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Bernel Fontenot

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Bernel Fontenot Obituary
Bernel Fontenot

September 24, 1939 - December 16, 2013

OPELOUSAS - A Mass of Christian Burial will be held for James Bernel Fontenot on Thursday, December 19, 2013, at 2:00 p.m., in St. Landry Catholic Church, Opelousas, Louisiana. Reverend James Brady will celebrate the Mass. Rite of Committal will be held at the Bellevue Memorial Park Cemetery.

He passed away on Monday, December 16, 2013, at Opelousas General Health Systems at the age of 74.

James Bernel Fontenot grew up in the community of St. Landry in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana. He was a graduate of Bayou Chicot High School, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now ULL) in 1963 and a Master of Social Work degree from Louisiana State University in 1971. He served in the United States Army from May of 1963 to April of 1965. Upon completion of his military service he was employed with the Louisiana Department of Public Welfare for several years, then was employed by the Diocese of Lafayette for 37 years, retiring from his position as Director of the Office of Housing and Institutions on October 1, 2012. He was a man who dedicated his life to helping the less fortunate. During his tenure with the Diocese, he presided over the development of more than 30 facilities designed to provide housing for over 1,250 elderly, handicapped, and low-income individuals and families. Upon his retirement, he was remembered as a consummate professional, but more importantly as "kind, compassionate, gentle," and as a man who treated every individual with dignity and respect. He served on the Managing Council of Lafayette Catholic Services Center and on the Board of Directors of Prompt Succor Nursing Home. He was also a member of the Elks Lodge of Opelousas and a member of the American Legion.

He was a life-long fan of the New York Yankees, LSU, ULL, and the New Orleans Saints, and considered the Saints' Super Bowl win a great blessing. He loved to hunt and fish, which he has passed on to his son and grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife, Jane Fontenot, of Opelousas; his son, Dr. Christopher Fontenot and wife, Diane, and two grandchildren, Caleb and Gracie Fontenot, all of Lafayette; his brother, J. Harold Fontenot; and his sister, Linda Prima, both of St. Landry, Louisiana.

He was predeceased by his parents, Arthur and Eva Fontenot, and a brother-in-law, Vance Prima.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at Lafond-Ardoin Funeral Home, Sunset Road, in Opelousas, and will reopen at 8:00 a.m., on Thursday, December 19, 2013, at 8:00 a.m., until time of services. A rosary will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening.

"And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'" - Matthew 25:40

Donations may be made in Bernel's memory to the Lafayette Catholic Service Centers ( or the Catholic Social Services, Diocese of Lafayette (, or 261-5654).

Family and friends are invited to sign and view the online guestbook at

LaFond-Ardoin Funeral Home of Opelousas, 2845 South Union Street, Opelousas, LA 70570, (942-2638) has been entrusted with the funeral arrangements.


Published in the Daily World & The Advertiser from Dec. 18 to Dec. 19, 2013
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