1945 Minden High School Obituaries

Mary Elizabeth Cooke

Mary Elizabeth Perritt Cooke, 87, of Minden, went to be with the Lord Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. Graveside services will be held at the Gardens of Memory Cemetery at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. Officiating will be Brian Mercer.

Mary Cooke was born on April 27, 1928. She was a member of First United Methodist Church for over 70 years and a member of the Gold Star Class and United Methodist Women. She was a graduate of Minden High School and Louisiana Tech University.

She is survived by her daughters, Jan Williams, husband Greg of Benton and Cathy Tomlinson, husband Ralph of Bossier City, grandchildren, Jenny Panettiere, husband Joe, Ashley Chance, husband Tim, McKenzie Holloway, husband Seth, Lauren Townley, husband Chase, Connor Tomlinson, Rachel Diasselliss, and husband John, great-grandchildren, Jaxson and Zoe Panettiere, Townes Chance, Wyatt and Emmeline Townley, Jack, Amelia and Georgia Diasselliss and brother-in-law, Ben Love.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Earle Cooke, her parents, Buren and Elizabeth Perritt and sister, Margaret Love.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Minden, Earl Cooke Music Suite.

Graveside Services 2 P.M., 12-16 @ Gardens of Memory Graveside Services 2 P.M., 12-16 @ Gardens of Memory    Most will  fondly remember Mr. & Mrs. Earle Cooke. He was a wonderful choir teacher, respected quite well by his students. And, he had a smooth singing voice.Mrs. Cooke’s Mother was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Perritt @ Eastside(Richardson)Rest in Peace Mr. & Mrs. Cooke Tom Carey, Ruston 

Obituary for Mary Elizabeth Perritt Cooke is in today’s Press-Herald.  She was the wife of Earle Cooke who was the MHS and First United Methodist Church choir director for many years.

Ann Mays Harlan

Death Notice
Cooke, Mary Elizabeth Perritt



Minden, LA

Rose-Neath Funeral Home-Minden, LA


2:00 PM

Gardens of Memory

Graveside Service

 Submitted by Linda Holt Moorehead, Class of 61

GLORIA MOORE CURRY (1927 - 1979)

Gloria Moore Curry of Minden attended MHS & graduated in 1945, attended Louisiana Tech and played in the band; returned to Minden & later worked in the Welfare Office.

She was a daughter of the late Hazel Florence Robinson and Thomas Omer Moore, Sr. She was married but one known time to Rennie Curry who survived her. She was predeceased by a brother Thomas O. Moore, Jr. who was killed in the Korean conflict.

Survivors are a son, Stephen Rennie Curry; his wife Sheila; grandson, Stephen Lawrence Curry of Luling, La. brothers are George Moore Moore of Kansas, Fred Moore, was on a ship, now of Mrs. Betty Lary of Hayesville, NC, Mrs. Ethel (T. Odell) Roberts, Mrs. Helen Roberts, Mrs. Lucy (Ray) Quaid, all of Minden and Mrs. Peggy Burge of Doyline, Louisiana.

Burial was in the Minden City Cemetery in the Moore Plots in Section J

She was a lovely & popular lady in Minden and will be missed.

Corrections and additions to this obit would be appreciated.


Sybil Drake was class of '45 I believe. Certainly her sister Claire Drake Moore who lives in Minden would know. My brother, Raleigh Gleason, and she were in the same class and were good friends. She lived only two doors away. They used to enjoy listing to music together. I remember her as a charming and gracious young woman--often at the piano or playing recordings of beautiful music. The first time I heard "Summertime" from "Porgy and Bess" she was playing the record. I was transfixed. The memory has stayed with me all my life. Her influence was perhaps broader than she could ever know. I believe that she helped to develop my brother's appreciation of classical music, and by extension, she influenced mine. Occasionally I would show up at the Drake's front door, usually to visit Claire, but hoping Sybil would be the one to answer the door. She always invited me in as though I was an honored guest. May she forever enjoy the music.
Judy Gleason Claassen
den Press-Herald, Tuesday March 21, 2006

Sybil Drake Southmayd

Memorial services for Mrs. Sybil Drake Southmayd, 77, will be held at
3:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 22, 2006, at First Presbyterian Church
of Tulsa, Okla., following a private burial service at Memorial Park
Cemetery, a reception will be held at the church following the service.

