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COUSHATTA, LA - Camille Lelong, Dec 2, 1915-Dec 7, 2009. Born in Perpignon, France, the youngest of 5 boys. He always remembered his mother who died when he was 5 yrs old. Shortly after her death Camille and his brother Yves were bundled off to boarding school where they remained while their Father left France to purchase land and settle in north Louisiana. At age 15 Camille and Yves traveled to Louisiana to visit their father. On that visit he briefly met a lovely young girl, Ruth Clark. Soon after, Camille and his brother Yves returned to France to serve their time in France's mandatory two year military service. Following the fall of France in WWII, Camille would go to Algeria and join the Free French forces after the Allied invasion of North Africa. His ability to speak English, French and other languages along with his dashing good looks and acute mental sensibilities qualified him perfectly for the job of espionage in support of France and the United States.
William Colby, in his book Honorable Men, described Camille: "He and I got along particularly well. He was lively and outgoing, a dazzler with the English girls, an extremely deadly poker player, tough, quick with a native intelligence and an ability to handle himself in tight places". Camille and Colby were "married" as two of a three man team in the Jedburghs. Their team parachuted behind German lines in the first days and weeks following the Normandy D-Day invasion. It was dangerous work. Their Jedburgh team was a part of an operation of the Office of Strategic Services, the first comprehensive intelligence organization in America's history. The OSS was the precursor of the CIA, which Colby would later head. The two men remained friends until Colby's death.
May 13, 1949 Camille and Ruth Clark were married in France. They came to the United States and Camille became a naturalized citizen. Throughout his life he followed closely the events and intricacies of European and American politics and policy while he and Ruth settled into life on a Cotton plantation, raising their children. The man who lost his mother at age 5 and only saw his Father 3 times during his childhood made a decision that the emptiness of that childhood would not be experienced by his own children and family. He was a kind, caring, generous and supportive husband,father and grandfather.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Ruth Clark Lelong. He is survived by son Paul Lelong of Longview TX, daughters Yvonne Bordelon of Covington LA, Ginni Sears of Decatur GA, and Step-daughter Martha Fletcher Wilt of Shreveport. His grandchildren; James Longino of Bossier, Kevin Longino of Greenwich CT, Misti Lelong Carpenter of Bossier, Celeste Santillano and Jon Paul Lelong of Longview, and Chaffraix Rowles of Decatur, GA, and two great-grandchildren, Mary and Sam Longino.
Services will be held Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 11 am at the First Methodist Church of Coushatta. Visitation will be held Friday evening at Rockett-Nettles from 5-7pm. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Springville Cemetery Association, PO Box 1023 Coushatta LA, 71019. Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home
Coushatta, Louisiana (318) 932-4362
Published in Shreveport Times on December 10, 2009