Tag Archives: obituary

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.


Beverly Miller Summers, Paul Jordan and Twenty-Five Years

This is a very busy kind of blog. It includes in quotation format an entire Facebook note which would have been its own blog post if it had happened later but it came out in March of 2009 and the blog you are reading began in August of 2009. So I never transferred most earlier posts. I do not reproduce here the generous comments made by friends on Facebook. That not alone makes this a fairly long blog post and it is really long if one goes to all the links.   It will be full of links which bring up words and some images to remember the past. Though the truth is that I cannot remember everything in my past I do remember some things clearly enough. My grandmother Beverly Miller Summers died two years ago today. I still miss her although I had been excluded ever more from her life in the few years leading up to her demise. We were very close over my lifetime at various times of relatively long duration. I remember many things about her which are better captured in the video indirectly linked and the  blog obituary directly linked above in this paragraph. I am also adding an UPDATE in the form of this link to my mother’s blog’s tribute to my grandmother which she wrote the day after this post originally came out in my blog. You can see that story here.

It is also the birthday of my late half-brother Paul Nicholas Jordan. My mother has chosen in her blog post today to remember this man who was such a huge part of defining her life. She does not mention me much if at all but I laid him in the ground at his funeral and I was the last in the family to see him.  I also have marked his passing here in this blog. Part of that memory has been related to the other fact which is remembered here in today’s post. I mentioned Paul when I was mentioning things, people and events in my post marking twenty years since my college graduation. This is a very challenging time of the year for my personal memories.  These notes and blog posts about the past are always crowded and complex and not so many people have been drawn to read them as those bout more recent events. Next is the text of what I put in Facebook when Paul died. Below that I have a few more thoughts about my approaching 25th anniversary of graduation form the University where I did my undergraduate degree.

Death, Lies, Truth, Loneliness and Time

March 6, 2009 at 3:10pm

My half-brother Paul Nicolas Jordan’s ashes are on a table on a stage in the great room in the big house at Big Woods. That is the house where I live and where I am writing this Facebook note. Last night we had a memorial service for him and I said the opening prayer. My mother asked me to do this with no warning or preliminary announcement and that is almost how Paul came into my life 17 years ago. I never knew she had given up a child for adoption until shortly before he became part of our lives. We ended the memorial service with a great meal and we all thought of how Paul loved to shop for food, loved to eat, loved to cook, loved to remember the restaurants where he worked and the ones he ran and owned with his ex-wife Patricia. Paul told lies, exagerated and colored stories a great deal. But because he was so well read, had so many experiences, knew so many people an honest person could seldom be sure what was an enhancement and what was the sober truth. Sometimes there seemed to be no rime or reason for when he stretched the truth and when he was painfully honest.

I told several people that I would never have predicted that I would be the last relative to see Paul alive and the first relative to know he was dead. I have more closure than I ever would have believed I would have. I long thought he would die without me having seen him for years. Many of our conversations over the years were strained and some were hostile. Almost all were telephonic.

Paul was baptized Catholic but many have told me that he was insistent that he not be buried Catholic. He left the church and much of his religion when his mother died of cancer and never came back. I have also been told by others that he claimed to have been molested by a priest as a child. I have heard these rumors for years and gave him the opportunity to talk about them but did not pry. Paul never discussed these things. Because Paul could be loose with the truth and often was there is a patina of doubt on all things related to him. But despite all this I have the feeling that his anguish over his mother’s death and the fact of his molestation were both real event s which caused him lasting pain. The both contributed in some way to his dying as an un-churched man who described himself to his last (non-relative) caregivers as a gay man who lucky to die in the home of a family who reminded him of the family he had had with his ex-wife. Both were made up of a divorced woman, a teenage older girl and younger boy. It was at there home that I saw Paul the last two time I saw him alive.PNj about the way he was when I met him.

PNj about the way he was when I met him.

