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Remembering Our Founder

Honoring Greatness: Wiley Eugene (Gene) Higginbotham

Sept 23, 1939 – August 30, 2015

Gene Higginbotham

The passing of Gene Higginbotham leaves an extensive void in Georgia’s Northeast region.  Having established many of the essential pieces of everyday life in the Athens and the surrounding communities, the people of the region should be forever indebted to his sacrifice and resolve in elevating his family, friends, and community.   

Gene’s work ethic, determination, and family values were developed on the rural Oconee County farm of his youth.  Due to the residual effects of the depression, his family was forced to live off the land in the area called Dark Corner.  For the remainder of his life his farm upbringing served as the central inspiration for his love of southern cooking, resourcefulness, and structure of business.      

At fifteen years old, Gene began his first job outside the farm. Cooking onion rings at the Varsity in Athens until he graduated from the first class of Oconee County High School in 1957, he developed relationships throughout the Athens area.  However, a blind date in 1957 permanently changed the landscape of his life.  When Gene met Harriett Couch he immediately knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.  Unfortunately, soon after their blind date, Harriet’s family moved to Dallas, Texas. Gene was so certain that Harriett was his soul mate that he soon followed her to Texas and became her husband in 1958.   

After accepting a position at Orkin Exterminating in 1960, Gene and Harriett relocated back to Georgia with their daughter Laurie. Knowing that he had a family to support and raise, Gene worked at Orkin during the day, attended night school at the University of Georgia, and worked a second job at Westinghouse.  His work ethic, desire to succeed, and understanding of finance opened the door for him to become one of Orkin’s leading executives.  Moving up the management ladder required him to be transferred annually throughout the Southeastern, U.S. 

After the tragic death of his father on the family farm in Oconee County, Georgia in 1971 and his desire to be closer to his family, Gene moved his wife and two children back home to start his own company.  Forty-five years later, American Pest Control has grown to be one of the largest family owned pest management companies in NE Georgia and SC with 115 employees.  Gene’s desire to be a company that facilitates an environment of family values is the reason why many employees have remained with the company for decades.  His children, Laurie & Scott carry on that vision today.

Gene’s business ventures in Clarke, Oconee, Barrow, Hall, Rockdale, Stephens, Rabun, Morgan, Greene, Hart and Walton Counties have strengthened the lives of many who call this area home.  Gene was the first individual to develop duplex subdivisions in Athens and Monroe areas, which have been the home to many students, faculty members, and families for over thirty years.  As a founder of the Bank of Georgia at Butler’s Crossing, which later became Athens First Bank and Trust, he served on the Board of Directors until he was 72 years old.  Gene was instrumental in the formation and polices of the Georgia Pest Control Association. 

At sixty years old Gene started Southeastern Growers and Angel Creek Nursery wholesale tree farms in Oconee County…going back to his roots.   Today the farms ship trees throughout the United States and have become some of the largest commercial tree farms on the East Coast.     

As an avid hunter and member of the Fresh Sign Hunting Club. He traveled the world to hunt big game.  His hunting experiences in Africa, the Yukon, Canada, Northwest Territory, and England are reflected throughout his Oconee County home.  He loved getting together with the guys,  cooking out and fishing and telling stories. 

Although his business successes were extraordinary, his hunting and fishing satisfying, the absolute highest priority of his life was his family.   He was passionate about cooking large Southern meals for his family and friends. Gene remained a faithful husband, dedicated father, mentor, advisor and leader until his passing surrounded by his family in his home on August 30, 2015.    

Gene Higginbotham was a great man.  He believed wholeheartedly that if you were a  person with a crisis, if you needed any form of help, if you had a good idea….then he was there for you.  He would lend you his mind and his hand to help you.  His passion was to help others climb their mountain.  Greatness is not measured by dollar signs, or accolades in business or awards, but in what a man has done for others.  THAT was Gene Higginbotham.  A great man…a great void.  He will be sorely missed. 

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  • Schools Certified Pest Management
  • GreenPro Certified Pest Management

Hear From Our Happy Customers

At American Pest Control, your satisfaction is our priority! See for yourself what our customers have to say about working with us.

  • I highly recommend using this company!
    "Professional business that you can actually talk to on the phone."
    - Robert C.
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    - Carrie W.
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    "They come on schedule and completed the service efficiently and professionally."
    - Edward S.

Why Our Customers Love Working with Us

  • Efficient Pest Management

    When pests get into your home or business, you want a quick solution. Our efficient pest control takes care of the problem.

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