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Monsignor Richard Von Phul Mouton, Obituary Post

Monsignor Richard von Phul Mouton of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette passed away Wednesday. He was 86 years old. The press has remembered him already and so have many of the institutions with which he was associated. His official obituary in the Daily Advertiser is here. More or less the same obituary appeared in other papers. I attended only the wake for complicated reasons but expect the funeral to be a grand and deserved tribute.

Mouton died at 2:21 p.m. Wednesday at Lafayette General Medical Center among those attending to his last illness was his brother, Frank Anthony Mouton. He is preceded in death by his father, Scranton Alfred Mouton, Sr., mother, Inez Genevieve von Phul Mouton, brother, Scranton Alfred Mouton, Jr., and sister-in-law, Margaret Apple Mouton. He is survived by his brothers, Frank Anthony Mouton and Marc Gilbert Mouton, Sr., sister-in-law Betty LaCour Mouton, and numerous nieces and nephews.  The Mouton family is a prominent family in the region and Alfred Mouton, at least for now, still occupies a central place on a statue in the center of Monsignor’s hometown. The Mouton House is a museum not far from the Cathedral  where Monsignor lived out much of his last phase of life since July 1, 2007, Monsignor took up residence as a Senior Priest at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. This nearby Mouton house seems small compared to other Plantation owners homes in the South but this  was the town house (not the larger country home) where  Governor and General Mouton — father and son– stayed over to attend mass at the nearby St. John’s  Church in Antebellum Lafayette.  The Mouton connections among Acadians (such as the governor and the General) and the non Acadian French are indeed extensive. Monsignor Mouton was very aware of his heritage though not one to harp on it with people who were not aware of it.

Richard Mouton was born on March 17, 1931 in Lafayette, Louisiana. He was baptized on March 25 of the same year at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, where he would later attend  the Cathedral primary school and receive the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation. He was ordained at this same Cathedral on June 4, 1955 and assigned as Associate Pastor of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Abbeville –which has always been my real home parish where I was baptized, made my first communion and was wed — but Monsignor did not officiate at any of those sacraments and was not pastor there in any of those years.  I did not know him as Associate pastor.

When I met him he was the intellectually mature Pastor of the Parish who had returned from completing his doctoral degree in Rome. His doctoral thesis was entitled “The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Mass,” Father Mouton returned to Louisiana and was assigned to Immaculate Conception Parish in Lake Charles, the current Bishop of Lake Charles Glen Provost was one of his Associate Pastors at St. Mary Magdalen in Abbeville and they distinguished themselves as a team with their deep love of the liturgy. Monsignor had also gotten an international status as a priest before he was pastor — this was because in 1962,  he attended the Second Vatican Council, in the company of Bishop Maurice Shexnayder, and was subsequently appointed Peritus Concilii Vaticani Secundi (Expert of the Second Vatican Council). Still before I met him and when I was in fact two years old, In June 1966, Father Mouton was elevated to Monsignor Mouton. Like Monsignor Ignatius A. Martin with whom I lived in Duson and who had a major role to play in my parents return to the faith of their youth when he was a  Pastor at St. Mary Magdalene — Monsignor Mouton would also serve as Superintendent of Catholic Schools from June 1967 to the time he received his first assignment as Pastor at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Abbeville in 1973. It was during that period that I got to know him. Many people knew Msgr. Richard Van Phul Mouton better than I but nobody knew him exactly as I did. His official obituary did not mention founding the Christian Service Center in Abbeville, the work he did with liturgy in parish life, hosting the Lay Evangelist Training and Commissioning Program for the Diocese of Lafayette or his significant involvement with the Fr. Conley Bertrand’s Come Lord Jesus program, the ground work and development of the Catholic is the Name Weekends, fostering Perpetual Adoration, or any of the other ways in which our paths crossed most publicly. He also officiated at my great grandmother’s funeral where I read one of the readings and based on that encounter he asked me to serve as lector which I did most of the time when I was in country and he was pastor was it was my turn. Many of the friends of my youth had him as a teacher at VCHS, they told me. I never did. But despite eating hundreds of meals with priests, I was somehow closer to Monsignor than all but a tiny few. It is odd, I suppose. But my real connections were more personal and complicated, he twice asked me to enter the seminary and I twice regretfully declined — that was a long time ago, before I was married. I considered the priesthood at other times but really at those particular times I felt certain that I could not seriously pursue that option. Monsignor was also my confessor and spiritual director for some but not all of that time, I found him an insightful and serious man with whom anything could be discussed.

In February 1987, Monsignor Mouton was assigned as Pastor of St. Pius X Church in Lafayette in a an unusual swap with Fr. Donald Theriot who was the celebrant at my wedding.  Theriot came to St. Mary Magdalene from Pius X. During his time as Pastor, Monsignor participated in the development of various pastoral ministries, most notably the development of St. Thomas More Catholic High School and the founding of St. Pius X Elementary School.  I would later teach at St. Thomas More High School of which St. Pius is a Corporate Parish and would move there during my year of teaching and then away to Baton Rouge to pursue my M.A. but my parents would move there with my younger siblings and  he would remain their pastor and he would be someone I had much occasion to see. When I was teaching at St. Thomas More High School we did have some interactions. Mostly those related to crises in the school administration at a school which is normally stable but was having an unstable year. STM was in the official obituary whereas virtually nothing from Abbeville  was in it except merely his pastorate. However, it is not a matter of question that St. Pius Elementary School there is one of his greatest achievements.  He saw Catholic education as a key part of preserving the Faith and the right kind of Christian intellectual development. But he was a Ragin’ Cajun as well and continued his studies at the local secular university and not only at St. Joseph’s Seminary and the Pontifical College. He saw the light of Divine Truth in all learning, although I don’t have the particular courses at hand I am pretty sure that I remember that. He lived a faith in his time.  To quote the official obituary:

If the loss of faith is a life’s greatest tragedy, then surely its preservation is a life’s greatest triumph; Monsignor Mouton was certainly a great guardian of the Church and preserved Her teachings through his ministry to the many who loved him. 

