|1945 Minden High School Obituaries
Mary Elizabeth Cooke
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
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
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.
was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Earle
Cooke, her parents, Buren and Elizabeth Perritt and
sister, Margaret Love.
lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First
United Methodist Church of Minden, Earl Cooke Music
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. Cookes 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 todays Press-Herald. She
was the wife of Earle Cooke who was the MHS and First
United Methodist Church choir director for many years.
Cooke, Mary Elizabeth Perritt
Rose-Neath Funeral Home-Minden, LA
Gardens of Memory
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
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
Corrections and additions to this obit would be
TRIBUTE TO SYBIL DRAKE SOUTHMAYD
BY JUDY GLEASON CLAASEN
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
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
of Tulsa, Okla., following a private burial service at
Cemetery, a reception will be held at the church
following the service.
Mrs. Southmayd died at her home Saturday, March 18, 2006,
extended illness. She was born May 8, 1928, in Minden to
Faerie Drake. She attended Minden High School, graduating
Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans where she was a
Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority. She later graduated from
North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in music. Her
first job was a
traveling music teacher in the Webster Parish primary
She met her husband of 54 years, Bill Southmayd, in
Minden, where he
was working as an engineer for Phillips Petroleum. They
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
about music. She had been active in the Weed 'n Seed
Children's Day Nursery and was a charter member of the
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
Throughout her life, Mrs. Southmayd had the good fortune
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
Kenneth and William Clark Southmayd, Jr. and wife
Laura and Ben Holcomb and Sarah and David Southmayd;
Moore and husband Luther of Minden.
Shreveport Times, Sunday, October 14,
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
Jude Catholic Church in Bossier City,
with Father Pike Thomas officiating.
Interment will follow in Hill Crest
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
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 Womens Club, the
Pilot Club International, Epsilon Sigma Alpha, and
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
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 states
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 schools 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
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
MEMORY OF TWO MINDEN REDBIRD BASEBALL PLAYERS
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.
Gardens of Memory Cemetery
November 1928 died 21 June 1958 (See 1946 for Sammy's
LNWOOD H. OUZTS - Gardens of Memory
Born 23 December 23 December 1927
died 30 September 1995
married Lanell J. born 18 October
1932 died 11 November 1990
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
will be Hershell McConathy, Pee Wee Patton, Dick Waters, Jack Gamble, Don
Veitch, Buddy Bonnett and
Spivey. In lieu of
flowers, the family requests that memorials may be made to The American Heart
Cameos: The life of Mindenite John J. McCowen Jr.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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:
"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
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
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
"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
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 ½ 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
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
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
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
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
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
by Linda Holt Moorehead, Class of 1961
WARREN, CLASS OF 1945
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
Hunters 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 Masters 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 Irbys name.
Visitation, day and time pending at Lafond Ardoin Funeral
Home on Sunset Highway in Opelousas, Louisiana.
by Ann Mays Harlan