David Voelker

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David Ransdell Voelker
New Orleans businessman David R. Voelker.jpg
Born(1953-05-13)May 13, 1953
DiedMay 21, 2013(2013-05-21) (aged 60)
Cleveland, Ohio
Cause of deathPulmonary disease
Failed lung transplant surgery
Political partyRepublican donor to Barack H. Obama
Parent(s)Frank Voelker, Jr. U.S. Senator Joseph E. Ransdell (great-great uncle)

David Ransdell Voelker (May 13, 1953 – May 21, 2013) was an entrepreneur and community leader in his adopted city of New Orleans, Louisiana.


David Ransdell Voelker was born in Lake Providence in East Carroll Parish in far northeastern Louisiana, to the attorney Frank Voelker, Jr., and the former Virginia Wilson (1921–2011), a native of Weston, West Virginia.[1] His middle name comes from the surname of his great-great-uncle, U.S. Senator Joseph E. Ransdell of Alexandria, Louisiana, and later Lake Providence, whose political career was ended in 1931 in electoral defeat by Huey Pierce Long, Jr.[2]

David Voelker's great-grandfather, Francis Xavier Ransdell, was Joseph Ransdell's younger brother; Francis Ransdell and Frank Voelker, Sr., David Voelker's paternal grandfather, served consecutively as judge of the 6th Judicial District. Frank Voelker, Sr., was married to Isabel, a daughter of Francis X. and Katie D. Ransdell. David's father, Frank Voelker, Jr., was the former city attorney in Lake Providence and the chairman of the since defunct Louisiana Sovereignty Commission under Governor Jimmie Davis. Frank Voelker, Jr. ran for governor of Louisiana in the 1963 Democratic primary election but withdrew and victory went to John McKeithen.[3]


David Voelker was a partner and chief executive officer at Voelker and Conway Investments. In 1993, he had co-founded the former Frantzen-Voelker Investments. Following Hurricane Katrina, Democratic Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco named him to the Louisiana Recovery Authority. Blanco's successor and past opponent, Republican Bobby Jindal, elevated Voelker as chairman of the authority.[4] In 2008, though he had been identified previously as a "longtime, diehard Republican", David Voelker was the largest donor in Louisiana to Democrat Barack H. Obama of Illinois, having given the then neophyte presidential candidate $80,000, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C.[5]

Voelker was the founder and president of Legacy Donor Foundation at 1440 Canal Street, which assists patients in need of organ transplants,[1] and the Greater New Orleans Miracle League, which organizes disabled children who wish to play baseball. Voelker got the idea for the Miracle League after he viewed a television report about the organization as founded in Conyers, Georgia.[6] He was a contributor and fundraiser for the Roman Catholic Academy of the Sacred Heart, Children's Hospital of New Orleans, Xavier University of Louisiana, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, the foundation of the University of New Orleans, and the National World War II Museum located in Downtown New Orleans.[1] He was also a donor to the Good Shepherd Early Childhood Development Center, an early elementary Montessori school established by his mother in Lake Providence.[7]

Death at 60[edit]

Stricken with pulmonary disease, Voelker died at the age of sixty in Cleveland, Ohio, from complications of lung transplant surgery. He was survived by his second wife, Richelle Beaugh Crow Voelker, formerly of Minden, Louisiana; three daughters from the first marriage to Ann Donnelly Steuart, Mullady, Audrey, and Kitty Voelker; two stepchildren, and five siblings.[1] Daughters Mullady and Kitty Voelker are named for their paternal aunts, Mullady Voelker Crigler of Monroe, Louisiana, and Kitty V. Mattesky of New Orleans. David Voelker's three other siblings are Dr. Frank Voelker, III, of Franklinton in Washington Parish and Mary V. Clauss and George W. Voelker, both of New Orleans.[7]

Services were held on May 25 at the Academy of the Sacred Heart at 4521 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. His obituary mentions a private burial and does not name a cemetery.[1] His parents are interred at Lake Providence Cemetery.


  1. ^ a b c d e "David Ransdell Voelker". New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 23, 2013. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  2. ^ "Joseph E. Ransdell". bioguide.congress.gov. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  3. ^ "East Carroll Parish, Louisiana, Genealogy, August 24, 2010". eastcarrollparishlouisianagenealogy.blogspot.com. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  4. ^ "David Voelker, 'one of the great saints of the recovery,' dies at 60". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Archived from the original on October 2, 2013. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  5. ^ "Story Archives: Obama's Louisiana Donors' Reasons Varied". lanewslink.com. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  6. ^ "Sheila Stroup, "Miracle League gives kids with special needs a turn at bat," May 15, 2012". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Virginia Wilson Voelker". obit.funeralnet.com. Retrieved May 31, 2013.