Joseph Lee Waitz, 80, peacefully passed away Tuesday, July 16, 2013, surrounded by his family and loved ones. He was a native of Alexandria and resident of Houma.
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Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. until funeral time Saturday at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral. A Mass of Christian burial will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the church, with burial in St. Joseph Cemetery in Thibodaux.
He is survived by his wife, Nellie Maestri Waitz; sons, Joseph Waitz Jr. and wife, Giselle, of Houma, David Waitz and wife, Carmen, of Houma, John Waitz and wife, Kristian, of Baton Rouge, and Doug Waitz, of Lafayette; daughters, Debbie Ortego and husband, Dana, of Houma, Mary Riviere and husband, Robert, of Thibodaux, and Michelle Marmande and husband, Ed, of Houma; and grandchildren, Joseph III, Catherine, Brian, Chris, Jacob, Stephen, John Michael Jr., Christopher Leighton, and Katherine Claire Waitz, Matthew, Michael, and Anna Catherine Ortego, Patrick and Benjamin Riviere, and Isabelle and Ian Marmande.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Nellie Louise "Nell" Tauzin Hayden; father, Joseph Lee Waitz; stepfather, Rushing "Rush" Hayden; and grandson, Zachary Paul Waitz.
Joseph L. Waitz was born in Alexandria on April 23, 1933. He graduated from Bolton High School in 1951.
He attended LSU and received a Bachelor of Science in business administration Jan. 29, 1957. He received his doctorate from LSU Law School on May 30, 1959. He was admitted to practice in 1959 before all Louisiana Courts, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, as well as the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts. He was a member of the Terrebonne Bar Association, the Louisiana Bar Association and the Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association.
Four of his children, Joe Jr., Mary, John and Douglas, followed in his footsteps and graduated from law school. Deborah "Debbie" is a legislative aide to Rep. Gordon Dove, David is a civil engineer, and Michelle is a school teacher and real estate agent.
Among his many awards is The Elton Darsey Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Terrebonne Bar Association in June 2010. This award was in recognition of years of service to the practice of law and establishing a higher level of legal professionalism through his devotion to the court and his alliance with other members of the Bar Association. He also received a Certificate of Appreciation from Catholic Social Services for service and contribution to the Catholic Social Services Board of Directors. He served as a member of the LSU Board of Regents and was later appointed to serve as a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors for many years beginning in April 1991. Additionally, he was honored in 2011 by the LSU Law Center for his years of service to the legal profession.
He was a man of unshakable faith, who devoted his entire life to God. He was a long-time parishioner of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral. His greatest joy in life was being surrounded by his family, and he always showed a proud smile at every family gathering. He was a kind-hearted and generous man, always giving his all to anyone in need, and he never missed an opportunity to make a joke or pull a prank on those he loved.
The family would like to express sincere gratitude to Dr. Russell Henry, Eugene Nguyen, Jeremy Chiasson, his private caregivers, and the staff of Bayou Home Care for their compassionate care, going far beyond the call of duty. A special thanks goes to his faithful bridge partners who never ceased to provide him weekly challenging games which he so enjoyed.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made in his name to the Louis Infant Crisis Center, 3513 Bayou Black Drive, Houma, LA 70360.
To send condolences please visit www.chauvinfuneralhome.com.
Chauvin Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Published in Houma Today & The Daily Comet from July 17 to July 19, 2013