Mrs. Southmayd died at her home Saturday, March 18, 2006, after an
extended illness. She was born May 8, 1928, in Minden to Aubrey and
Faerie Drake. She attended Minden High School, graduating and attending
Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans where she was a member of
Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority. She later graduated from University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in music. Her first job was a
traveling music teacher in the Webster Parish primary school system.

She met her husband of 54 years, Bill Southmayd, in Minden, where he
was working as an engineer for Phillips Petroleum. They courted and
were married Oct. 6, 1951.

Mrs. Southmayd has since been a longtime resident of Tulsa. She was a
loving wife and mother who served her community and was passionate
about music. She had been active in the Weed 'n Seed Garden Club,
Children's Day Nursery and was a charter member of the Hillcrest Society.
She served as past residential chairman of fundraising for the American
Cancer Society and served with Friends of the Tulsa Library as she was
a voracious reader, consuming up to three books each week. She was
a founding member of the Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church and later
attended Southminster and First Presbyterian Churches. She also played
in numerous bridge groups over the years and had many close friends.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Southmayd had the good fortune to travel
extensively with her husband and family.

She is preceded in death by her parents and brother, Aubrey Drake, Jr.,
who was killed serving with General Patton in the Battle of the Bulge.

She is survived by her children, Janet Southmayd Holcomb and husband
Kenneth and William Clark Southmayd, Jr. and wife Patricia; grandchildren,
Laura and Ben Holcomb and Sarah and David Southmayd; sister Claire
Moore and husband Luther of Minden.


Shreveport Times, Sunday, October 14, 2007


Jamyma Ann Lewis Radziwan


Karnack, TX. – Jamayma Ann Lewis Radziwan died on October 13, 2007 after a lengthy

illness.  Funeral services will be conducted at 2:00 p.m. Monday, October 15, 2007 at St.

Jude Catholic Church in Bossier City, with Father Pike Thomas officiating.


Interment will follow in Hill Crest Memorial Park.


Mrs. Radziwan was preceded in death by her father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Lewis

of Minden, LA; husband, Col. E. F. Radziwan; and sister, Mary Faith Worley and her husband,

L. C. Worley, Jr. of Haynesville, LA.


Survivors include her daughter, Maryann E. Radziwan Noto; a brother, Thomas Eugene Lewis

of Haughton, LA; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.


Mrs. Radziwan was a native of Minden, LA, and was graduated from Minden High School.

She attended Northwestern State College.  She had belonged to the Business and

Professional Women’s Club, the Pilot Club International, Epsilon Sigma Alpha, and the Air

Force Officers’ Wives’ Club.  Mrs. Radziwan worked as a Red Cross Volunteer at U.S.A.F.

Hospitals for seventeen years.  She was an active member of her church.  During her last

several years, she was a Eucharistic Minister at Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic

Church of Shreveport.