During the memorial service I gave one of the longer eulogies. I talked about the way we had gotten along badly most of the years since our meeting but how in the nine months he had lived with us and in the months since then we had talked of faith, movies, books, movies, food, movies and the research in nonfiction writing. His ex-wife was not there, his former stepchildren were not there. The openly gay writers and artists he told stories of having been good friends were not there either. My relatively flamboyantly homosexual cousin who had once been his closest friend in our area was not there and neither were any of his gay friends who draw a line between being openly gay and being discreet which is different in small town Cajun country than any where else in the world. It was a mix of people who knew him in these last 18 months and relatives and friends of family. None of the three people who were with me at the Shandong Institutute of Business and Technology and in Yantai, China were my students in the two classes where I did some AIDS education as part of an American Civilization background for my English classes. But in those classes I mentioned Paul as having AIDS. I said I did consider him family although we were not close. Nonetheless, Lu Ting ting has been a comfort to me because I always find her conversation comforting even if it is electronic and she knew of Paul through conversation and through my mother’s book “Go! You are Sent…” which features Paul prominently. I think that life is always full of mystery. It usually includes a fair amount of pain if you are are one of the unfortunate 98% of the human race for whom that is true. It is more obvious that there is such pain and it features more directly in one’s consciousness if one is honest with one’s self, of course there is not such a high percentage of honest people as of suffering people. Paul Nicolas Jordan has just died.Paul and I were not very close and we were not connected in the ways which leave a wrenching emotional wound when someone passes beyond this life. In addition I am not prone to great emotional expression in death. But Paul’s death was still a very significant thing in my life. Paul died of AIDS and AIDS is one of the great realities of my generation and time.When I first met Paul he came from California, San Francisco in fact and my mother had predicted that he had AIDS when she told me that she was trying to find the son she had given up for adoption. Perhaps she had already found out by the time she told me that she was looking for him. Our relationship has not always been typified by full disclosure. Paul was married at the time to a divorced woman with two children but there were always suggestions around me that he had been living an openly homosexual lifestyle at some point. He never told me “I’m gay” or “I’m homosexual” till the day he died. However, an openly homosexual cousin of mine implied that he was gay. I gave Paul a copy of the book “And the Band Played On” which describes the early days of the AIDS epidemic. He described meeting the author at a party and we often discussed issues life Christian sexual morality, homosexuality, polygamy, marriage, AIDS, fertility and related topics during the months when we both lived in my parents’ house about a year ago. He talked about writers he had known in California as homosexual among other qualities but he did not tell me in any of those conversations that he was gay and I never asked. After his death someone told me that he had told his last caregiver that he felt lucky that as a gay man he was able to die in a home with a single mother, a daughter and a son just as he had lived with his ex wife at one of the best times of his life. That along with all the other evidence causes me to write about him as a homosexual from San Francisco who died of AIDS in his middle age. In a world full of misinformation it is still true that I did not know him all that well but I knew him as someone labeled differently than that grouping of characteristics which is so common in the minds of many writers and readers of various contemporary media.I barely know James Duggan but we have many mutual friends and went to the one of the same schools. He is on my Facebook friends list and is also an editor of a magazine that caters to a primarily homosexual clientele. I have never seen the magazine but I can guess that I would find some of it offensive and not in the stereotypical ways liberal assume of someone like me. But my experience with Paul has caused me to redefine the lines of what I see as reasonable efforts of homosexuals to organize around that specific mutual interest. Which is odd in a way because at some levels I do not have enough evidence to know that he was “gay”. One of the first old friends that I reconnected with when I joined Facebook as a college friend who became a priest after I last saw him and is now living an openly gay lifestyle. He also claims to be very active in AIDS awareness and prevention. I assume that is true. Paul was looking for something it always seemed to me. Looking for roots, an Acadian identity, a chance to shine in social situations. For most of the seventeen years or so that I knew him he was fairly hostile and held back almost all personal information. For years we had very bad phone conversations and then we had nothing for many years. We disliked eachother most of the time. The last few years have been different. I am glad to have known him although it seems horrible in a way to want to know someone while they were as sick as he was every day that I knew him. Paul was a very well read person and was very knowledgeable about popular culture. For a few months we had great conversations about that sort of thing.But we both knew that we were dealing with something in which the years for actually becoming close friends had already passed. One thing that cam very late in our relationship was an awareness by Paul that I really like the show Big Love on HBO, know a lot about the Creole mistresses of Louisiana planters and their families, stay abreast of details about Mormons prosecuted for polygamy, read books and other sources that discuss the relationships of Christian kings and upper aristocracy with multiple regular titled families throughout Christian history and know a lot about Old Testament polygamy. I was in a very monogamous marriage when we met and he came across as very judgmental about me not understanding loves not recognized by law he was judgmental without being open. However, at the end he began to suddenly sense that I had my own group of persecuted friends around the world for whom I was always feeling some empathy. He also noticed that I had quite a few overlapping relationships that seemed kind of honest even though I frequently live like a bitter and resentful monk of the most celibate kind.I have not found much to like in the modern Gay rights movement of which Paul knew a great deal. I do not think legalizing gay marriage while polygamy is illegal is anything other than obscene. However, I do hope for better justice than has ever existed before. I do hope not for a world with no rules but for a world with a variety of regimes and in which many of them offer good domestic possibilities for a variety of people with their own salvation to work out. Paul is dead now and I have been let off the hook.A long struggle to communicate with a sensitive soul who was hungry a better life than he found has ended. He offended me and caused me pain. But he also helped me to know and learn more. We shared some spiritual awareness. He has passed beyond my reach and I hope that he is at peace. I hope that my friends will work hard on their families, relationships, sense of justice and understanding of social order. I do no think we will see a golden age of social harmony with the right mix of privacy and honesty. I am pretty sure that we will not find that. But we could try.Paul’s life and death have left me with no pat answers but I am lucky to have reached a place where I can say with all honesty that I am glad I did not miss the chance to know him. I tried but for most of the time I knew him I could not have said I was really glad overall to have him in my life. I call him my half-brother but I mean it as a kind of brother. He was my brother and I will bear his memory with me wherever I go. PNj about the way he was when I met him.

