Dr. Genevieve Elizabeth Wiggins, 87, of Athens, died Tuesday morning, Aug. 12, 2014, at NHC of Athens.
A native of Birchwood, she was the daughter of the late John and Sarah Elizabeth Gipson Wiggins. She was also preceded in death by a sister, Pauline Wiggins O’Brian; and a brother, Edward Eugene Wiggins.
She was an active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Athens.
She was a graduate of the University of Chattanooga, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Tennessee. She was a much-loved and respected English professor emerita at Tennessee Wesleyan College, in addition to teaching at Cleveland State Community College and other institutions. She was well known for her classes in the history of the English language, detective fiction, senior seminars and student trips to England, and active participation in the theater program. She was a campus leader serving as department chair, and was a sponsor and contributor to Tennessee Wesleyan’s newspaper and literary magazine. She was also an active participant in faculty governance, serving on faculty committees and accreditation teams. In addition to her passions for teaching, literature, and reading, she possessed great skill in writing, publishing and editing several volumes and journal articles, notably the critical biography “L.M. Montgomery” and three volumes with Bill Akins: “Hard Times Remembered”; “Over here and After: McMinn County, Tennessee, during World War I and the Twenties”; and “Keeping the Faith: a History of Tennessee Wesleyan College, 1857-2007.” Her programs and classes for the Athens Area Council for the Arts, E.G. Fisher Public Library, and other public venues were eagerly anticipated and well attended.
She was also a leader and integral part of many community and church groups: Episcopal Christian Women at St. Paul’s, McMinn County Friends of the Library, McMinn Regional Humane Society of Athens, Halcyon Book Club, Democratic Women’s Club, Alpha Delta Kappa, the Old College Harp Singers, and many more.
She is survived by her niece, Sarah Elizabeth Wiggins; nephew, Richard Wiggins; and great-nephew, Hunter Wiggins.
Family and friends will gather at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, at St Paul’s Episcopal Church for a memorial-committal service with the Rev. G. Hendree Harrison Jr. officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her memory to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 123 S. Jackson St, Athens TN 37303; to Friends of the Library, McMinn County, E.G. Fisher Public Library, 1289 Ingleside Ave., Athens TN 37303 ; or to Genevieve Wiggins Children’s Literature Room, Merner Pfeiffer Library, 204 E. College St., Athens TN 37303.
You may sign the guest register at www.smithfuneral&cremationservicesofathens.com.
Smith Funeral & Cremation Services of Athens is serving the family of Genevieve E. Wiggins.