“I value the priesthood I have been graced to share in…I have happily done what I was asked to do by my Bishop, ministering to his flock, hopefully, with zeal and charity. God knows and I praise Him for the graces I believe He gave me in doing so. All the good I have done I have truly done by the grace of God.”

Monsignor Richard von Phul Mouton

By the Grace of God

Beyond those public ministries, going back to the family comments made at the start, Monsignor was a full and thorough example of commitment to the priesthood but he was also a man with all the connections of a man of a particular, place time and lineage.  Msgr. Mouton had a circle of not very close friends with some common regional interests and I helped people a few times with translations of Heraldic and ancestral documents because they met me when I was discussing such things with this son of Acadiana. He also had great capacity for saying a lot in a few words about places he’d been. I have probably traveled with a hundreds priests, some bishops and a few cardinals — I never remember being in the same vehicle with Monsignor. We were at many receptions together over my lifetime but only shared a meal at table perhaps four times.

Monsignor knew many challenges in life. One of them was a bit vicarious. One of his closest friends in life was also ordained Jun. 04, 1955   and Msgr. H.A. Larroque was the brilliant Canon Lawyer with whom he could discuss many ideas and concerns. Before the explosion of the child abuse crisis Monsignor had (hard as this will be for many to believe) discussed with me his concerns about safe environment issues and the need to do more in preventing problems related to sexual behavior through priestly formation. But the conversations were related to our discussions about my concerns with some seminary environments I had encountered in the world. I had no idea he was dealing with real problems among priests close at hand and not as effectively as he probably should have and felt he should have. His really good friend was caught up in dealing with religious and secular legal matters, world wide media scrutiny and countless other moral issues and it was an ordeal. With me Monsignor never pretended he or his very close friend had perfect answers to any of these crises. I was proud of the fact that the Church paid huge damage awards, sponsored programs, organized safe environment training, struggled to weather the storm and did lots of other things. I often said that while I excused nothing of the worst abuses the Church paid mostly the price of being a responsible and enduring institution in the society of shirking, dissolution and changing  names which characterizes the modern world.    But truthfully the child abuse  scandals did change something about our conversations.

Monsignor and I were both strong personalities, he was clearly the more successful of the two and much older but we held very little back in our really private conversation although they were ALWAYS  cordial they could be both heated and cordial intense and measured. During my later life we corresponded almost entirely about grave and confidential matters and enjoyed only a few brief friendly conversations. Virtually none were related to child abuse or other issues that make a lot of ink. But they were issues we both took seriously.

I considered him a great man and a good priest. Sometimes, I considered him a fairly close friend. That’s not something I find as easy to explain. I lived with Msgr. Ignatius Martin and was a close companion of a Jesuit Missionary priest named Joseph Stoffel in the Philippines. Both were friends and I knew them in more ordinary friendly ways. But Msgr. Mouton and I had some common concerns that I shared with few other people over my lifetime. We didn’t always agree. But the void he leaves cannot be filled by anyone else I know. Life has taken many turns since the days since Monsignor Mouton and I knew each other best.
I have usually posted a kind of obituary on my blog for prominent people who were also significant in my life and I am doing that again for Msgr. Mouton. For as long as the blog exists it helps me organize these memories. People have often revisited these blog entries over the years, so someone else gets something out of it as well. But Monsignor is not likely to slip my mind often for very long.

Donald Romero Remembered

Donald Craig Romero has just died before dawn on September 18, 2014. He was born on September 24, 1946 in Crowley, Louisiana. This very brief obituary honors and celebrates his life and notes the pain of his passing. His funeral arrangements will be at Vincent’s Funeral Home and there  will be a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary Magdalen Church  on Monday the twenty-second of September — the church where he and his wife were longtime parishoners. If the link under the name of the funeral home does not work copy the following to you browser for times and dates as they are posted:


I saw Donald very ill in the hospital just before he was released home with hospice care. There have been a few adjustments since the first edition of this post and there may be corrections posted in this text over time but mostly this is the memorial which will stand for the man who has been among my father’s closest friends and someone I have known a long time and pretty well myself. The Romero’s were a couple my parents were likely to choose to spend free time with and to enjoy fellowship with. I will return to this theme of family connections below.

Not a formal portrait but a picture of Donald Craig Romero doing for others. He was wiring a house and doing an interview for an online video.

Not a formal portrait but a picture of Donald Craig Romero doing for others. He was wiring a house and doing an interview for an online video.

He was married to Cheryl Lemaire Romero for nearly thirty-nine years. They were married at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Kaplan, Louisiana.  Which is in Vermilion Parish and Acadiana and Louisiana where they lived the bulk of their lives. Both were born in South Louisiana and Cheryl and Donald each worked for large employers in the area during much of their lives. In recent decades their life has centered more around their very nice home a bit North and West of Abbeville proper  which was a project among many they undertook together. Cheryl survives Donald with heir children and grandchildren.

Donald Romero  was a doer who spent lots of time making things happen.

Donald Romero donated time and skill to many projects including electrical work on the house where this is written when already much ravaged by cancer. Donald Romero also donated food, friendship and support with his family over the years to many causes. and works of my family.

His descendants are two families both close to my family.  His daughter Sarah Romero Harrington and her husband D.J. Harrington and their children Gabrielle, Grant and Grace have been part of many of our lives for many years in ways I will enumerate a bit below. His son Samuel Luke Romero and Sammy’s wife Lindsey Dold Romero  and their children Anders and Magdalen, and Evangeline have served as missionaries with Family Missions Company in the Philippines.

Sammy and Lindsey and their family in missions. Donald long supported the mission work of my family.

Sammy and Lindsey and their family in missions. Donald long supported the mission work of my family.