PNj about the way he was when I met him.

Well, my life goes on for now and in many ways it is a full life. But shrinking and filled with bitter memories more than sweet with ever diminishing hope more than optimism. I do not think it was ever likely to be different but I did try and now in a certain very limited sense I still do try. I graduated as Outstanding Graduate 25 years ago this May. I have not wasted the last half century and there is some fruit. But there is much loss and frustration as well.    I am not sure how to feel about my own life which is going on since Gammie, Paul and many others including my cousin Severin W. Summers III have died. But I am inclined to think about these things since my graduation anniversary is so very near.

I was not an athlete who played for USL. I took two physical education classes and  besides some love-play with a few female students I did little in terms of physical recreation on campus. Swimming and soccer for PE were the heights of a pretty low structure I built there for myself. But I did go to some games and have gone to some others since then. I should save this to post another day but my days are highly unpredictable. The Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette are reigning Sun Belt Conference Football Champions with three consecutive victories in the New Orleans Bowl, reigning Sunbelt Conference Basketball Champions and have number of other athletes to watch this year, have had alumni Charles Tillman win the Walter Payton Award for NFL Man of the Year and now this: Baseball Powerhouse Play!

So things have changed at UL Lafayette since I graduated from USL which was its name twenty-five years ago. Of course Brandon Mitchell, Hollis Conway, Jake Delhomme, Brandon Stokely and many other formed part of our past glories. Some of them I have been fortunate enough to know. I think my own life has not turned out all that well. I am more drowning in self respect than in regret but it is an ugly, hardened and frustrated form of self-respect. The twenty-fifth will be bad and bleak and depressing like most of the anniversaries before. I could never complain enough to capture how badly I could feel if I let myself.

So I come to the end of this long note and another exercise in Nostalgia. I am busy and idle depending on how I choose to answer the questions about my life. Both sets of answers are based on facts. I remember a great deal with fond sadness. I also pray this Lent for hope, forgiveness and peace for me and for others. But I barely scratch the surface of things to remember and yet wish I felt more hopeful for the future.

The Passing of Beverly Miller Summers Videographed

This post is about the wake, funeral and burial video of my grandmother who died on March 27, 2012. It is part of her memorial in this blog.

I have been slacking off on posting for many reasons since this was first posted and videos are harder to find as the software finds me less active but the one you want is Gammie’s Paschal Passing and should be at the link below. as well as through the title. You can also drag the link below into your browser.


Also see the rest of the list.

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.

William Charles Summers Death Announcement

“My uncle William Charles Summers has died. Survived by his mother, 3 brothers, 2 sisters and my generation as well as by his wife Brenda his 2 stepdaughters and their husbands and children. Will was a musician, farmer, surfer, sailor, skipper, Bible reader, hunter, fisherman, horseman, outlaw and coach. His journey began and ended in the Catholic faith with deep spiritual searching elsewhere. May he rest in peace.” Such are the character limits on the status line in Facebook. However, shorter is possibly better here. I hope to do a longer post of both eulogy and complete obituary.

Will was the youngest of my father’s brothers. One of his sisters was also older and only one sister was younger. Will died the day they got the oil flow stopped in the gulf disaster for the first time since it started. I know that was something he cared about. Life was complicated for Will and Will could complicate it for others. He was a tall dark man with blue eyes and a whole lot of fight in him almost all his life. I will write some more about him later. I hope his passing is marked well in the meanwhile. I believe that Vincent’s Funeral Home in Abbeville, Louisiana will be handling the arrangements.