Archive for the ‘Lousiana’ Category

Danny W. Higdon (Ed.D ’72)

Dr. Danny W. Higdon Obituary

He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years Mary Crawford Higdon of Cookeville; his children Brian Higdon (Kimberly) of Nashville, Paul Higdon (Susan) of Franklin, and Rhonda Higdon England of Cookeville; grandchildren Lindsey Higdon of Franklin, Chelsey Higdon of Mexico Beach, Florida, Thomas Higdon of Franklin and Wade and Jack England of Cookeville. He is preceded in death by his parents and sisters: Kathleen Pittman, Virginia Stovall, Robbie Magliocca, and his brother Emmitt Higdon Jr. He is survived by one brother Gene Higdon (Bella) of Murfreesboro, numerous nieces and nephews, and by his large, extended family in Lake Charles, Louisiana.Danny was born February 9, 1937 in Tioga, Louisiana to Mary Lucretia Daffan and Emmitt DeWitt Higdon Sr. Danny graduated from Bolton High School in Alexandria, Louisiana in 1955 and from Northwestern State College in Natchitoches Louisiana in 1959. He immediately enlisted in the Army Security Agency. He served as a Morse code interceptor from 1959-1962 while stationed in Okinawa. He cherished his time in the service and established many lifelong friends. After an honorable discharge from the Service, he worked several years for Conoco Oil as an offshore roustabout in the Gulf of Mexico.His lifelong passion for teaching began when he taught at Hackberry High School in Cameron Parrish while earning his master’s degree from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA. He then attended the University of Houston where he earned his Doctor of Education degree in 1973. While obtaining his doctorate, he co-founded and served as the first headmaster at West Briar Private Elementary School.In 1973, Danny moved his family to Cookeville where he was a professor of Education at Tennessee Tech University for 27 years, retiring as the Department Head of Curriculum and Instruction. He loved his time at Tech and made many special and lasting relationships with both students and teachers alike. Danny taught by example and was a mentor to many school teachers and administrators in the Upper Cumberland Area.Danny was devoted to his family and he loved his many years coaching his children’s football, basketball, softball and baseball teams. After his family, his passions included constructing residential homes with his two sons, flying and piloting his airplane, and serving as a Putnam County Commissioner. Danny always enjoyed talking to people and finding out more about them. He was so proud of his children and his grandchildren and held a special place in his heart for his childhood friends, high school and college classmates, his army buddies, his co-workers at TTU, and many of the teachers in Putnam County. Danny was beloved as a husband, father, and grandfather, and he will be greatly missed.A memorial service will be announced at a future date. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the charity of your choice

Robert D. LeBoeuf (PHD ’82)

Robert Dellino LeBoeuf died on April 2, 2019, at home in Broken Bow, Okla., at the age of 68 years. He passed away peacefully after a prolonged illness, in the loving arms of his wife of 19 years and 2 days. Bob was born the first son to Hermylee and Andrew LeBoeuf in Lake Charles, La., on March 12, 1951. He was Coonass to the core and called the bayous of Creole his home, where hunting and fishing were his passions. He was preceeded in death by his parents, Hermylee and Andrew LeBoeuf, his grandparents Oliver and Estelle LeBoeuf and Robert and Curry Doxey, and a dear uncle Dallas LeBoeuf. He is survived and forever cherished by his wife of 19 years, Mary, brother from another mother, Paul Hanks, dear cousins Robert J. LeBoeuf, Betty Walters, Cathy Nunez, and Leslie Griffith among others. He is also survived by a virtual army of friends who are too numerous to name.
Bob was a great man, a wonderful husband and true friend to many. He was described by one of his college professors as a man who could see around corners. So, it was obvious to even those who educated him, that he would go beyond the well trodden path. He surpassed what could be taught by text books and universities in his pursuits, not of profit, but of the truth. He had the quiet confidence that let those who would listen know that their life was about to change in very powerful and completely truthful ways. To those who choose to not listen, he would leave them in the dust of their own ignorant confusion. In his years in academics, he said that he felt that he was running against the wind. But in fact, Bob was the wind – easing you along when he had your back, but hurricane force if he was against you.
It seems the only thing that could possibly take Bob down would be cancer. He took a part in conquering it, by discovering a tumor suppressor gene. It seems that cancer retaliated first by trying to take his manhood with aggressive prostsate cancer. When it failed, cancer took the very soul of the man by taking his speech and his intellect. Then we watched these past few months, as he slowly passed like the devastating regression after the tsunami wave that was brain cancer. We can only hope and pray that his cancer research of the past may, like a buried land mine, hit the target in the end.
In lieu of floweres or gifts, please send donations St. Jude or Shriners Childrens Hospitals.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by American Press on Apr. 14, 2019.