JOE LARY -Funeral services for Mr. Joe F. Lary, 73, were held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 23, 2002, at First Baptist Church in Minden with the Rev. Wayne DuBose officiating and Dr. Harry Bowman assisting. Burial followed at Minden Cemetery under the direction of Rose-Neath Funeral Home in Minden.
Mr. Lary, a lifelong resident of Minden, passed away Thursday, March 21. Known throughout the state’s education circles as a man of strong character and quiet resolve, he spent a lifetime promoting vocational education. Employed for the startup of the Minden Trade School, now Northwest Louisiana Technical College, in 1952, he served as cabinetmaking instructor, drafting instructor, counselor and assistant director, prior to being named the school’s director in 1967. He served as president of the Louisiana Technical College Directors’ Association in the 70s. He retired as director of Northwest in 1983 to continue his pursuit for excellence in vocational education. In the 1990s, he served as consultant for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and played an instrumental role in the national accreditation of the Council on Occupational Education, which serves as the only nationally recognized accrediting agency for post-secondary technical education institutions.
He was a member of First Baptist Church Minden, where he served throughout his life. He was an ordained deacon, a past member of the Adult Choir, a member of the Jack Woodard Sunday school class. Active in community affairs, he was past president of the Civitans and served as Chairman of the Board for the Webster Parish Council on Aging.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Julius S. and Pink Lary of Minden.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Doris Horn Lary; three children, Andy and wife Judy Lary of Midland, Texas, Diann L. Greer of McComb, Miss., and Brenda and husband Lee Thomasson of Richmond, Va.; two sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law, Julia Faye Lary of Arcadia, Elsie Mae and husband Ben Madden of East Point; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; two nieces; and a host of "adopted" children.
Pallbearers were James Bishop, James T. Davis, Terry Gray, Russell L. Greer, Will Franklin Greer, Rupert Krouse, Odie Moore, and Perry Sanders.

JOHN MCCOWEN - See the article at the bottom of the page




The summer of 1946 Linwood Ouzts and Sammie Staples were the two most outstanding ball players on the Minden Redbirds team.  Staples led the team with the most hits while Ouzts held a record for the most strike outs.

Sammy G. Staples - Gardens of Memory Cemetery

Born 1 November 1928 died 21 June 1958 (See 1946 for Sammy's obituary)



LNWOOD H. OUZTS - Gardens of Memory Cemetery; 

Born 23 December 23 December 1927 died 30 September 1995

married Lanell J. born 18 October 1932 died 11 November 1990

Minden Press-Herald, Tuesday, October 3, 1995   Linwood H. Ouzts, Sr.     (Redbird ball player - 1946)   Services for Mr. Linwood H. Ouzts, Sr., 67, will be held 2 p.m. Tuesday, October 3, 1995 at Minden's Rose-Neath Chapel.  Officiating will be Dr. John Stubblefield, pastor of First Baptist Church of Shreveport.  Burial will be in Gardens of Memory Cemetery, Minden, LA.   Visitation begins at noon Monday at the funeral home.   Mr. Ouzts died Saturday, September 30, 1995 at Schumpert Medical Center.  He was a Retired Administrator with IBM Corporation and a member of First Baptist Church in Shreveport.   He was preceded in death by his first wife, Lanell Johnson Ouzts.   Survivors include his wife, Helen Pyle Ouzts of Shreveport; two sons, Linwood H. Ouzts, Jr. and wife, Tammera of Odessa, TX and Kenny R. Ouzts and wife, Jeri of Shreveport; two step- daughters, Cheryl Tanner of Oklahoma City, OK and Lisa Cormier of Lafayette, LA; two sisters, Cortez Litton of Lake Charles, LA and Trudi Pace of Plainsboro, NJ; four grand- children; several nieces and nephews.   Pallbearers will be Hershell McConathy, Pee Wee Patton, Dick Waters, Jack Gamble, Don Veitch, Buddy Bonnett and Conrad Spivey.   In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials may be made to The American Heart Association.


Echoes meets Cameos: The life of Mindenite John J. McCowen Jr.

Compliments of John  and Juanita Agan, Webster Parish historian

For those of you who read both my column and my mother's column on Wednesdays, this week will be a little bit of a treat. My column today will be a combination of sorts, part Echo and part Cameo.

A few months ago I was in contact with the family of a former city official here in Minden. They provided me with some pictures I found useful and I promised to prepare an article on this man's career in service to our community. I let that column slip through the cracks and a few weeks ago, a daughter of the family contacted me once again.

Today's Echo will be the story of a man who dedicated his entire life to building a better Minden, John McCowen. The first part the column will be in my bailiwick, the world of hard facts, but the latter part of the column will be written by my mother, containing personal information about John that she gained from talking to his friends and family.

