Legé, siblings:  Pearl (2nd Mom) Legé Cole Trosclair, Rudolph Legé, Jr., Eva Legé Brown and blended family siblings: Lionel, Verna, and C.B. “Shelby” Marceaux and J. Nedley, Mazie, Mable, and J. Irvin Legé. 

Raised in Baptist and Catholic faiths, Gene was a member of Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church.

The family thanks all of you of all faiths for your prayers and offerings and asks that any charitable donations be made to one of the following charities or a charity nearest to your heart.