Donald moved into this Parish and portion of the region and his parents who predeceased him were Thomas Romero and Anne Bourque Romero and were residents of Washington, Louisiana. He is also preceded in death by his brother Jeffrey Jude Romero and his wife Dorthy Romero Myers. But he is survived by brothers Robert, Johnny, Dwight, Paul and  Bryan. He is also survived by a single sister. Susan Romero Sylvester.

Donald’s time in the Navy and his studies at McNeese State University were part of making him the very able technician he was at work and elsewhere. Romero served in an open combat theater during the  traumatic period and controversial conflagration which was the Vietnam War. He always valued the experience, training chances for travel and good relations he enjoyed with others on the aircraft carrier on which he served.  Afterwards he   entered McNeese State University in Lake Charles and completed an associates degree in Electronics Technology. From that background he went to work successfully in the oilfield until he found a job which enabled him to have a more complete family and community life.

He worked much of his life for Riviana Foods in their principal Abbeville locations. He loved his job more than most people do and felt well treated especially during his long struggle with illness. However, this does not mean he felt no stress in the technical responsibilities he exercised. Long ago he turned down some more lucrative options to stick not only with his company but the many connections he had made locally.

I am busy with getting less busy in some ways but am able to take the time, risk and effort to note the passing of Donald Romero He has just lost a long and gruesome battle with cancer. I  have cut back a lot on my online activity. The passing of a dear friend’s wife. Maureen Ferguson Kroeger,  has not yet been marked here before this mention. I am myself not much involved with FMC but Donald and I worked in missionary endeavors  before Family Missions Company and in the years when I actively supported them more than I do I saw him at such functions as I attended.  He and his wife Cheryl were founding members of Family Missions Company and the first Committee Heads of FMC’ s Evangelistic Outreach Committee.

The long connection with the Romero family and with Donald is a very complex and rich connection. There has been much to celebrate and enjoy over the years and many hard years of watching his struggle with cancer. This short obituary is just a token of that whole tale. I especially remember an early video he made of my parents and family and their missionary work in General Cepeda after I was no longer living with them. It meant a lot to see the video and he had brought the new video technology to the mission field. Donald Romero is a man easy to remember as busy doing his best on some project he had made time for and it is thus that I last videoed him.  The parameters on my account have changed and few of my videos show when accessed now but the link is provided in the highlighted text.

Another shot of the same work. The chair probably would not have been their twenty years earlier.

Another shot of the same work. The chair probably would not have been their twenty years earlier.

There will of course be other obituaries and many will remember a man who was never really famous and yet reached quite the  large network over a lifetime. There is a great deal to say and much of it would have to be a list of things done. He was a doer and a man committed to doing what he could with the time and resources he had available for the people and causes he cared about.

I have a dearth of images of him available here and now but this retreat house is one place of many where he and I were together.

I have a dearth of images of him available here and now but this retreat house is one place of many where he and I were together.

In remembering the years that I knew Donald Romero a number of things become very clear. His family and mine connected through many connections over the years. This obituary is put together to note his passing in this blog but does not evince the hundreds of events, projects and occasions in which our lives touched. He literally fixed hundreds of items which disappeared in bad repair from my parents home in the years when I lived with them and appeared again repaired by Donald Romero. He did some free repairs on my car once when I was parked at his home to have dinner.  How does one summarize or narrate such a relationship and such a life? But I mention it here in my blog to give it such a lasting monument as I can. My father will be one of those eulogizing Mr. Romero. I know that he will bring things to light I will not cover here.

These are different horses at Big Woods. But one memory I have of interacting with the Romeros is catching the horse Champ to give to Donald's son-in-law D.J. to load into a trailer and drive to their home for Gabrielle and their other children.

These are different horses at Big Woods. But one memory I have of interacting with the Romeros is catching the horse Champ to give to Donald’s son-in-law D.J. to load into a trailer and drive to their home for Gabrielle and their other children.

I trust that Donald has found rest after labor, peace after combat, health after sickness. I pray for his soul and family as I often prayed with him in my lifetime.


Representative Mickey Frith Dies

A former State Representative who represented the district in which I reside has died. One of his family members is well established on my Facebook list and two other have been active or inactive Facebook friends but I had little to do with him in politics, education or in the family home. I subbed a bit at the E. Broussard school which was the successor of the school which was his high school alma mater but it was solely an elementary and middle school when I worked there. We also attended the same university and for a few years I owned some in Forked Island where he was always well known.  He is further off from my life than someone I would normally have as subject of a blog obituary. But he was a significant figure throughout my life. Mickey Frith and I  spoke perhaps no more than thirty times and all of them relatively briefly. But I spent many hours, days and weeks on various parts of my father’s family farm in or near the Forked Island area. This was throughout most of my life. Mickey Frith was a presence in that area whether he was there or not.

There was a time when Mickey’s Drive Inn had  amusement games, food, drink music and air conditioning and was a center of gathering and activity for the small community of Forked Island, Louisiana. Later this business was sold and Mickey’s became a slightly different place with some of the same menu items in the nearby town of Kaplan, Louisiana. He owned a number of business he founded and he bought the well established El Camino Restaurant and ran it at a higher level than before in a town where many such enterprises do not survive sale by the first owner very well. I have sold food to hundreds of restaurants in Louisiana but as far as I know in none of these years did I ever sell or even offer to sell any directly to Mr. Mickey nor in fact sell to his restaurants.

In the pubnlic recor it is mainly the case that former Louisiana State Senator Mickey Frith has died. Of course students and teachers also mourn their dead more than most groups and he was a teacher and assistant principal at his alma mater as well as teaching in a Catholic school, Maltrait Memorial in Kaplan.  His involvment with youth was extensive. He served three terms in the legislature. The article which appeared in the local press including the front page of the Abbeville Meridional should link through here. There is also a website which does not always welcome links but many be available here or by copying this address into your browser: http://www.vincentfuneralhome.net/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2527610&fh_id=11197church.