Early Beginnings

John J. McCowen, Jr. was born in Minden on July 12, 1927. His family had come to Minden (along with many other families, including my father's) in 1923 from Stamps, Arkansas when the L&A Railroad shops were moved to our town. He graduated from Minden High School in the class of 1945.
After graduation he worked for the L& A for a while before enlisting in the United States Army and served honorably until he was discharged in November 1946. Upon his return to Minden he, like many children of railroad families, returned to work for the L&A. In late 1947, John opened his own business, John's Drive-In on the Shreveport Road.

This venture proved to be a success and is fondly remembered by those living here in those days. In past Cameos, Mother has mentioned this restaurant and she refers to it again in her writings today.

When John died, Jeannine Miller wrote a letter of tribute to him to the Press-Herald in which she recalled, "During our growing up years, John's Drive-In was "The Place" in Minden. We all gathered around on car fenders and in cars eating his twenty-cent hamburgers (twenty-five cents for a cheeseburger) and nickel cokes. You made a couple of circles around the drive-in and then headed for town and back again. John (with his Chrysler convertible) was always around having fun with the rest of us." Incidentally, when his daughter, Meg, was remembering her father with me, she commented on his love of convertible automobiles.

The Call of Duty

During the first few years he operated the drive-in, John continued to work for the railroad. However, in the summer of 1951, as the Korean Conflict intensified, he found new employment. On June 1, 1951, John, who had been a member of the active reserve since November 1950, was called to active duty.

Instead of the U.S. Army infantry, where his World War II service had been, John was now a member of the United States Air Force. The proximity of his home in Minden to Barksdale Air Force Base gave him the unique opportunity of serving his country, while still being able to operate his restaurant. John would continue to occupy both roles until he was again discharged on October 31, 1953.

Being a business owner and an active-duty serviceman would clearly be considered full-time work, but John McCowen had a passion for public service that would dominate his life. The first sign of this drive came on March 14, 1952, when the 24-year old airman announced his candidacy for the post of Alderman for the City of Minden.

John pledged to support progressive economic growth in Minden. He assured the voters that even though he was still on active duty, his station at Barksdale was secure and he would be able to devote his time the local community. Perhaps because of his youth, John was really not a factor in that race, coming in well down the list of the candidates on that date. But that election marked the beginning of a career of more than three decades of service to Minden.

Coming Home

Following his second discharge, John returned to Minden and operated John's Drive-In for a few more years. He and his wife, the former Margaret Ann Horton of Bossier City, began a family that would eventually include four children: John J., III, Daniel H., Amy, and Margaret. After closing the drive-in John worked at the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant and eventually operated several different business in Minden, the one that I remember best was his furniture and appliance store located in the building that today houses Quade Studio. He made a second bid for the City Council in April 1954, narrowly missing the runoff by fewer than 50 votes.

Into Politics

In early 1956, Alderman Paul M. Campbell resigned from the Minden City Council to run for State Representative. A special election was called and John filed for the seat. In that special election, he defeated Marshall Oden and on April 2, 1956, John was sworn in as Alderman for the City of Minden.

In those years, the members of the council were each in charge of a particular city department; since Dr. Campbell had headed the Sanitation Department, John took over that role.

In 1958, John ran for reelection but was defeated in the runoff by E. P. Frasier by about 60 votes out of nearly 2,300 that were cast. Ironically, Dr. Campbell, whose resignation had made his first election possible, finished just behind John in that particular race.

Community Servant

During the next few years, as his family grew, John took a hiatus from politics, but not from public life. He became active in many community organizations serving in various leadership capacities with the Jaycees, Kiwanis Club, American Legion, and the Chamber of Commerce, while also an active member of the First Methodist Church. John also served as Chairman of the Webster Parish March of Dimes and as a member of the board of the Webster Parish Office of Community Services. He tireless served our community as a volunteer fireman and a member of the Rescue Squad for more than 30 years.

