Sunset – Long-time public servant and, at one point, the longest-serving mayor in the United States, John Louis Olivier, 90, died peacefully in his sleep Saturday, February 29, 2020.
Visitation is scheduled at Sibille Funeral Home of Opelousas, 2309 George Dr., Opelousas, La., on Friday, March 6, from 4 to 9 p.m., a rosary at 6 p.m., and on Saturday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Funeral services to follow at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 74 Church St., Grand Coteau, La., on Saturday, March 7, at 11 a.m.
Mr. Olivier will be interred at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church Cemetery, 74 Church St., Grand Coteau, La, proudly wearing his Sunset-Tabasco community tie.
The Korean Conflict veteran and Sunset resident is preceded in death by wife Julie Ann Brinkhaus Olivier; his parents, Frank and Mary Tarlton Olivier; daughter, Miriam Julia Olivier; and sisters, Frances O. Bourgeois and Eloise O. Whipp. He is survived by his sons, John Tarlton “Jonty” Olivier and wife Terry of New Orleans and Francis “Frank” Olivier III of Sunset; daughters, Denise Olivier Daigle and husband Tommy of Lafayette and Yvonne Marie Olivier of Frozard; brother, Joseph Frozard Olivier of Florida; sister, Eleanor Ramier of Frozard; grandchildren, Jeffrey T. Olivier, Emily Olivier Kesler and husband Tyler, Kathryn Daigle Schuler and husband Kyle, John J. Daigle, Francis A. “Franco” Olivier, IV and wife Molly, Alexandra M. Olivier, Quentin A. Olivier, and Armand F. Olivier; and great-grandchildren, Olivia Kesler, Dash Olivier and John “Jack Jack” Olivier.
Pallbearers will be Jeffrey T. Olivier, John J. Daigle, Armand F. Olivier, Francis A. “Franco” Olivier IV, Quentin A. Olivier, Francis A. Olivier III, and John Tarlton Olivier. Honorary pallbearers will be Malcom Miller, Ricky Bourgeois, Charles Olivier, Joseph Frozard Olivier, Francis “Feno” Horaist, Virgil “Frère” Bernard, and Tommy Daigle.
Special thanks to his caregivers Reggie, Lori, Nelda, Erma, Emily, staff at J. Michael Morrow Memorial Nursing Home, and the late Edward “Poka” Thomas.
Olivier was elected as the mayor of Sunset when he was 27 in June 1958, and served until 2002. Fluent in English and French, he served as one of the few bilingual lawyers in all of Acadiana. As mayor, he oversaw the 1983 twinning of Sunset and St. Paul en Cornillon, France and another in 1996 with Nassogne, Belgium. With his wife Julie, he spearheaded and funded the Sunset Community Library, later to become the South St. Landry Community Library. While in office, his focus was building the town’s infrastructure at a time when it had only around 500 residents. He oversaw the construction of the city’s sewer system, helped grow its police department and led the charge to erect the town’s first fire station—all while working as a lawyer in town beginning in 1955.
Olivier exemplified that commitment to community service all of his life. Among many roles, he was a member of the American Legion, Sertoma Club, Musket Club, Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, Les Bons Amis French Club, and Acadienne French Club; board of directors for St. Landry Parish Council on Aging, Bank of Sunset, and Louisiana Municipal Association (LMA), an Eagle Scout and Troop 37 leader; licensed auctioneer; charter member of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL); chairman of the Louisiana Advisory Board for the Automobile Association (AAA) and the Acadiana Steering Committee; advisory board member for Loyola University and the Academy of the Sacred Heart; executive board of the Louisiana Municipal Gas Authority; legal advisor for St. Ignatius School Board; member of the House of Delegates of the Louisiana State Bar Association, representing the 27th Judicial District Court of St. Landry Parish; served on the LSBA Negligence Committee; president of the St. Landry Parish Bar Association. He represented President Jimmy Carter at the First Conference of Mayors of the Nation of Morocco. He served on active duty during the Korean Conflict as a Lieutenant on the USS Redhead and USS Thompson. He continued his service in the Reserves for 26 years as Commander of the Lafayette Unit before he retired as ranked Commander.
His love of travel abroad included trips to France, Belgium, Russia, Austria, Israel, Morocco, Thailand, China, as well as throughout the United States. Mr. Olivier looked forward to his yearly hunting trips with his friends, for white winged doves and ducks in Reynosa, Mexico, Lake Guerrero, Mexico and Roanoke, Louisiana. He maintained friends from his college years, military service, law practice, civic and social organizations, to those he met while traveling who often came to Sunset to visit.
Mr. Olivier was homeschooled until 3rd grade when he attended St. Ignatius School in Grand Coteau. He was the valedictorian of his graduating class at Sunset High School, a graduate of Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, and earned a Juris Doctorate from Loyola University of New Orleans, School of Law and began his practice in Sunset in 1955.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Jesuit Spirituality Center, School and Schools of the Sacred Heart, and St. Ignatius School in Grand Coteau, La.
Words of comfort may be shared with the family at www.sibillefuneralhomes.com.
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