Walter Lee (Louisiana politician)

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Walter L. Lee, Sr.
Walter L. Lee, Sr., of LA.jpg
Walter Lee playing his fiddle, with his cat on the top of the chair
Clerk of Court of Evangeline Parish, Louisiana
In office
June 7, 1956 – January 2012
Preceded by Richard Kenneth Reed
Succeeded by Randall M. "Randy" Deshotel
Personal details
Born (1921-09-09)September 9, 1921
Place of birth missing
Died

April 12, 2015(2015-04-12) (aged 93)[1]
Ville Platte

Evangeline Parish, Louisiana
Resting place Sacred Heart Mausoleum in Ville Platte
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Florence Lee (deceased)
Children

Walter Lee, Jr.
Mike Lee
Nona Lee (deceased)

Nine grandchildren
Parents Taeogne and Agelia Chapman Lee
Residence Ville Platte, Louisiana
Occupation Public official
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Battles/wars Pacific Theater of Operations of World War II

Walter L. Lee, Sr. (September 9, 1921 – April 12, 2015)[2] was from 1956 to 2012 the clerk of the 13th Judicial District Court in Evangeline Parish in south Louisiana. Until his defeat for a fifteenth term in the nonpartisan blanket primary in October 2011, Lee had encountered virtually no substantive opponents over the fifty-six years inhis position.

Upon his election, Lee was sworn into office as clerk of court on June 7, 1956, by his predecessor, Richard Kenneth Reed (1917-1999), a real estate businessman from Mamou, who held the position for the preceding eight years.[3]

A Democrat, Lee in 2011 received 21 percent of the ballots cast, a third-place finish in his last primary election for clerk of court. He had just turned ninety years of age at the time of that election. Instead the Democrat Randall M. Deshotel and a Republican, Ben Soileau,[4] advanced to the general election held on November 19. Deshotel then defeated Soileau, 52-48 percent, to claim the right to succeed Lee.[5]

In defense of the reelection that eluded him in 2011, Lee said that his office, based in the parish seat of Ville Platte, "is rated one of the best run offices in the state. This office is completely computerized, and I have a staff of employees who are all professional. As the old saying goes, don’t fix something that is not broken; and this office is certainly not broken."[6] In his last term, Lee suffered from strokes and was at the time of his defeat confined to a wheelchair.[7]

Lee served in the United States Navy in the South Pacific during World War II.[7] In the Navy, he lived in his own apartment in San Diego, California. He made his own violin out of a cigar box and taught himself how to play the Cajun fiddle. He played with the Balfa brothers.[8]

Lee formerly served on the board of directors of the Federal Land Bank and the Louisiana Clerks of Court Association. Because of his longevity in office, he was inducted in 2009 into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield. He is thus far the only clerk of court in Louisiana history to have received this designation.[9]

Lee and his late wife, Florence, had three children, Walter, Jr., and wife, Judge Judy Fuller, of Lafayette; Mike Lee and wife, Sue, of Point Blue in Evangeline Parish, and Nona Lee, who predeceased her father. Lee is interred in the Sacred Heart Catholic Mausoleum in Ville Platte.[8]

Lee should not be confused with Walter C. Lee (born October 1934), a Shreveport Republican[10] and former member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. This Walter Lee is also a former school superintendent in both Caddo and DeSoto parishes in northwestern Louisiana.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Walter Lee Sr.". Laville Funeral Home and Cremations. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Click By Voter Walter Lee, September 1921". voterportal.sos.la.gov. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Heather Bogard, "Looking Back"" (PDF). The Ville Platte Gazette, November 29, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Results for Election Date: 10/22/2011: Evangeline Parish". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Results for Election Date: 11/19/2011: Evangeline Parish". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  6. ^ "About Walter Lee". Facebook. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Louisiana Board of Ethics" (PDF). ethics.state.la.us. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Walter Lee, Sr.". lavillefuneralhome.net. Retrieved May 17, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Walter Lee". lapoliticalmuseum.com. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Click Walter Lee, October 1934". voterportalsos.la.gov. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
Preceded by
Richard Kenneth Reed
Clerk of Court of Evangeline Parish, Louisiana

Walter L. Lee, Sr.
1956–2012

Succeeded by
Randall M. "Randy" Deshotel