After making unsuccessful bids for the Webster Parish Police Jury in 1964 and the post of Sanitation Commissioner in 1966, John was elected as Public Safety Commissioner for the City of Minden in 1975. He would remain a member of the City Council for the rest of his life, even though his title would change, as the city shifted from electing its members at large to by district.

John would serve one term as Councilman from District Three and another representing District C, after the city's voting districts were again changed.
No matter what the title, John earned a reputation for concern for his constituents and making the best decision for the residents of Minden. During the last months of his life, John fought a losing battle with cancer, but even while in pain, John continued to work to improve the city that he loved. In her letter, Mrs. Miller described her memory of John as a city official this way:

A Reflection

"During his days as head of the Sanitation Department, I have to admit I probably gave him a hard time with garbage collection - but he not only sent the crew out - he came himself to see that it was done right. Right then, too, not a week later. Regardless of how outspoken he was at council meetings, he stood up for what he believed in. And he did believe in his town and always worked for the betterment of it.
"Life did not deal too kindly with John - but never heard him complain. As he battled that terrible cancer we watched him walk slower and slower, but still never heard him complain."

A Cameo

John McCowen died on February 11, 1985, at the age of 57; at that point he had dedicated over 30 years of his life to public service to our community.
We can never afford to forget men such as John McCowen, who loved our town and devoted their lives to making it a better place to live. At my request, Juanita Agan, my mother, talked with some who knew John well. Here is her account of those interviews:

"There was evidently a close friendship between M. S. "Digger" O'Dell and John McCowen. Digger remembered that John was a dedicated servant to the City of Minden. He said that John had enjoyed his work with the Minden Fire Department as well as the work on the City Council. All that John ever tried to do was for the betterment of Minden. He said that John was a man who would give you the shirt off his back and then apologize if the shirt did not fit. One of the most admirable traits in John's character was the loving care he took of his parents. It was very evident that "Digger" held John McCowen in high esteem.

"Another who felt the same way is Margaret McCowen Parkhill, who is the mother of John's children. Margaret remembered that John always put his family first in his life. He never missed a ball game or any activity that his children were involved in.

"When John and Margaret were newly married, John operated John's Drive-In on the Shreveport Road. On weekends he sold hamburgers for 15 cents each. Often they made and sold 1,000 hamburgers over the weekend.

"John and his family attended the First United Methodist Church here in Minden. He was an active member of the Builder's Sunday School Class, and always enjoyed being a part of that class, and all his work in the church.

"Also he was a member of the Rescue Squad. Margaret remembered that John had such a big and tender heart. He often was called out at night on a rescue mission. The only time she ever saw him cry was when two children drowned in an accident.

"John loved boating and water skiing at Caney Lake. The McCowen family enjoyed the ballgames and going to the movies and just eating out. He loved hamburgers and hot dogs and he loved picnics. In fact, John just loved people. Her one regret is that he never lived to see his grandchildren. She said he would be so proud to see how they had all turned out.

"When John's mother was in the nursing home he visited her regularly, sometimes going by three times in one day. His mother loved Hanes hose and John would buy her some and take them to the nursing home.

"Shakespeare in his play, "Julius Caesar," penned these lines: 'The evil that men do lives after them, but the good is oft interred with their bones." Not so!!! All the memories of the life of John McCowen are sweet memories of a man who lived and who loved, not only his family but also all those whose life touched his. What a wonderful legacy he has left his children."

John McCowen

John Agan is a local historian and adjunct instructor at Bossier Parish Community College. He also works in the Louisiana and Genealogy Section of the Webster Parish Library and is a published author. His column appears Fridays in the Minden Press-Herald.




Dennis Edgar Mitchell, Jr.


A celebration of the life of Dennis Edgar Mitchell, Jr. will be held at First Baptist Church in Winnsboro, Louisiana on Thursday, June 2, 2016 at 10:00 AM with Dr. Max Lee and Bro. Craig Beeman officiating. A graveside service will be held at 3:00 PM at Gardens of Memory in Minden, Louisiana, under the direction of Mulhearn Funeral Home of Winnsboro.