James M. Felsman (’50)

James M. (Jim) Felsman passed away peacefully on March 29, 2021 surrounded by his immediate family at Westminster Village where he was a resident. He was 5 days away from his 94th birthday. During the past 7 months that he struggled with several medical issues, he liked to say, he might give out, but he’d never give up. Jim was born in Ponca City, OK on April 3, 1927. His family migrated to East Texas where he was raised and graduated from New London High School in 1944. He quickly joined the Navy at age seventeen to help with the war effort and was deployed with the Seabees in the South Pacific Ocean. When the war ended, he attended college and graduated from the University of Houston. In 1956, he was hired by Humble Oil Company (now ExxonMobil). Later that year, he met his bride to be, Lois “Honey” Olmstead in Longview, TX. They married that year and were transferred to Grand Isle, LA before an assignment in Hattiesburg, MS. From there, they moved to New Orleans, LA in 1963 where he retired from ExxonMobil in 1986. In 2001, they relocated to Daphne, AL. Jim had a great love of family and life. He and Lois loved to drive, and the family spent countless hours on the road visiting family around the country and seeing the sites. As a member of Christ the King Catholic Church, he was active with the Vocations Ministry and was a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus. He loved the Mass, and even when unable to attend in person, would live-stream the Masses every day. His hobbies included tennis, fishing, golf and later, calling Bingo at Westminster Village. He is preceded by his loving wife of 62 years, Lois (Honey) Felsman, his parents, Aldrich and Clara Felsman and brother Robert Felsman. He is survived by his sister Janet (Jack) Puryear, son Marty (Phyllis) Felsman, Jr. and daughter Margaret Ann (Charles) Anders. He will also be dearly missed by his grandchildren, Brian Bankston, Rebecca (Lindsay) Dozier, Keith Felsman, Amy (Cody) Brown and two great grandchildren, Madison and Emma Bankston. In addition to scores of nieces, nephews and his extended “Grand Isle” family, he will be missed on the golf course. Services will be held at Christ the King Catholic Church in Daphne, AL on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Visitation will begin at 10:00 followed by funeral Mass at 11:00. Interment will be at Belforest Catholic Cemetery in Daphne. His family would also like to thank the staff and caregivers at Thomas Hospital, notably, Colony Rehabilitation, as well as the staff and residents of Westminster Village. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be offered at Christ the King Catholic Church Vocation Ministry, 711 College Ave., Daphne, AL 36526.

Joanne C. Pertuis (’57)

Jo Anne Centanni Pertuis died peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. JoAnne was 86, a native and lifelong resident of Kenner, LA. JoAnne received a Bachelor of Science in Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management from the University of Houston in 1956; Teachers’ Certification in Elementary Education from Tulane University in 1967; Masters Degree in Education from Nicholls State College in 1970 and went on to receive her plus 30 hours. JoAnne worked in the St. Charles Parish Public School System as an elementary teacher and principal and served on numerous state boards and committees. JoAnne was a retired principal at St. Rose Primary School; a member of the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association, Louisiana AARP, and the St. Charles Parish Retired Teachers Association; and a parishioner of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. For 49 years JoAnne was the beloved wife of the late Alton John Pertuis. Loving mother of Andre Joseph Pertuis (Debbie), Suzette Marie Pertuis DiGiovanni (Joseph) and Paulette Ann Pertuis Millet (Richard). Grandmother of Lauren Anne Pertuis and Paige Marie Pertuis Stahl (Rudolph). Great grandmother of Rudolph Frederick Stahl, Jr., Paige Diane Stahl, Landen Joseph Pertuis and Aubrey Mae Stahl. Daughter of the late Ione Agnes Fourroux and Joseph John Centanni. Sister of Christian Paul Centanni (Linda). Granddaughter of the late Julia Jumonville Fourroux and Paul Adam Fourroux and Maria Mary Centanni and Castrenze Centanni. JoAnne lived at Christwood in the assisted living wing for 1 years and enjoyed the many friends made there. JoAnne was an inspiration to all whose lives she touched and will be greatly missed by all who knew her and will remain Forever in Our Hearts. Loved by many nieces, nephews, cousins and other family and friends. Many thanks to the staff at Christwood, the caring staff at Hospice of St. Tammany and all who helped in taking care of her.