Cecil B. Gremillion Sr. Has Died

A major person  my maternal grandfather has died.His remains will be available for visitation Tuesday April 1, 2014 at Our Lady of the Bayou, the former Notre Dame de La Bayou on Henry on Abbeville from three until eight p.m. The visitation will resume on Wednesday the second of April from opening sometime after eight until the Mass of Christian Burial to be held at the same OLOB Chapel. I will update this post with comments as more information becomes available.  UPDATE: My grandfather’s funeral Mass will be at ten o’clock on Wednesday the second. Therefore visitation should be available to those who arrive at eight o’clock in the morning and until mass begins. OLOB is under the custody and control of Family Missions Company.

two of my grandparents

two of my grandparents

I take the day to note that someone major in my life has died. He was also well known for many years and honored as the the Commodore of the Tarpon Rodeo and other such things in his day.  Pops was once President of the Vermillion Parish Savings and Loan, President of Riptide Investors, a realtor, an entrepreneur and father and grandfather to many. His military service, work for the church, sense of fun and life as an entertainer were also known to many. I will write more about him later. I have included him in some videos including two which you can view here and here.

The home my grandfather shared with his family for so long.

The home my grandfather shared with his family for so long.

Yes, for me it is the fact that my grandfather Cecil Bruce Gremillion prominent in his family, has died. He was known to many as Pops. He was preceded in death by his parents Mr. & Mrs.Kildren Gremillion, his mother was the former Etta Marie Soileau, and his only sister Virginia whom I called Aunt Peach. he was also predeceased by his wife the former Beverlee Hollier and his infant son Robin Ryan Gremillion. He is survived by all of his other five children, My mother Genie Summers, Bruce Gremillion , Brian Gremillion,Jed Gremillion and Rachel Broussard. He is survived by all his grandchildren except Michael Gremillion. I am the oldest of that next generation. We remain relatively close in the next generation which includes on my Facebook list at the time of this writing: Cecil Gremillion, Gabriel Gremillion, Angelle Gremillion ,Rob Gremillion, Jenn Broussard Davis, Crystal Wisser , and my siblings Sarah, Susanna, Mary, Simon, Joseph and John Paul Summers as well as other not on that Facebook list. On that Facebook list at this writing was the great grandchild is Alyse E. Spiehler although not so long ago Anika was on it as well.. However all of my nieces and nephews (as I am divorced and estranged from the other possible options) are his great-grandchildren. Other relatives in some way or other on my list include Matt West, Max Wisser, Shelley West, Jeff and maybe Kieth Berlin and probably others I am not thinking of just now.

Halloween was Pop’ss birthday. His nature included the Trick or Treat Merry Prankster and some could see little else. They did not know about the sacred family shrine to Saint Jude, the charities or the devotion to family. . My grandparents  were married for over 65 years and together a bit before that both engaged and  courting. Together they went through World War II, built a home and reared a family. They went in to hospice care together. My grandmother died almost immediately and my grandfather whom almost anyone would have thought was the sicker one has lingered to make several more birthdays and part of the way in this year to the  birthday he will not reach .

Kisinoaks Logo Darker

I still vividly remember the younger man who was named an Economic Ambassador of Louisiana, a Commodore of a nearby Tarpon Fishing Rodeo, President of a local savings and loan, President of a local development and investment company and now he is confined to either a bed or a wheelchair and I doubt he ever feels well. Life has stages and many of them are very tough going. I hope that it is not to religious or philosophical for some who may read this to say that I hope his journey through this pain is somehow deepening and enriching to him. No life is simple but my grandfather always had a religious perspective and an interest in the inner life — which he balanced with a worldly pursuit of wealth and pleasure. He was a fairly complicated man and I am sure he still was in life and is in Eternity.

Pops is also made for the ages by his connection to his daughter Genie Gremillion Summers.  My mother, his oldest daughter was born Gene Marie Gremillion in Midland, Texas during the Second World War to his wife whom I called “Mamon”  Beverlee Hollier Gremillion and US Army Air Corps Lieutentant Cecil Bruce Gremillion.  Her own life has been an adventure and she has always been close to Pops whatever else she did.The mother of eight of which I am the eldest of seven full and legal siblings who cohabited and shared the life experience of sblings although I am much older than the next of these and so there are nuances. She has written and published plays on her complex imteraction with Acadian and other South Louisiana roots and seen them produced in her secular young adulthood. She has witten produced and directed plays especially with religious Christmas themes since then. She has written and produced a religious memoir listed in this glossary. She produced a documentary film when I was a child and has published numerous articles in numerous formats. She has stayed married to my father for over 47 years.  She recorded a grat deal about Pops in her two volume memoir.

My nieces and nephews at my  maternal grandparents home

My nieces and nephews at my maternal grandparents home

Go! You are Sent… A sort of memoir written by my mother and once distributed mostly by a small distribution company I had which placed these books with dozens of outlets around the country and the world at its height of sales with my small company. I am a significant character in this book but mostly very young. Our Family’s Book of Acts This is the sequel to Go You are Sent! it brings my mother’s religious memoir into my adult life. It is longer than the first book and has more about me as a person more similar to who I am now. It also brings to many who did not know him directly some part of Pop’s life and times. I have already shred some pictures of the home which meant so much to him and it was always prominent north of Abbeville when he lived there. Much more so when he built it and it was in its heyday than it is now when others have eclipsed it and it has decayed and eclined.

Nobody who really knew Pops can remember him without reference to Kisinoaks A property purchased and developed by my grandparents and where they also lived, The principal residence was a smallish antebellum Acadian mansion Anglicized by a Dr. Tarleton, carved up into a sort of boarding house and then cut in half and floated down river to the site where they already had a small cottage we call a “camp”. The house was redesigned, given a large facade and furnished using the advantages my grandparents had through their furniture business. Then  a swimming pool, cabana, terrace and family shrine were added to the rear of the property near the camp already existed. A dock had already existed on the Vermilion River at that point. Part of the woods was given over to the oldest son, my uncle who built a fine redwood and glass house which passed out of the family years ago. The place has been in steady decline and been somewhat subdivided in recent years. I spent a lot of time there when I was young and it was a place of activity for a host of colorful and varied characters to gather for many years.