Edgar was born on June 17, 1927 in Minden, Louisiana and the Lord called him home on May 30, 2016. He graduated from Minden High School in 1945, and soon began a very successful career of 47 years with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development as a Professional Licensed Civil Engineer. Edgar loved his work; he delighted in doing the very best job possible to make highways as safe as possible for the traveling public. He transferred from Alexandria to Winnsboro in April of 1961 as the Assistant Maintenance Engineer when the Chase headquarters was established. He was promoted to the position of District Administration in 1972 and retired in March of 1993 after serving in that position of 21 years. Edgar loved and respected his employees and believed in helping them reach their highest level of achievement.

Edgar was an active member of First Baptist Church, Winnsboro. He soon became known as the "fixer" at the church. If he saw something that needed repairing, painting, or cleaning he took care of it---many times unknown by others---this was the blessing of having done these various repairs.

All who knew Edgar knew that he was an avid reader of World War II history and a collector of World War II airplanes. He displayed his planes many times, delighted in telling the history of each plane, how many of each plane were built, and the battles in which they fought.

Edgar was preceded in death by his parents---Dennis E. Mitchell, Sr. and Lona Almond Mitchell, his sister Julia Penny and husband Vunoy. He is survived by his wife and love of his life Jean Frye Mitchell, a daughter Kay Burton and her husband Kenneth of Louisville, Mississippi, a son Alan Mitchell and his wife Shelley of Gillette, Wyoming, two grandchildren Brittany and Bryan Burton, and niece Judy Carol Jones and her husband Marvin of Minden.

Serving as pallbearers are Jerry Benit, Dennis Berry, George Boutwell, Bryan Burton, Ken Free, Marvin Jones, Herbert Miller, and Pete Rawls.

Visitation will be Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at First Baptist Church in Winnsboro, Louisiana from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.


Gay Stewart

We celebrate the life of Gay Stewart Wren, beloved wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, cousin, friend, and child of God. We take comfort knowing that she is rejoicing in heaven with Jesus, something that she has looked forward to for some time now. Gay was a woman of very strong faith, and she is surely saving a place for all of us, passing the time singing hymns of praise until the day we all go to join her.

Mama Gay, as she was lovingly called by her family, was born to James Russell and Velma Lee Stewart. A lifelong lover of reading, she excelled in school, where she went on to receive two post-secondary degrees in Journalism and Education from Louisiana Tech University, and to teach English at Shongaloo High School.

On June 30, 1951 she married her husband and partner in life, Marcus Dee Wren. They soon welcomed their 5 children, along with numerous nieces and nephews who frequently spent summers at their home. When she wasn't busy raising her kids, you could find her curled up with a good book or crossword puzzle, or singing in the choir at First United Methodist Church, which she did for 40 years. She was also Chairman of the food pantry UCAP for 15 years and President of the Dorcheat Historical Association. Marcus and Gay were the 1999 Louisiana State Tree Farmers of the Year. They would have celebrated their 60th anniversary on June 30 of this year.

Her sons were the first to sell bottled water in the Minden area. They went on a vacation and there was bottled water so they came back to Minden and the rest is history.

Gay will be greatly missed by her husband, Marcus, her children, Marcus III, and wife Liz, of Shreveport, Stewart, and wife Joanie, of Longview, Tx, Ellen, and husband Bob, of Los Angeles, Ca, Rusty, and wife Kathy, and Lovic, of Shreveport, twelve grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, sisters Virginia Fox, Sue Dunn, and Nancy Craig, and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.

Greeting her in heaven are her sister, Nora Lee Young, and parents, James Russell and Velma Lee Stewart.

Services were held at First United Methodist Church in Minden on Monday, May 9.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to First United Methodist Church or Dorcheat Historical Association.

