Lorris M. Wimberly

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Lorris May Wimberly, Sr.
Louisiana State Representative from Arcadia (Bienville Parish)
In office
1928 – 1940
1948-July 10, 1956
Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives
In office
1936 – 1940
1950-1952
May 14, 1956 - July 10, 1956
Director, Louisiana Department of Public Works
In office
1956–1960
Succeeded by Claude Kirkpatrick
Personal details
Born (1898-03-04)March 4, 1898
Arcadia, Bienville Parish, Louisiana, USA
Died May 2, 1962(1962-05-02) (aged 64)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) (1) Jessie Faye Sherard Wimberly (1899-1934)

(2) Dorothy Knox Wimberly (married 1936-1962, his death)

Children Faye Wimberly Mary (born 1921, first marriage)
Lorris M. Wimberly, Jr. (born 1946, second marriage)
Parents Rush Wimberly and Annie May Poland Wimberly
Occupation Businessman, Cattleman; Farmer
Religion Methodist
(1) Wimberly served three nonconsecutive stints as Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives under Governors Richard Leche and Earl Kemp Long.

(2) Wimberly's last political position was as the appointed Louisiana director of public works from 1956-1960.

Lorris May Wimberly, Sr. (March 4, 1898 — May 2, 1962), was a Democratic[1] member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1928–1940 and again from 1948-1956. A native and resident of Arcadia, the seat of Bienville Parish in north Louisiana, Wimberly was House Speaker from 1936–1940, 1950–1952, and from May 14 to July 10, 1956.[2]

Wimberly was also the state highway department director during the 1940s and headed the Department of Public Works from 1956 to 1960. He was a member of the powerful Long political faction which dominated the state during most of Wimberly's public career.

Background[edit]

Wimberly was the oldest of three children born to Joseph Rush Wimberly, I (1873–1943), an attorney, and the former Annie May Poland (1877–1960). His siblings were J. Rush Wimberly, Jr. (1906–1982), also an attorney, and Edrie W. Albrecht (1902-1983), the wife of Henry Gustave Albrecht (1899-1945) of Arcadia. After a period of self study, Rush Wimberly was admitted to the bar in 1894. He served in the Louisiana House from 1900–1908 and the Louisiana State Senate from 1908–1912. He practiced for a time in Shreveport, and was thereafter for ten years the Bienville parish attorney and for several years the parish school superintendent.[3]

Like his father, Lorris Wimberly graduated from Arcadia High School, an entity of the Bienville Parish School Board. He made his living as a cattleman and farmer and was also affiliated with the former Daniel, Bryan, and Turner Insurance Agency in Arcadia. Lorris Wimberly was twice married. From his union to Jessie Faye Sherard (June 6, 1899 — July 25, 1934) was born a daughter, Faye Wimberly Mary (born 1921), the widow of Richard M. Mary, Sr. (born 1922), of Baton Rouge. After the death of his first wife, Wimberly in 1936 married the former Dorothy Knox (December 25, 1911 — November 1981) of Baton Rouge. From that union came Lorris M. Wimberly, Jr. (born 1946), a United Methodist minister. Wimberly had five grandchildren: Richard Mary, Jr. (born 1951) and Mary's four half-cousins, Lorris Knox Wimberly (born 1975), Marianna Grace Wimberly (born 1978), Shelley Dawn Wimberly (born 1980), and Wesley Paul Wimberly (born 1982), all of Baton Rouge.

Political activities[edit]

Wimberly supported state-funded textbooks, a plank in the original Huey Pierce Long, Jr., platform. The textbooks proposal was first advanced by the Longite John Sparks Patton of Claiborne Parish, adjacent to Bienville Parish, who was later a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission. Wimberly's first stint as Speaker occurred when Longite Speaker Allen J. Ellender of Houma, the seat of Terrebonne Parish in south Louisiana, was elected to the United States Senate. Wimberly served as the choice of Governor Richard Webster Leche of New Orleans (1936–1939), when Leche was forced to resign amid scandals known as the "Louisiana Hayride". From 1939-1940, Wimberly continued as Speaker under Governor Earl Kemp Long, who succeeded to the top position from the lieutenant governorship with the departure of Leche.

Long called Wimberly back as Speaker — in Louisiana, the governor chooses the House Speaker — in the middle of his second term in 1950. Governor Robert F. Kennon replaced Wimberly as Speaker in 1952 with his choice, conservative state Representative (and later lieutenant governor) Clarence C. "Taddy" Aycock of Franklin in St. Mary Parish in south Louisiana. Long recalled Wimberly as Speaker only briefly in 1956 before naming him to head public works.

Wimberly family tombstone at Arcadia Cemetery
Grave of Lorris M. Wimberly

Long and Wimberly supported Jimmie Davis for governor in the 1959 Democratic runoff election. Davis had north Louisiana roots, though he lived for years in Baton Rouge. He defeated then Mayor deLesseps Story Morrison, Sr., of New Orleans. Long had been an unsuccessful candidate in the 1959 primary for lieutenant governor, the post ultimately having gone to Aycock. Wimberly did not seek office that year, as he was completing his tenure at public works.

While he was in the House, Wimberly represented only Bienville Parish. Prior to 1968, all parishes had at least one seat in the legislature regardless of population. The last member to represent only Bienville Parish was Len Lacy of Castor, who served from 1964-1968.

Wimberly is interred beside his first wife at Arcadia Cemetery on Hazel Street (Louisiana State Highway 9) near the Bienville Parish Courthouse.

Wimberly was a cousin of D. C. Wimberly, a World War II prisoner of war and later an educator in Bienville and Webster parishes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Index to Politicians: Wilson-allen to Winfrey". politicalgraveyard.com. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Membership of the Louisiana House of Representatives". house.louisiana.gov. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Joseph Rush Wimberly, I". usgwarchives.net. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert L. Williams
State Representative from Bienville Parish

Lorris May Wimberly, Sr.
May 14, 1928– May 13, 1940

Succeeded by
E.C. Parker
Preceded by
G.C. Taylor
State Representative from Bienville Parish

Lorris May Wimberly, Sr.
May 10, 1948–July 10, 1956

Succeeded by
Fletcher S. Sutton
Political offices
Preceded by
Allen Joseph Ellender of Terrebonne Parish
Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives

Lorris May Wimberly, Sr., of Bienville Parish
May 11, 1936– May 13, 1940

Succeeded by
Ralph Norman Bauer of St. Mary Parish
Preceded by
Morris Lottinger, Sr., of Terrebonne Parish
Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives

Lorris May Wimberly, Sr., of Bienville Parish
August 5, 1950–May 12, 1952

Succeeded by
Clarence C. "Taddy" Aycock of St. Mary Parish
Preceded by
Clarence C. "Taddy" Aycock of St. Mary Parish
Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives

Lorris May Wimberly, Sr., of Bienville Parish
May 14, 1956– July 10, 1956

Succeeded by
Robert Joseph "Bob" Angelle of St. Martin Parish