Mayor George Elyott
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BOSSIER CITY, LA - Former Mayor George Dement of Bossier City passed away at his country home in Frierson, LA, on Sunday, January 12, 2014, after a brief illness. Born January 23, 1922, in Princeton, LA, he was the son of George Elyott and Clara Depew Dement. Married to Sunshine Norris Dement June 10, 1946 until she passed away February 10, 2011. George and Sunshine had five children, Rev. Ann Montes, Steve, Walter and wife Beth, David (deceased) and Tim Dement and Donna Cotton; grandchildren, Steve Dement and wife Cissy, Marcus Dement (deceased), Shane Dement, Joel Dement, Creighton Dement, Jacob Dement and Heather Crask, Angela Dement Skillingstad and husband Monty; great grandchildren, Cameron Davis and wife Haley, Cole Davis, Cade, Jolie Bey, McKenna, Christian, Isabella, Sterling, Emmy, Elyott, Hazel Sunshine and Ezra Dement (grandson to be born on Mayor Dement's birthday January 23, 2014) and great great granddaughter, Kynsie Davis.
George served in the United States Navy during WWII as a cook on the U.S.S. Razorback submarine. He would send $70.00 per month of his military pay to Sunshine, which allowed her to save enough money to open their first restaurant across from the Strand Theater in Shreveport, LA. "George's Big Boy," served foot long hot dogs, po-boy sandwiches, homemade chili and hot apple pies. George opened one of the first restaurants in Shreveport to serve "po-boy" sandwiches. When he was a young teen, he had traveled with friends through New Orleans where a kind lady had offered him a sandwich made of French bread filled with mashed potatoes and black eyed peas. It was a famous South Louisiana sandwich that he decided to bring to North Louisiana. After the success of their first business, they began opening full service restaurants in the area. At one time they owned nine different cafes in Shreveport-Bossier. George 's philosophy was, "If one is good, more is better."
After spending many years in the service and food industry, George decided it was time for a new venture. Sunshine was teaching full time at Greenacres Jr. High and working at their restaurants after school. In 1967, there was a brand new Holiday Inn Motel opening up in Bossier City and George was offered the position of General Manager for the restaurant and motel. They sold their restaurants, rented their house out on Delhi Street, and moved to the on-site apartment at the motel. He had no hotel experience, but found the hospitality industry was his "calling." He and Sunshine had a gift of treating their hotel guests like family. George would serve the Sunday buffet and become lifelong friends to many of his customers (and future political supporters.) He was so good at his job that during his twenty-two years of hotel/restaurant management, he was awarded Holiday Inn's Best Innkeeper of the World two times.
In 1989 the civic minded George decided he would like to run for mayor of Bossier City. He was elected by a landslide vote, and he and Sunshine approached the responsibility together. When he found himself sitting in the mayor's chair, he often wondered what he had gotten himself into. He said it took awhile, but soon learned that he was well qualified for the job. The hospitality, restaurant, hotel/motel, and the convention and tourist business had well prepared him to run the city. It's a much bigger business to oversee, but it is essentially the same - to provide for the comfort, safety and well being of the people of Bossier City. He also attributed his success to Harry Truman's philosophy of surrounding himself with good people. Even though Mayor Dement had the last word in city decisions, he encouraged his staff to be "self-thinkers and planners," and it had a very positive outcome for the city.
When Mayor Dement left office in 2005, Bossier City was recognized as the safest, cleanest and fastest growing city in Louisiana. After encouraging and welcoming the river boat gaming industry, he was able to dedicate the additional funds for building Century Link, the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway, and the Benton Road overpass. He was also instrumental in increasing the size of the police and fire departments, acquiring cameras and computers for the police cars, and added four new fire stations, located strategically around the city. He also oversaw the completion of the Louisiana Boardwalk in Bossier City.
Mayor Dement served the City of Bossier from 1989-2005. He was 68 years old when first elected and 84 upon retirement. In 2005, he and Sunshine moved from their home on Delhi Street to her family home place and cattle farm in Frierson, LA. When asked what he'd like to be remembered for, George says, "That I'm a praying man and God answers prayers." George and Sunshine were active members of First Baptist Bossier for many decades and later built the Kingston Baptist Church on their family property. Mayor Dement was active in many civic organizations including Toastmasters International, The Rotary Club, The Optimist Club, and the Shreveport Sports For Boys Club. He served on the board of Willis Knighton Hospital, The Salvation Army, The Louisiana Hotel and Motel Association, The Shreveport- Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, and a variety of other organizations.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at First Baptist Bossier at 10:30 a.m. Services will be officiated by ministers, Sonny DePrang, Randy Harper, Rocky Maddox and Buddy Puryear. Interment will follow at Evergreen Cemetery in Frierson, LA. Visitation will be Tuesday, January 14, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Wednesday, January 15, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at First Baptist Bossier.
Honoring George as pallbearers will be Stevie Dement, Shane Dement, Joel Dement, Jacob Dement, Danny Dison and Terry Hamous. Honorary pallbearers will be the Citizens of the City of Bossier.
The family requests in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to your
Rose-Neath Funeral Home
2201 Airline Drive
Bossier City, LA 71111
Published in Shreveport Times from Jan. 14 to Jan. 16, 2014