UAB executive-in-residence Mickey Gee dead at age 66

Gee was a businessman, teacher and mentor.

Mickey Gee, noted business executive and instructor at the University of Alabama at  Birmingham’s School of Business, died suddenly March 5, 2012. He was 66.

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A funeral service will be held at Canterbury United Methodist Church at 11a.m. Thursday, March 8. A visitation is scheduled before the service.

Gee joined UAB in 1997 as a part-time instructor in the Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution and Economics; in 2001 he was named a full-time adjunct professor and director of the department’s internship programs.

“UAB and the Birmingham community lost a very caring and kind man today,” said UAB Collat School of Business Dean David Klock, Ph.D. “Mickey was a great friend, an awesome mentor and an exceptional colleague. He was loved by everyone who knew him, and he will be greatly missed.”

Gee was CEO and president of Taylor Company Inc., the parent company of the Pants Store, from 1972-2005. He ran the Pants Store, which his father founded in 1950, for nearly 40 years before handing the duties to his sons. He was vice chair of the Alabama Retail Association and was in line to become its next chair. He served on the ARA’s executive committee since 2010 and its board of directors since 1998.

“The Alabama Retail Association has lost a member of its family, retailers statewide have lost their No. 1 cheerleader and the state of Alabama has lost one of the state’s best retail resources. Mickey Gee loved retailing so much that he taught his sons, his students at UAB and the entire state what it means to succeed as a retailer in Alabama,” said ARA President Rick Brown. “The staff and board of directors of the Alabama Retail Association extend their deepest sympathies to Mickey’s wife Harriet, his sons Michael and John, his extended family and his UAB family.”

Gee distinguished himself at UAB by working tirelessly for his students and for others. He partnered six of his top students with the Wilcox Area Chamber of Commerce to begin the revitalization of the struggling community this past summer. He also embraced online learning in an effort to improve his students’ access to learning, becoming the first in Alabama to receive the Quality Matters Program, a nationally ranked peer-reviewed seal of recognition for online instruction.

“He was one of the most dedicated and hardworking instructors I’ve ever worked with and truly cared for his students. He developed online learning not for his own benefit, but to increase access to students who might otherwise not be able to attend classes, including military personnel. I don’t think anybody has a clue the impact this will have, not just in the UAB School of Business but on the community as well,” said Elizabeth Fisher, Ph.D., instructional design manager responsible for online courses for the UAB School of Business. “He changed the lives of many students with the internships that he was able to arrange because he was so well known and respected in business circles, and not just in Birmingham. He was more than my colleague; he was my friend.”

Gee earned a degree in marketing from the University of Alabama in 1968 and a Master of Arts from the school in 1969. He served his country in the Alabama Air National Guard beginning in 1969, attaining the rank of captain, and he received an honorable discharge in 1976.

Gee is survived by his wife of nearly 40 years, Harriet, his sons Michael and John, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren.

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