Burial:Pine Grove Cemetery

Minden, Louisiana

Submitted by Linda Holt Moorehead, Class of 1961

Betty Warren Irby, wife of Ira Irby
February 24, 1928 - died November 6, 2006

Lafond Ardoin Funeral Home
2845 S. Union Street
Opelousas , LA 70570

Memorial United Methodist Church
515 E. Bellevue Street
Opelousas , LA 70570

Rose-Neath Gardner Memorial Cemetery
211 Murrell Street
Minden, LA 71055

Funeral services for teacher and educator Betty Jean Warren Irby will be held at the Louisiana Memorial United Methodist Church, 515 E. Bellevue Street, Opelousas on Friday, November 10th, 2006 at 11AM. The Rev. Dale Hensarling will conduct the service. Visitation will be at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 211 Murrell Street, Minden. Graveside service will follow at Rose-Neath/Gardner Memorial Cemetery Minden, Louisiana. Rev. Joe Hunter will conduct the graveside service. Mrs. Irby, 78, a long time resident of Opelousas, Louisiana, died Tuesday morning November 7th, 2006. She was well known throughout the community for her work as a physical education teacher at Opelousas Junior High School, girls’ basketball coach, member of Delta Kappa Gamma, supporter of Opelousas Little Theatre and community activist. She is an alumna of the University of Texas at Austin and L.S.U. and a member of the Louisiana Memorial United Methodist Church of Opelousas.

Mrs. Irby was always an educator. She worked with kids at Hunter’s Playground in Minden, Louisiana while very young, and attended the University of Texas at Austin at the age of 16. After graduation, she taught physical education in Aransas Pass, Texas at Texas High School and at Magnolia High School in Arkansas. She was the Physical Education teacher at Opelousas Junior High School for over 30 years, and retired in 1994 from St. Landry Parish Public Schools. In an era where women married young and did not work outside the home, Mrs. Irby defied stereotypes, married late, had five children, taught school and earned her Master’s degree in education.

She believed in teaching children skills they could use for the rest of their lives and loved to see former students as successful adults. Books and reading were her greatest love, second only to the activities and interests of her children and grandchildren. She loved to travel and took every opportunity to visit family and friends wherever they were located. She prized creativity and innovation and was a part of many parades, theatrical events and community activities. As a young woman, Mrs. Irby had been a talented athlete, and carried that athletic ability through her life – learning to windsurf at 50! She truly believed that age was not a barrier to goals and ambition in life.

Her role as a mother gave her great joy. Her children, and their friends, were supported and encouraged to pursue their dreams and develop their individuality. She always had time for thoughtful discussion and a willingness to help solve a problem – or just listen. Her talent for quiet observation and thoughtful solutions will be missed by all who had the privilege to talk with her. Her quiet strength and tenacity during this difficult time was an inspiration to all.

She is survived by her husband Charles “Charlie” Linwood Irby, siblings Sibyl Melton (Minden, LA), Bobby Warren (Minden, LA), Norma Guthrie (Minden, LA) and Lila Mae Hinze (Minden, LA); five children Roger Dale Irby, Tamme Irby Flood, Charles Irby, Joel Irby and Elizabeth “Liz” Irby Barnes. She has been blessed with 10 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Family members serving in the military include Patrick Irby(Marines), Joel Irby Jr. (Army), Cody Lanclos Navy. Her parents were Vera Rushton Warren and Burell Talmadge Warren of Minden, Louisiana.

Lafond-Ardoin Funeral Home in Opelousas,LA 337.942.2638, is in charge of the arrangements.

The family requests that donations be sent to the Opelousas Public Library, P.O. Box 249, Opelousas, La 70571, Opelousas Little Theater, P.O. Box 742, Opelousas La 70571 or other charities of your choice in Betty Warren Irby’s name.

Visitation, day and time pending at Lafond Ardoin Funeral Home on Sunset Highway in Opelousas, Louisiana.

Submitted by Ann Mays Harlan