Colonel Gene and Hot Guitar

Gene Wyatt, 77, of the Cannons Campground community died at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center of heart failure.

A native of Spartanburg, Wyatt was known best as Colonel Gene. Born and raised in a mill village in Converse, Wyatt grew up in the same neighborhood with musicians Hank Garland and Bobby Thompson and taught guitar in Spartanburg for more than 47 years at public schools, colleges and his private studio. He was the husband of Connie Wyatt.

His son Wes Wyatt, of Kannapolis, N.C., said “he had a great life.”

“He was a ball of fun. We played music until the day he died. We had an ongoing musical thing forever. He was a great musician, teacher and father,” Wes said in a phone interview. “I don’t know about legacies, he didn’t invent this saying, but one of the greatest things he always used to tell me and he believed was ‘music was God’s greatest gift to mankind’ and he meant that above anything else.