A private service was held at L. A. Muhleisen and Son Funeral Home, 2607 Williams Blvd., Kenner on Saturday, October 24, 2020 followed by interment in Jefferson Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

To share memories or condolences, please visit

Gwendolyn M. Traylor (Ed.D. ’97)

Dr. Gwendolyn Marie Effler Traylor, surrounded by her loving family, passed from this life into the welcoming arms of Almighty God on Sunday, November 29, 2020. Gwen was born in Hammond, Louisiana on December 11, 1949, and died on November 29, 2020. She was preceded in death by her father, Thomas Battice Effler and an infant brother. Left to celebrate her life are her mother, Elois Hoover Effler of Hammond, her husband, Dr. Ronald Traylor of Hammond, her son Patrick Traylor and his wife Ronna of Alexandria, Virginia, her daughter Alexandra Kopecky and her husband Trevor of Owasso, Oklahoma, her daughter Amber Holloway and her husband David of Madisonville, Louisiana, her sister Gail Braymer and her husband Doug of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and her brother Charles Effler of Hammond. Gwen loved her grandchildren LCpl Nathan Kopecky, USMC, Grace Kopecky, Benjamin Traylor, Travis Holloway, and Elijah Holloway, as well as her numerous nieces and nephews. Dr. Traylor received her early education in the public schools of Ponchatoula, Louisiana. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Southeastern Louisiana University, her Master’s degree in Education Supervision from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and her Doctor’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. During her career, she taught in the public schools of Holden, Louisiana and Dayton, Texas. She taught at the university level at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas and at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana, from which she retired. She was an active member in Texas and Louisiana of Delta Kappa Gamma, an organization for outstanding women educators. At the time of her death, she was the First Vice President for Delta Kappa Gamma for the state of Louisiana. Only her love of Jesus exceeded her love for her family and her students. Through the years she served the Lord in various churches in Texas and Louisiana. She sang in the choir, played the piano beautifully, and taught Sunday School, especially with the younger children. She consistently and without fail offered an example of the true Christian woman. A service is planned for Dr. Traylor on Thursday, December 3, 2020, at Trinity Baptist Church with visitation at 9:30 a.m. The memorial service, led by Revs. Joe Dunn, Eric Hattaway, and Avery Dixon will begin at 11:00 a.m. The family would encourage participation in the service by live stream at In lieu of flowers, which fade and wither, the family requests that friends donate to the Delta Kappa Gamma Literacy Fund, in care of Linda Vacarro, 236 Cypress Street, Independence, Louisiana 70443.

Odis F. Newsom (’82)

Frank Newsom was born in 1951 to Laverne and Odis Newsom in Newport, Rhode Island and was the eldest of 5 brothers. Due to his father’s service in the U.S. Navy, the Newsom family traveled around the country during much of his youth where Frank gained his fond memories of growing up in small town America. They later moved to Hitchcock, Texas where he attended Hitchcock High School, graduating as Salutatorian and Class President in 1970. Frank then attended the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. It was there that he met the love of his life, his late wife Kathy. As an active member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at U of H, he and Kathy had a large circle of friends. In his professional career, Frank established a huge network of colleagues in the oil and gas as industry. He traveled extensively on business in the U.S., Canada, the Middle East and West Africa. During his 46 year career, Frank worked as a Squad Boss, Project Engineer and Project Manager on major oil and gas construction and commissioning projects for Brown & Root, Earl & Wright, Fluor Engineering, Marine Pipeline Contractors (MPC), MPC Pegasus, Universal Pegasus, Dark Horse Engineering, EXP and PERC Engineering. Frank was a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas and was regarded by his peers as savvy, skilled, pragmatic and invaluable to every team he worked with until his retirement in 2020. Frank was an avid sportsman who enjoyed the outdoors. He loved fishing, hunting, camping, clays shooting and most recently, spending time at Camp Newsom in Trinity County, TX. He enjoyed traveling on many vacations with his wife Kathy, her family members and Kristen to locations in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Frank particularly enjoyed their many snow skiing vacations and the yearly holiday family gatherings at the St. Joseph Abbey Camp. Frank was instrumental in creating amazing props and beautiful set pieces for Houston Repertoire Ballet, which he also served as President of the HRB advisory board for 6 years. He was a regular volunteer at Tomball High School for the Tomball Stage, mentoring students and young adults with his superb woodworking and stagecraft skills. Frank possessed a magnetic personality and his laid back style made him very easy to befriend in social situations. Those who knew Frank found him to be kind, generous, humble and forgiving. Those who sought his counsel were provided with sound advice. He was a father to the fatherless, a brother to the brotherless, and a friend to all who knew him. Frank was a truly remarkable man. Frank was preceded in death by his parents, Odis and Laverne and his wife Kathy. He is survived by daughter Kristen Newsom Thornton and her husband Dakota, four brothers, Kenny Newsom, Gordon Newsom and his wife Paula, Glen Newsom and his wife Suzanne, Eric Newsom and his wife Maddie, nieces Jennifer Gerald, Brittany Soto, nephews Spencer and Nicolas Newsom and four grand nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends of the family are invited to the funeral services on Saturday October 3rd @ 3:00 pm at E.J. Fielding Funeral Home 2260 W. 21st Ave. Covington, LA 70433. Visitation will be held from 1:00 pm until service time. Interment in St. Joseph Abbey Cemetery, 75376 River Rd. St. Benedict, LA. His family will host a reception after the funeral from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at: Abita Roasting Company 504 Water Street Madisonville, LA 70447. In lieu of flowers and gifts you can make a donation to either of Frank’s favorite organizations. Saint Joseph Abbey & Seminary College Sky High for Kids Share a memory on the tribute wall at