Besides being a Cursillista he was a member of theKnights of Columbus A Catholic Men’s Fraternal, Charitable and Life Insurance order with American Patriotic and Catholic Christian Chivalric traditions founded in the nineteenth century in Connecticut. I am an inactive member.    He was huge fan of the football team and other athletics clubs at Louisiana State University also known as LSU. This is the place where I got my Master of Arts degree. I attended as a holder of the Board of Regents Fellowship. It is the largest university in Louisiana, home of the Fighting Tigers or Bayou Bengals and has many claims to excellence.  My sister graduated with a perfect academic average after matriculating for only three and a half years while she worked and during which time she was wed and gave birth to her first child. She was admitted as a National Merit Scholar.

This was close to his great love for the New Orleans Saints. He painted his tractor in Saints colors and drove it around pulling a wagon-load of grandchildren.  That was part of what made Kisinoaks special.

My ex-wife Michelle Denise Broussard Summers,born Michelle Denise Broussard, (at the time of this rewriting and for  many years prior) Michelle Broussard Hanes  could be very reserved and not easily comfortable around some of my kinfolk and on the other hand Pops could be a bit too playful with pretty girlfriends of some relatives without crossing any major lines. One way I knew Michele would work out is that she and Pops had a great relationship although not so deep and lasting as it might have been. It was one of many ways his life emerged top be seen in new lights while I knew him all my life up to this day.  As of March 31, 2014 Michelle has been my only wife and there are no prospects for any other that are at all likely. She is the person I have been closest to in my life and we were continuously together sharing a great deal for the better part of a decade. When I think of all she was to me the time we spent at Kisinoaks before and after we wed made a big difference as did other times with Pops.

Pops valued relationships and it hard to remember him without reference to other people. Here, here and here are links to notes about important people in his life. There is a lot that simply does not get written in a note like this.

There were many more sides to him but this will end this note. I may edit it  a bit but it covers the bases. Goodbye Pops!

Further Notes on Survivors, Descendants and Spouses (posted on April 1, 2014):

Eldest Daughter Genie (Gene Marie Gremillion, Mrs. Frank W. Summers II
Paul Nicolas Jordan (Deceased)

Genie and Frank W. Summers II’s children:

1.Frank W. Summers III also Frank “Beau” Summers and Beau — Childless

2. Sarah Anthea Summers, also Mrs. Kevin Granger, Sarah Summers Granger

  • Sarah’s children:
  • Born to Sarah Summers Spiehler and Jason Robert Spiehler:
  • Alyse Elizabeth Spiehler, Anika Claire Spiehler and Soren Alexander Spiehler
  • Born to Sarah Summers Granger and Kevin Joseph Granger:
  • Isaac Joseph Granger and Isabel Marie Granger

3. Susanna Maria Summer, also Susanna Summers Vanvickle and Mrs. Michael         Vanvickle

  • Michael Anthony Vanvickle, Anthony Michael Vanvickle, Dominic Vianney Vanvickle, Thomas  Vanvickle, Marisa Grace Vanvicle

4. Mary Magdalen Summers, also Mary Summers Hindelang and Mrs.                             Christopher Jon Hindelang

  • Eli Joseph Hindelang, James Patrick Hindelang, Cecilia Marie Hindelang, Naomi Rose Hindelang

5. Simon Peter Emmanuel Summers — childless

6. Joseph Anthony Summers and his wife the former Brooke Lee Ortego

  • Anthony Joseph Summers and Benjamin Clay Summers

7. John Paul Summers and his wife the former Jill Anne Thompson

  • Elliot Simon Summers, Oliver William Summers and Sophie Clare Summers

Cecil Bruce Gremillion II and his wife the former Elizabeth Easton have two children:

  • Michael Joseph Gremillion (deceased before the birth of his siblings)
  • Cecil Bruce Gremillion III and Crystal Elizabeth Gremillion (also Crystal Gremillion Wisser).  I am not listing other great-grandchildren but one may assume most of the grandchildren have children as in fact they do.

Brian Thomas Gremillion

With his  estranged  wife Sybil

  • Robin Ryan Gremillion and Gabriel Thomas Gremillion. These grandchildren were largely reared in the home of my grandparents as their children. I am not listing other great-grandchildren but one may assume most of the grandchildren have children as in fact they do.

With his wife the former Connie Minville

  • Angelle Gremillion and Jared Gremillion.I am not listing other great-grandchildren but one may assume most of the grandchildren have children as in fact they do.

Jed Gerard Gremillion has fostered children  but He and his wife the former  Heidi Theriot have no children.

Rachel Theresa Gremillion, also Rachel Gremillion Broussard and Mrs. Jude Francis Broussard have two children:

  • Joshua Jude Broussard and Jennifer Andree Brousssard. I am not listing other great-grandchildren but one may assume most of the grandchildren have children as in fact they do.

My great grandmother whom I called Mama Grem told me several times that her maiden name was Etta Marie Soileau and several relatives called her this in my presence. However, her legal name appears to have been Marietta Soileau. However, I will always think of her in the other version.

There are doubtless other omissions.

Justin “Jess” Spiehler Jr. Dies

Lent begins with mourning in this house. Justin “Jess Spiehler” husband of Jacquelyn Spiehler , father of Jason Spiehler who in turn is the father of my two nieces and a nephew listed here in this sentence  and his siblings has deceased. Jess was the grandfather of Alyse E. Spiehler who is on my Facebook list still for those finding this  from that source and my niece  and godchild Anika Spiehler who once was on the list and nephew Soren Spiehler who are both siblings of Alyse and children of my sister Sarah Summers Granger and they found out this Mardi Gras that their beloved grandfather had died suddenly. I knew him far better than many people I had more reason to know despite the fact that we spent less time together than might nearly have been the case. We did share some number of long conversations over many years. Of course his life began a good while before mine did and mine had been going on quite q while before we met.

