Mr. Gene Alan Mushrush, age 24, a beloved son and commercial pilot, departed the earthly world for his heavenly home on Monday, January 8. More than 450 friends and family attended Mr. Mushrush’s funeral at First Baptist Church Soperton on January 11. Ministers Mike Spivey and Mark Sweat officiated a celebration of a young man who enjoyed life and delivered joy and happiness. Mr. Mushrush, or Uncle Gene to his two-month old niece Ellie, was born in Bainbridge, G. on May 31, 1993. The first child and only son of Kim and Charity Mushrush, Gene loved airplanes. Gene began flying as a teenager while living with his family in Claxton. His friends and classmates at Pinewood Christian Academy knew Gene as a good student with a gentle spirit and playful nature. Gene served as role model, protector and mentor for his two younger siblings, Maggie and Emily. After completing his high school education at Murray County High School, Gene enrolled at Middle Georgia State University School of Aviation. Gene quickly excelled in his training and earned his commercial flight license and instructor license while in his academic studies. Gene provided flight instruction to the School of Aviation students as he earned his Bachelor of Science in Aviation Science and Management. Upon graduation, Gene was employed by the Georgia Forestry Commission as a pilot. He spotted forest fires from the air and directed response crews to hot spots across Georgia. Gene also gave private flight lessons at Perry Air LLC aviation school in Perry, Ga. At the age of 23, Gene achieved a lifelong goal of becoming a large jet commercial pilot. Endeavor Air, a subsidiary of Delta, hired Gene to pilot the 50 passenger Bombardier jet with flights across the United States and into Canada. He greeted each flight with passion and excitement, earning him the respect and admiration of Endeavor’s captains, flight crews, employees and passengers. While Gene loved to fly, his greatest love was for his family and Jesus Christ. Gene accepted Christ at the age of 7 at Faceville Baptist Church. His strength and Christian foundation was formed as he attended Antioch Baptist Church and Rehoboth Baptist Church, Claxton, and Holly Creek Baptist Church, Chatsworth, Ga. When his family moved to Tarrytown, Ga., Gene began attending First Baptist Church Soperton, where he met his fiancé Jessica Johnson in 2017. Soon after, Gene flew Jessica over a grass strip airfield with the words Marry Me! painted onto the runway. The two were to marry on June 23, 2018. A cold January rain fell at the end of the funeral service. Two dozen commercial pilots and flight instructors lined each side of the walk in front of First Baptist Church Soperton for the final departure as pallbearers carried him to the hearse to be transported to Tarrytown Cemetery for a graveside service. Pallbearers were friends from Gene’s childhood, college and professional life. Serving as pallbearers were: Andrew Hill, Ein Brinson, Grigory Smolianiov, Dillon Douglas, Cam Borman and Zach Hartley. In addition to his parents, Kim and Charity Mushrush of Tarrytown, Ga., Gene is survived by his sisters, Maggie (Andrew) Hill and Emily Mushrush of Tarrytown; his maternal grandparents, David L. and Mae Warnock, Sr. of Tarrytown, Ga.; paternal grandparents, Telly and Norma Mushrush of St. Matthews, S.C.; niece, Ellie Hill; fiancé, Jessica Johnson of Mt. Vernon, Ga.; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Funeral arrangements were provided by family friends Greg and Mary Jo Higgs of Higgs Funeral Home, Soperton, Ga.