Dwayne Yeager

Dr. Dwayne Yeager, a University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO) alumnus and a beloved longtime preceptor, died June 22, 2020. He was 64.

He earned his Doctor of Optometry degree from UHCO in 1986, graduating in the top 10% of his class, and started practicing in West Monroe, Louisiana the same year. His business, Ouachita Eye Care, was a popular externship site for fourth-year optometry students.

“Dwayne was a proud University of Houston College of Optometry alumnus and—for more than ten years—an outstanding adjunct Associate Clinical Professor,” said Ralph Herring, assistant dean for professional studies and director of external education at UHCO.

“He mentored over three dozen students in their final year of clinical training. Literally every one of these students praised Dwayne’s outstanding teaching and mentorship,” Herring added. “I hope his family take comfort in how many optometry careers got off to a great start because of his passion and devotion.”

For more information and details about final services, please visit:

Dr. Dwayne Yeager

February 6, 1956 – June 22, 2020


Fair Park Baptist Church

West Monroe, LA 71291

396-6306 |

Thursday 6/25, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm


Fair Park Baptist Church

West Monroe, LA 71291

396-6306 |

Friday 6/26, 10:00 am


Hasley Cemetery

West Monroe, LA 71291

Friday 6/26

Dr. Dwayne Yeager was born February 6, 1956 and went to his heavenly home to be with his Savior on June 22, 2020.  A Celebration of Life will be Friday, June 26, 2020 at 10:00 am at Fair Park Baptist Church in West Monroe with his pastor and friend, Waymond Warren officiating, along with Darris Waren. Interment to follow at Hasley Cemetery in West Monroe.  Visitation will be Thursday, June 25 from 5:00–7:00 pm at Fair Park Baptist Church.  Services are under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Homes.

Dr. Yeager was born in Monroe, Louisiana and was a Cum Laude Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology from Northeast Louisiana University.  He was an honor graduate of Saint Francis School of Radiologic Technology. In 1986 he received his Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Houston where he graduated in the top ten percent of his class. He earned Fellowship into the American Academy of Optometry in 1989. He was a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry and was awarded membership in the following organizations: American Optometric Association Contact Lens Section, Who’s Who in American Executives and Professionals, Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, Beta Sigma Kappa Honor Fraternity, Harold C. Khon Research Award, and Gold Key International Society. Dr. Yeager was an adjunct associate professor at the University of Houston and past president of the Optometry Association of Louisiana. He has lectured nationwide on various optometric subjects from specialty contact lenses to vision nutrition. He has been in practice in West Monroe since 1986.

Dwayne was a devoted husband, father and grandfather who loved his family with his whole heart. He and Beth did everything together; work, church, shopping and travel, they seldom left the other’s side. They have been a Godly example and help to many young couples through the years.

As much as Dwayne loved his work and his family, he loved his Lord even more and is rejoicing now at the feet of his Savior. Dwayne has been a faithful member and servant at Fair Park Baptist Church for over 33 years. He was a long-time deacon, past Sunday School teacher, AV team member and he served on committees too numerous to list. Dwayne loved serving and worshiping with his Fair Park family.

Dwayne not only served his church, but he also served in his community through the City of West Monroe Planning Commission serving for almost 20 years. His yard is evidence of his love for gardening and his office walls display his enjoyment of photography. Dwayne never played a musical instrument, but he loved music as much as any musician. He enjoyed all genres, but his favorite…Rush.

Dwayne was preceded in death by his parents, Keith & Helen Yeager and his brother, Lamar.

He is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 44 years, Beth, and their three sons, Chris (Neki), Adam (Heather) and Ryan (Emily.)  Grandchildren: Zachary, Addison, Sawyer, Reagan, Cadence and a new baby girl coming in November. Dwayne is also survived by special long-time friend, Doris Thompson.