Jess, as he was known to most was born on June 18, 1939 in New Orleans, and I was born on June 15, 1964 in Crowley.  We are both native sons of Louisiana and always had that in common although we never really discussed the closeness of our birthdays in any way whatever. A believer in Catholic education and otherwise in educational institutions Jess graduated from St. Aloysius High School in 1957. He went on to complete a degree in Petroleum Engineering at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, graduating at the top of his class. While there he was attached to the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps although he did not go that route in his career as far as I understand. He and my sister Sarah had that achievement of Baccalaureate excellence at LSU in common and we discussed the topic and also his love of engineering and his sense of being empowered by the degree and all it meant to him.  While at LSU he met Jacquelyn Claire Remy,  whom he married on September 2, 1961. Miss Jackie was as one would know the center point and solid home support for his life of activity. They had a gracious home together for many years and Jess liked to talk about what it took to build it on occasion.

It was the engineering in the oilfield which followed the  graduation from LSU which paid for the home, charities and hobbies. Jess went to work  for California Oil Company (now Chevron) and later for Signal Oil & Gas and Damson Oil and he kept working. In 1974 he moved to Lafayette, Louisiana to co-found Stokes & Spiehler and enjoyed a long and prosperous career. He felt he made a difference and the craftsman evident in much of his life was evident in his recollections of his career as well. It was something he crafted with his wife on one side and colleagues on the other. In addition he felt that he created modest but definable contributions to the development of the industry over his career. I did not always take the time that would have been needed to grasp the exact nature of a refinement of technique he felt he had contributed but I could see he had measured such things.

He was a man of noted achievement in business as and seemed to be well respected in the technical crafts and professions which underlay his businesses. He poured forth additional skill into fine woodworking and was notably present at family events at the educational institutions where his descendants excelled with his gracious wife. Further he raised funds for Family Missions Company in formal and informal ways. accompanied my brother to his handicapped Cursillo and was devoted to prison ministry. Mr. Spiehler also was an avid and accomplished outdoorsman.

Jess Spiehler had  a sense of real satisfaction derived from pursuing a varied and highly successful career in an industry which is vital to the State of Louisiana, the Acadiana region and the Gulf Coast. He was truly steeped in its expertise, way of doing business and in the battle scars and callouses that can only come from years laboring in the intricacies of keeping things going in the oilfield. The link to his company follows and concludes this part of his obituary.


An obituary and guestbook will be available at this link:

It is an odd but noteworthy fact that I lost many pictures several times and there were a few years I seldom had a camera. But despite all that I simply did not really end up with any printable photographs of Mr. Spiehler when it came time post this. I looked for a while and was surprised. I don;t know if I ever asked him to pose. If not then it is partly because of respect for him at the given moment and yet I regret it. During my peak period for photographing family events he was ill and less often present but that would not have prevented a few pictures with his wife and grandchildren. That is the nature or life’s uncertainties.


The vigil and funeral of Mr. Spiehler were very dignified and elegant events without being in any way overblown and meaningful tribute was paid to his role in family, his work in nursing homes, his activity in St. Pius X Church Parish and the rosary was led by his brothers in the Knights of Columbus. This  is in addition to the professional connections, the Kairos Prison Ministry and other achievements alluded to in this post earlier on.

Mandela — Madiba Passes

Today Nelson Mandela died. He was a man who combined many admirable qualities and who helped bring about change favored by his own people and suffered for seeking change by serving a long prison sentence and in other ways. Notably he sought a regular and constitutional transition and tried to wisely combine socialist and capitalist elements of his restoration and revolutionary program. Under his tenure the economy survived, future administrations were made possible and South Africa was able to capitalize on it ties to the British Commonwealth as well as it fund of international goodwill. On the other hand South Africa is a dangerous crime-ridden country with brewing radical disruptive factions and elements. It is surrounded by neighbors in which open genocidal black racism is increasingly advocated.

The Union survives as economically viable but we are aware that Elon Musk who may be the greatest inventor-entrepreneur alive today is a native White South African who has become a US citizen. What there is of South Africa’s technical sector is shrouded in uncertainty. There is a great deal of complexity to his legacy and to the future of issues he confronted in his life. But we can surely applaud his sustained and committed effort to do the best he could for his country as he saw it.

Fr. Donald Theriot

Fr. Donald Theriot

Fr. Theriot was born on November 20, 1931 in Gueydan, Louisiana.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Lorette A. Theriot and Laura Mae Gooch Theriot; and his sister Betty Mae Theriot Lowe. The Theriot Grand Famille or extended family are a very significant association and people in Acadiana and Louisiana and Acadian heritage and life. Fr. Theriot was never unaware of his heritage nor unwilling to undertake responsibilities which might arise from it despite all his priestly, institutional and other obligations. Olivier Theriot was the second highest ranking person among the Acadian people beside Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil during the founding of the new Acadia Nouvelle Acadie and was the chief of the Lafourche des Chetimache Bayou Acadians.  This status did not originate with Olivier Theriot but rather relates to the high status of the Theriot clan as well as Olivier’s personal qualities.

