She created a legacy of love. Lois Anne Richard Sumrall, retired principal of Baton Rouge Magnet High, whose career in public education spanned more than 37 years, passed away on New Year's Day from complications of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). She was surrounded by her family.
She was born in Thibodaux on Oct. 8, 1935. She is a graduate of Mt. Carmel and Nicholls Junior College and earned her Bachelors and Masters+30 in Education from Louisiana State University. She remained active in national educational organizations throughout her career and was frequently called upon to help other schools as a certified instructional trainer for school administrators and to implement middle school specific reforms to improve student achievement.
The retired educator was a recipient of numerous accolades, including the Louisiana Principal of the Year Award while leading Park Forest Middle School. Previous posts as an English and Louisiana History Teacher include Glen Oaks High, Glasgow Junior High, and Istrouma Junior High, where she later was named Assistant Principal of Instruction.
She believed you have to love your students.
She focused on the mental, physical and social growth of her students. It's the emotional boost, however, that she offered at the end of each morning's announcements that may have gotten the most attention: "and don't forget I love you," which became her personal credo by which she's most remembered.
She thought it a shame that some children may not hear those words, and she wanted them to know she cared. Lois Anne carried the tradition with her to Baton Rouge Magnet High School, where beyond supporting excellence in academics and performing arts, improving facilities and supporting teacher training, she hoped to create a warmer and more caring high school climate. At a time when the Internet wasn't used in the classroom, she was an early champion of the use of computers and technology to learn.
She retired in 1995 and remains one of Baton Rouge High's most ardent supporters having established and led the Baton Rouge High Alumni Association, now known as the Baton Rouge High Foundation. She's also an avid LSU Tiger Football fan and a member of the Bengal Belles.
Throughout the years, Lois Anne was accompanied by the love of her life, Herbert L. Sumrall, her husband in 52 years of marriage. They renewed their marital vows for their 40th anniversary. Lois Anne also leaves behind two sons, Herbert L. Sumrall Jr. and Calhoun Richard Sumrall; daughter Lee Anne Sumrall Garner; Jan McBride Sumrall, wife of Herbert L. Sumrall Jr.; Robert David Garner, husband of Lee Anne Sumrall Garner, and Robert Calhoun Garner, a grandson.
Her parents were Philip Guy Richard and her mother, the former Mathilde Toups of Thibodaux. Lois Anne is predeceased by her brother Francis Philip Richard and her step-sister Mercedes Anne Richard Ellender.
Travel, entertaining and dining out were favorite pastimes. She and her husband frequently celebrated special occasions with family and friends at Galatoire's Restaurant in New Orleans. They looked forward to Sunday-night suppers with Herb Jr. and Jan. For the last six years, her grandson Robert was a joy in her life and many trips were made to New Orleans to visit. Lois Anne and Herb also enjoyed spending time the last few summers at their son Calhoun's home in Sharon, Conn., where they had many friends.
Her family wishes to pay her tribute through prayer and music.
Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until funeral time Saturday at. St. Joseph's Cathedral. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the church with burial in St. George Catholic Church Mausoleum.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the Baton Rouge High School Foundation in her name.
Rabenhorst Funeral Home in Baton Rouge is in charge of arrangements.
Published in Houma Today & The Daily Comet from Jan. 4 to Jan. 5, 2013