Serving as pallbearers will be Timothy Alsup, Jacob Knight, Brent May, Dale Mercer, Darris Waren and Donnie Williams.

Honorary pallbearers will be Fair Park Deacons, AV & Worship Team, Ron Nix and Richard Randels.

Memorials may be made to the Fair Park Baptist Church ProVision Building Fund.

Online condolence messages may be at

Lee C. Estabrook (’58)

Lee Carr Estabrook was born on September 30, 1934, in Houston, Texas and passed to be with our Lord on May 5, 2020, at The Blake of Bossier City Assisted Living, Bossier City, LA.

He is preceded in death by his wife, JoAnn Estabrook, father, Lee C. Montgomery, mother, Harriette Estabrook and stepfather, Ray Estabrook.

Lee was an only child and grew up in Houston where he graduated from San Jacinto High School. He attended University of Houston and received a bachelor?s degree in Industrial Engineering. Later, he received a PhD from Pacific University in California. He was employed with Morton Thiokol for over 30 years, retired and started Estabrook and Association, an engineering consulting firm. He was Man of the Year with the Minden Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the NRA banquet for many years, Boy Scout leader and supporter, antique gun collector, hunter, fisherman, and a wealth of information for anyone who would listen.

In November 1957, he married JoAnn Rawls Estabrook. They lived in Houston, San Antonio, and Marshall, Texas; Mobile, Alabama; and Minden, Louisiana. They both loved to travel and travelled all over the world from China, Hong Kong, Germany, France, England, Ireland, Amsterdam, Denmark, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary, Mexico, Brazil and the continental United States.

Lee was active in St. John?s Episcopal Church, Scottish Society, Boy Scouts of America, various Engineering Societies, and last, but not least, the infamous Minden Monday Night Football Group.

We would like to give a special thank you to The Blake of Bossier City, Professional Sitters Services, Southern Hospice, Dr. Scott McRight, and Dr. Dan Moller for their care and assistance with our father.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration of life memorial service will be held sometime this summer. In lieu of flowers, Lee?s charities of choice for donations are NRA, Remington Society, Minden Lions Club #3845, and St. John?s Episcopal Church.

Ronald Gural (’61)

UH alumnus, Ron Gural is the co-founder of the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane. He wrote the script for HIGGINS:THE MAN, THE BOAT, THE WAR about Andrew Jackson Higgins, inventor and builder of the famed World War 2 landing craft, the “Higgins boat”. The play premiered at the Stage Door Canteen at the National World War II Museum in October and will be remounted for performance at the museum during the anniversary of D-Day in 2021. More… 

Mr. Stephen Rose (’78)

Stephen Rose passed away suddenly at the age of 66 on Sunday, January 26, 2020. He was a native of Houston, Texas and a resident of Mandeville, Louisiana. Steve was the rock of our family. He had a very dry sense of humor. He adored his entire family, as that love was reflected back to him. He was Diane’s cute neighbor who walked his dog, Bud, and that was the beginning of their story. They spent twenty cherished years together. He was an avid baseball fan with a special place in his heart for the Houston Astros. For the past several years, he attended the Astros spring training in Florida. He was an eternal student, always eager to expand his knowledge. Steve was the kind of man anyone could go to for advise, wisdom, and perspective. He was a man of the upmost integrity, who inspired those around him to live their life the right way. He was a proud student of Bellaire High Houston, University of Texas and University of Houston Law School. He spent many years thriving as a labor law attorney. He enjoyed his retirement for the last several years exploring his passions of politics, health, and sports. He is remembered by friends and family, as a brilliant student in any endeavor in which he chose to participate. Loving husband of Diane Loria Rose. Caring father of James Allen Brown, Jr. and Caroline Ott Brown. Son of the late Meyer and Francis Rose, and Mickey Rothstein Rose. Brother of Drs. Miriam and Robert Friedman of Bellaire, Texas, Dr. Elliott and Susan Rose of Scarsdale, New York, Herb and Jill Kalman of Houston, Texas, Dr. Joel Rose and Arlene Adler of New York, New York, and the late Phillip Rose. Also survived by manyloving nieces and nephews. Steve’s mother, Mickey, passed away when he was only two months old, leaving Meyer, Elliott and Phillip. His father married Francis Kalman, who had two children Miriam and Herbie. They were raised as one united, loving family and soon welcomed Joe. A true yours, mine and ours family. Relatives and friends are invited to attend the graveside service on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at PinecrestMemorial Gardens, 2280 W. 21st Avenue Covington, LA 70433. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the NorthshoreJewish Congregation, 1403 N. Causeway Blvd. Mandeville, La 70471. To share memories and condolences please visit,