The first time I stepped into Pat Gee's Barbecue in the late 1970s, Vida Gee was manning the counter as husband Pat handled the smokers and cutting board. Mrs. Gee greeted you with a smile and some of the best BBQ to ever come out of the piney woods of east Texas.
After Pat died in 1999, she continued to run the historic BBQ joint with her sons Arthur and Billy. My family members were regulars at Pat's, so I continued to go there through college and then on visits back home in Tyler over the years. I really enjoyed visiting with Mrs. Gee and catching up on what had gone on since the last time we talked.
She worked well into her 80s and the last time I saw her was a couple of years ago, before she entered assisted living. Vida Gee died on December 16, 2010, but Pat Gee's Barbecue goes on under the stewardship of her sons. Posse member Tom Fox stopped by Pat Gee's this weekend and Arthur told him it was his mom's dying wish that her sons keep the BBQ joint open and that's why they've continued on. Mrs. Gee was a truly special person and will be missed by all of those who were lucky enough to know her.
Click here to see Vida Gee's obituary in the Tyler Morning Telegraph. The photo of Pat Gee's shown above was shot by Tom Hackim in 1977, the year I was introduced to the little BBQ palace in the woods.