His funeral mass today at St. Mary Magdalen Church and it was at the same church that he presided over my wedding to Michelle Denise Broussard nearly 26 years ago. Although that marriage was long ago ended in civil divorce and ecclesiastically annulled, Michelle was still the person I have been closest to in my life and thus it was a very important occasion for me. Fr. Theriot was not a close friend but was also a friend and confidant and a major supporter of Vermilion Catholic High School where I have many associations and ties over the years and was a supporter of the local community in many manifestations. I seldom spoke with him in recent years but I will remember him for as long as I am remembering things. His commitment to causes he believes in continues in death. In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to Vermilion Catholic High School where a scholarship endowment will be established in his memory

He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Lafayette on June 1, 1957 and served as Associate Pastor in the parishes of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Lafayette and St. Mary Magdalen in Abbeville, two of the more prestigious assignments in our local church. Upon elevation to the role of pastor he never flinched or shirked his duty, Fr. Theriot devotedly served as Pastor of the parishes of St. Mary of the Lake, Big Lake; Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Coteau; St. Anne, Cow Island; St. Pius X, Lafayette. His final assignment was as Pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Abbeville from which he retired in 2002. Fr. Theriot remained in the Abbeville community from the time of his retirement where he continued to remain active in his priestly ministry in St. Mary Magdalen Parish as well as serving a Chaplain for the Vermilion Catholic Athletic Department.

He is survived by his brother, Gordon R. Theriot of Kenner, Louisiana; his brother-in-law, Kenneth B. Lowe of Kansas City, Missouri; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Fr. Theriot was certainly a real and important presence in my life. In fact, I grew up a close friend and associate of one of his first cousins, Kay Piazza Listi (Mrs. Vince Listi) and her immediate family. To a lesser degree I knew and know all of the family into which she was born and my mother’s family was always associated with them in a variety of ways.  I attended some of the well attended visitation held on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at Vincent Funeral Home of Abbeville from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. arriving a bit before the start of the Vigil Service and Rosary at 7:00 p.m. and leaving shortly afterwards. I was not able to attend the visitation at St. Mary Magdalen Church on Friday, November 15, 2013 from 8:00 a.m. until the time of the Funeral Mass at 10:00 or the rosary prayed at St. Mary Magdalen Church on Friday morning at 8:15 a.m. led by the students and staff of Vermilion Catholic High School. Vermilion Catholic was much in evidence at the rosary I did attend.  Nor did I attend the Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church. But I am joined to these observances honoring the life and praying for the repose of the soul of Father Donald C. Theriot, who died at 81 a week short of his 82d birthday passing away instead on my mother’s 70th birthday –Wednesday, November 13, 2013. He finished a long struggle with various sicknesses and infirmities at the Louisiana Extended Care Hospital of Lafayette.

He should be laid to rest as I type these words in a ceremony at St. Paul Cemetery after  the Most Rev. Michael Jarrell, Bishop of Lafayette, celebrates the Funeral Mass as I am finish typing these words. St. Mary Magdalen’s pastor  Rev. William C. Blanda who spoke at and lead the service last night should be serving as  Master of Ceremonies and the Rev. Louis Richard  and Abbeville man also present and involved in funeral details is to be preaching the funeral homily.

May he rest in peace and his legacy long be assured. He was a quietly extraordinary man.

Obit: Lottie Lucia Miller Massie

My great aunt Lottie Lucia Miller Massey, the former Mrs. Charles William Massie II has died, I may post more later:
The second of three children of the late Dr. Preston Joseph Miller and Laura Broussard Miller and the last surviving of the three. She is survived by her son Charles William Massie III and his children Charles William Massie IV, Christian Chadwick Massey (Chad Massie) and Catherine Massie and her grandchildren born to Chad and his wife Tricia Dwyer Massie. She is also survived by her daughter Laura Lucia Massie Hayes Roberts and her grandchildren through Laura both Paul Hayes and his daughter Patricia with his former wife Elizabeth and two children with his wife Stacey Thorne Hayes as well as Laura-Lucia Hayes Carothers. Paul messaged me with correct information and did not mention nieces or nephews as we stay in very loose touch these days. She was an alumna of Louisiana State University and a long term supporter of various educational causes along with other interests in her life.

One of those interests was extended family. The descendants of her sister and brother also remember her fondly and several of them are on my FB friends list as well. She was a public school teacher and a devout Roman Catholic who lived that faith at a time when her divorce was unusual in small town environments of Catholic Acadiana and south Louisiana. Descended from Joseph Broussard “dit Beausoleil” through her mother she never knew or remembered very well – who died in her childhood she was always deeply attached to her father until his death. She held land, mineral interests, financial interests and family concerns which occupied much of her time before and after her retirement from teaching. She was known to some as devoted to a long process of caring for her home, garden and surrounds for many years in a large sun bonnet or hat along one of the principal streets in Abbeville.

She threw parties for the family on occasion which were often memorable. However, in most of the two most recent decades she has been in assisted living and long term care facilities. I called her “Nannee” and knew her very well. She had many friends and associates and relatives with whom she stayed in touch for many years but many have died or become homebound themselves. I know nothing yet about funeral arrangements but will share any links I receive. This little obituary is posted from Memory without research.

Beverly Miller Summers Obit: A Recopied Facebook Note

Beverly Miller Summers: The Passing of an Extraordinary Person
by Frank Wynerth Summers III on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 10:17am ·
Beverly Miller Summers was the daughter of Dr. Preston Joseph Miller who moved into Vermilion Parish and Laura Broussard who was a native of Cow Island and tied to old and prominent rural landowning familes. The Broussards also held important positions in Acadian life and culture which cannot be adequately described in this brief note. My grandmother had owned in her life quite few thousands of acres of lands nearby acquired, owned and transferred in quite a varied and complex range of property rights and conveyances. These lands were all in the region traditionaly known as the Terre des Attakapas. This was a lnd named for Aboriginal American tribe known for small numbers, ferocity and cannibalism who were very diminished in wars with other Aboriginal American nations, the Spanish and the French before the Acadians under Joseph Broussard came to this region. The Prairie where Abbeville and Lafayette sit is the Attakapas country in Acadian and Louisiana parlance. A good number of Atakapas (or Attakapas of Atakkapas) were killed inskirmishes and there wives and children taken as mistresseses and second families by the Acadians. Some of their descendants joined the Houma who also interbred and intermarried heavily with the Acadians. The Attakapas name was so hated by neighbors that only people who are almost pure European White have ever dared to use it since first contact. There are remenants but no tribe. The remnants are spread over a large area.

