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Sunday, April 28, 2019

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Another member of the greatest generation is laid to rest

Another member of the greatest generation is laid to rest

This past weekend a local family buried a much-loved local man who had many titles. To them, Roman Guidry was a husband, father, grandfather, and a great-grandfather.

If you asked his wife, Mable or his grown kids and their spouses, Roman handled family tasks with a soft voice and gentle spirit. Always ready to give advice, counsel, or consult with on important family matters, without being too intrusive, Roman mastered the art of smooth persuasion.

Roman Guidry was a lifelong resident of Cut Off, La. He attended and graduated from Cut Off High School in 1943. This was when the United States was deeply involved in World War II, so like so many who were a part of the “greatest generation”, Roman joined the Army Air Force. Here he served for two years as a belly gunner on a B-17 bomber.

Sacrificing for his country in WWII was a source of pride for Roman throughout his life. He was a proud American and a member of the American Legion for over 60 years.

That pride was obvious each time he visited the WWII museum in New Orleans. On a recent trip, he got to see the newest exhibit in the museum where he spotted a replica B-17 on display.

Roman stood there looking at the area of the plane where he would have been with his machine gun. A small crowd gathered around him as he began explaining exactly where he sat and told them about some of the dangerous missions a plane like this took part in. He remembered everything in great detail even though it had been over sixty years since he had seen that plane.

The family said the people in the museum listened intently thinking he was a tour guide for the museum.

It was not long after that trip to the museum that Roman’s son Chris was able to accompany him on a one-day flight to visit the WWII National Memorial in Washington, DC.

This was one of the privately funded trips that WWII veterans were given the opportunity to see that memorial. E.J. Gremillon from Larose and his son, Steve, also went on that same trip.

Married for 66 years, and the father of a son and four daughters, Roman had a very busy family life. But he always was deeply involved in his community.

Affectionately called “the Mayor of Cut Off,” Roman Guidry was one of the first members of the Cut Off Volunteer Fire Department; the first president of the Cut Off Youth Center, serving in that position for seven years; a founding member of the Cut Off Fishing Club where he served as treasurer for twenty-five years.

In addition to these activities, Roman found the time one year to be the Grand Marshall of the Cut Off Youth Center Parade and serve as a Duke in the Krewe of Versailles.

Roman’s involvement as a volunteer was not just local. He was chairperson for the Lafourche Parish Red Cross for many years. He also held that same position for the Southeast Louisiana Red Cross in New Orleans for 2 years.

Guidry presided over the parishes of Lafourche, Terrebonne, Assumption, St. Mary, Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Charles, St. John, St. Tammany, Washington and Tangipahoa.

Family members said he was never home during hurricanes. He was out directing Red Cross relief efforts for all those in the path of a storm.

One of Roman Guidry’s greatest pleasures was politics. He was a lifelong Democrat serving as a member of the Louisiana State Democratic Committee for several years. He also was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention that nominated Jimmy Carter for President. That year Roman was able to take his wife and daughter, Jenny, to a presidential inaugural ball.

After WWII, Roman returned home to open a TV repair shop in Cut Off. He also ventured into the boat business by building a crew boat named the Jet Star. It had fast and silent turbine engines, which was a new concept in offshore transportation.

But for the bulk of his career (over 60 years), Roman Guidry owned and managed RAG Hardware Store in Cut Off.

The contributions made to his community did not go unnoticed. Roman Guidry received many awards and commendations from state and local organizations.

In 1966 he was named “Outstanding Member of the Year” from the Young Men’s Business Club. And the South Lafourche Chamber of Commerce presented him the “1980 Pioneer Award for Community Service” for his many contributions to his community.

Roman Guidry died just a couple of months before reaching the age of 90. He lived a long life, involved in his community and available to all who sought his help. He was active in his church and a member of the Knights of Columbus for more than 60 years.

Although immersed in his business and community service, Roman’s family came first. His greatest pride came from seeing his children and grandchildren graduating from college.

This community has lost a kind, respected, and generous man who loved his family, community, and country and served them all well. Cut Off has lost one of its most valuable citizens … and their honorable “Mayor”.

Rest in peace my friend.