Services for Rev. B. G. Dyess will be held at 11 a.m. on Feb. 20 at Parkview Baptist Church of Alexandria, with Revs. Carl Burris, Joe Wellman, Alton Achord, Wardell Williams, O. C. Marler, Robert McLane and Michael McIntosh officiating. Other speakers will be Dr. Clarence Golemon, William Earl Hilton, and Mrs. Linda Billings. Burial will be in the Calvary Baptist Church Cemetery at Gardner under the direction of Hixson Brothers of Alexandria.
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Rev. Dyess, 90, of Alexandria passed away Feb. 18, 2013 in Naomi Heights Nursing Home.
Visitation will be from 4-9 p.m. on Feb. 19 (4-5 p.m. for family) at Hixson Brothers, and from 8:30-11 a.m. on Feb. 20 at Parkview Baptist Church.
Rev. Dyess was born in the Valentine Creek area of Rapides Parish on Aug. 16, 1922. He lived most of his life in Rapides Parish. He was a member of Humble Baptist Church.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Ava Brister Dyess; his parents, Josie B. and Sarah Matilda Smith Dyess; one daughter, Madeline Faye Dyess; one granddaughter, Ginger Lynn Robinson; three sisters: Bertha Dyess Marler, Jessie Dyess Dubois, and Jodie Dyess Marler; and five brothers: Elbert, Ted, Oscar, Lloyd, and Rufus Dyess. He was the last surviving child of the family of Josie and Matilda Dyess.
He is survived by his wife, Billie Whittington Dyess; six children, Mac Dyess and wife Cheryl of Deville, Loretta Dyess Cooley and husband Leonard, and Linda Dyess Stewart and husband Charles of Alexandria, Marc Dyess and wife Sandra of Zachary, Debby Dyess Giles and husband Tony of Woodworth, and Louise Dyess Fontaine of Vacaville, Calif.; three stepchildren, Craig Whittington and wife Glenda of Kinder, Rick Whittington and wife Dawn of Kinder, and Anita Thompson and husband Neal of Elizabeth; and by his brother-in-law, Carl Brister of West Monroe, and his sister-in-law, Lorene Brister Holland.
He is also survived by six grandsons, Chad Robinson, Spencer Cooley, Aaron Johnson, Lane Dyess, Jordan Giles, and Jakob Fontaine; seven granddaughters: Tina Schiaffino, Tammy Kennedy, Trisha Graham, Heather Cooley, Shannon Reyes, Jessica and Katie Fontaine; eight stepgrandsons, Kevin, Kerry, and Michael Stewart, Brad Deville, Doug Rivet, Mylan Dawson, Ryan and Brad Whittington; six stepgranddaughters, Tiffany Steedman, Tisha Booher, Hailey Whittington, Monica Brittain, Nicole Hazard, and Renee Miller; and by 22 great-grandchildren, Alysha and Bradley Schiaffino; Michael, Blake, and Chase Kennedy, Jacob Hickson, Isabella and Sofia Reyes, Trey Cooley; Gage and Ashlee Robinson; Tinley and Addison Steedman, Carly Booher, Hannah, Brittney, Tyler, Emily, Garrett, and Taylor Stewart, Lizzie Lowe, and Dalton Miller.
Pallbearers will be Chad Robinson, Spencer Cooley, Jordan Giles, Shelton Reyes, Charles Stewart, and Tony Giles. Honorary pallbearers will be Rev. Dyess's nephews, Elwood Dyess, Alvin Owens, Don Marler, Troy Marler, Russell Long, J. B. Dubois, and Keith Marler, and also members of the Gardner Masonic Lodge and the High Twelve Club.
Rev. Dyess was a Baptist minister for over 73 years, pastoring churches throughout central Louisiana. During this time he participated in over 1500 funerals, conducted more than 450 revivals, and led in the construction of nine building programs. He was honored as Pastor Emeritus at Calvary Baptist Church at Gardner. It has been said that he buried and/or married someone in nearly every family in Rapides Parish. He loved God, and his faith and convictions were the most important things in his life.
He also loved sports, especially basketball, and he loved to talk about his favorite team - the St. Clair Grammar School basketball team of 1936! He had a great sense of humor and could tell a joke regarding whatever subject was discussed. He used humor in his sermons and speeches, and few ever told him they were hearing it for the second time.
His other passion was politics. Whether he was campaigning in a local race or listening to a presidential debate, he followed it all closely. In 1948, at the age of 26, he was elected to the Rapides Parish School Board. He retired as the Rapides Parish Registrar of Voters after 24 years. In 1996 he was elected to the Louisiana State Senate on the platform of honesty and integrity and his promise to fight gambling. He served as Vice-Chairman of Judiciary "B," and served on the Health and Welfare, Transportation, and Agriculture committees. He was considered the senate leader in opposing gambling and the expansion of gambling in the State of Louisiana. He received the Outstanding Legislator Award from the Police Jury Association of Louisiana and the Outstanding Legislator Award from Victims and Citizens Against Crime. In 1999 he authored the resolution to begin formulating a plan for LSUA to become a 4-year college. Also in 1999, after an exchange between him and the administration regarding gambling, he received a Senate Resolution, the first commendation of its kind in the Louisiana Senate, whereby his fellow senators honored one of their own for "decency, dedication, forthrightness, integrity and honesty." In 2007 he received the "Friends of Jimmy Davis Award" from the Political Hall of Fame Board.
Rev. Dyess was a recipient of the Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation Trustee's McGuffee Public Servant Award, Humanitarian Award of Central Louisiana, and a recipient of the Louisiana College Trustees' Distinguished Service Award. He served as Honorary Chairman of the Central District Senior Olympic Games; Honorary Chairman of the Central Louisiana Cerebral Palsy Telethon, and served as past chairman of the Central Louisiana Committees supporting Louisiana and International Special Olympics. For many years he was a member of the Alexandria Civitan Club whose focus is on helping with mental retardation and the Special Olympics. He was honored as Civitan of the Year for four years, Governor of Louisiana North District, and Civitan of the Year Louisiana North District.
He was a past board member of the Louisiana State Board of Election Supervisors, Louisiana College President's Club, Rapides Parish Senior Volunteer Program, Central Louisiana Boys and Girls Club, Region VI Advisory Council--Office of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Louisiana Interagency Action Council for the Homeless, Louisiana University Lay Advisory Committee, and Rapides Association for Retarded Citizens, Inc. He also served as a Chaplain for the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Department for Sheriffs M. C. Cappell and William Hilton.
He was a 32nd degree Mason and a member of the Gardner Masonic Lodge, and an Honorary member of the Jena Lodge and Oliver Lodge in Alexandria. He was a member of the High Twelve Club where he served as past president. For over 50 years, he spoke an average of four times a week to church, fraternal, and civic groups throughout Louisiana.
The family would like to thank the staff at Naomi Heights Nursing Home for the wonderful care given to Reverend Dyess. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the John Eskew Training Center, the Special Olympics, or The Shepherd Center.
To extend online condolences to the Dyess family, please visit us at www.hixsonbrothers.com.
Published in Leesville Daily Leader on Feb. 20, 2013