My grandmother’s mother’s family were descendants of Joseph Broussard. my obviously he was also my ancestor, resistance leader in Acadie, Captain of the Attakapas, little understood he stands tall as the founding Basileus of the New Acadia. He held a uniquely high status for a colonist with the British, French and Spanish although he did not have an easy life as a result. Joseph Broussard is known Broussard dit Beausoleil. “Beausoleil” means beautiful sunlight in French among other things. It is also the name of a town in Acadie where several families including the Broussards lived. Part of the identifying handle of Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil. Beausoleil is also a code name for Basileus. Beausoleil is also the name of a band led by Michael Doucet who is on my Friends list here on Facebook who based on a few comments made over the years some have alleged to be an Acadian royalist although neither he nor his band have assented to this in plain language.

Gammie’s mother died when she was a child and her childhood was dominated by her father. One of the last projects we worked on was when the current Abbeville branch of the Vermilion Parish Library was built on the site of the Palms Hospital and I used her as a source for a large feature on this for a local periodical. This periodical was Bonnes Nouvelles (Vermilion) This is a sort of newspaper formatted cultural magazine published monthly in Abbeville for which I once wrote feature articles and columns for a significant stint. My column was called A Summery of the Local Cultural Scene. After her childhood she began a romance that lasted all his life with my grandfather. This man became Justice Frank Wynerth Summers who was briefly Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court at the end of his public carreer as a Louisiana jurist, my grandfather was a Louisiana Supreme Court Justice and with the earlier time he was a judge this gave him a judical carreer for a long time. He was a farmer and cattleman and he was involved in many things which I will not mention here. He died just months before I finished my Master of Arts degree at LSU. My grandfather was descended from the Leblancs on his mother’s side. He was descended from Severin Leblanc: A Comite man, a businessman and much of a mystery. Among people who believe in such things he was regarded as the likely or certain first Basileus named Leblanc and was also my ancestor. My grandfather’s brother and his wife also reared the daughter
of Dudley Leblanc. This man was an exceptional entrepreneur, legislator, author and Acadian activist. Dudley is said in some circles to be the last Basileus named Leblanc. He also gave statues of St. Therese to numerous local Catholic churches. He was my cousin. Gammy and Paupau began to date before college.

She attended Louisiana State University with her siter and both became teachers in the public school system. This also set a bit of a family precedent. This is the largest school in the state famous in sports both as Louisiana State University and also LSU. This is the place where I got my Master of Arts degree. I attended as a holder of the Board of Regents Fellowship. It is the largest university in Louisiana, home of the Fighting Tigers or Bayou Bengals and has many claims to excellence. My sister graduated with a perfect academic average after matriculating for only three and a half years while she worked and during which time she was wed and gave birth to her first child. She was admitted as a National Merit Scholar Her husband to be went elsewhere. Just before their marriage Paupau was in New Orleans. He attended Tulane University The largest private (according to US definitions) university in Louisiana. Beverly’s father and uncle who were my great-grandfather and great- great uncle attended Tulane Medical School and graduated there. My grandfather and name sake he attended and graduated from Tulane Law School. He made Moot Court honors and later became the Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. Beverly, or Gammie, was active in the Tulane community later on and my father and two of his three younger brothers completed Tulane Law School. I have several cousins with a variety of Tulane degrees. I enrolled at Tulane Law School twice and never graduated. With some exceptions my relationship with the university could be described as more than half-hostile but regretfully so. My grandfather had attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute for undergraduate studies. This is now the University of Louisiana, was the University of Southwestern Louisiana when I graduated. It was and still is the Universite des Acadiens. I was Outstanding Graduate of my class. One of a few universities with a Francophone studies program, there are centers for Louisiana and Acadian studies, programs in wetlands management and eco-tourism and some solid advanced technology programs. I and one brother and one sister graduated from there with Latin honors — I the lowest of these purely academic honors among my siblings. I have another brother who attended there with graduating just below the latin honors. Justice Frank Wynerth Summers and Dudley Leblanc of this note were also alumni. My mother also earned her bachleor’s degree here starting before me and finishing after me.

Gammie was nicknamed Codrie for Cocodrie or crocodile. While Legarte is the correct word for alligator in french here we have often used cocodrie. This was a hurtful name based on the jagged teeth she had as a child. She adopted much gatorlike toughness and agression which lurked between the smooth waters of her manners, good English, hospitailty and learning. Gammie was a very complex person. She led many elite social gtoups in New Orleans, raveled extensively, read voraciously and was engaged in countless projects but really was proud to be of the leisured class. She had ambivalent feelings and opinions about her Acadian, British, Hebrew and French forebears. She was very patriotic and yet could be very critical of America and Americans.

Her children are Frank Wynerth Summers II, Preston Miller Summers, Susan Priscilla Summers, Clay James Summers, the late Willam Charles Summers and Beverly Marie Summers (Mrs. Carl Tasso Smith III) who is known to many as Missi Summers Smith. Her sister is Lottie Lucia Miller Massie and her brother was Preston Joseph Miller Junior. My grandmother, Beverly Miller Summers was exceptionaly old even by today’s standards. While she was younger than my great-grandmother on my mother’s side who was over one hundred years old when she died she was still very old in her mid-nineties. It is impossible to do justice here to all the grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other realtives who will miss her. She and I had largely passed out of each other’s loves before she died although we did not have an acrimonious relationship.

Gammie Dies: A recopied Facebook Status

My paternal grandmother, Beverly Marie Summers formerly Miller, Mrs. Frank Wynerth Summers– Widow of the Late Louisiana Chief Justice Frank Wynerth Summers and native of Abbeville, Louisiana has just died. I am told that my father Frank W. Summer II was holding her hand as she died in the Abbeville General Hospital Emergency Room. She is survived by five of her six children and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. I am th oldest granchild. She is also survived by her sister and the descendants of her sister and brother. We had been very close at one time and had drifted apart in recent years. I was blessed to see her yesterday…