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Robert Gahagan Pugh

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Robert Gahagan Pugh

SHREVEPORT, LA - A requiem mass celebrating the life of Robert Gahagan Pugh will be held on Wednesday, November 21, 2007, at 11:00 A.M. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Officiating will be Monsignor Earl V. Provenza, V.F., Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Shreveport. Monsignor Murray Clayton will concelebrate the mass. Interment will follow at Forest Park Cemetery, St. Vincent Ave. A visitation will be 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, at the Rose-Neath Marshall Street Chapel.

Bob Pugh was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on August 25, 1924. He passed away at age 83, surrounded by all of his family, on Saturday, November 17, 2007, after a lengthy illness.

As a Boy Scout he achieved Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow. A 1941 St. John's High School graduate, he was named to the St. John-Jesuit-Loyola Hall of Honor in 1996. After finding a $20 bill at the Louisiana State Capitol Building, he purchased a drum major's baton, taught himself to perform with it, and was awarded the Drum Major scholarship at Centenary College of Louisiana. While serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, he was navigator of a pathfinder aircraft dropping paratroopers into Germany in Operation Varsity, the largest airborne troop drop in military history. He earned a B.A. from Centenary in 1946 and a J.D. in 1949 at LSU Law School. He served as the LSU Law School Alumni Association President and later was bestowed its Distinguished Alumnus Award. In 1993 the Law School named him a member of its Hall of Fame and an honorary member of Order of the Coif.

Bob's love of the law was second only to his love for his family. After law school Bob practiced as a Shreveport attorney for 57 years, interrupted only by service in the Korean War as a navigator and an intelligence and security officer. He was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant. All three of his children work with him in the law firm Pugh, Pugh, & Pugh. Bob was always extremely active in bar association activities. He served as Shreveport Bar Association President in 1971-72, when the Association started the United States's first prepaid legal services plan. Now 43% of Americans are covered by such plans.

Bob was inducted as Louisiana Bar Association President in 1975 at the Palais de Justice in Paris, France during the Louisiana Civil Code's 150th Anniversary ceremony. The American Bar Association's membership tripled while he was its Membership Chairman from 1977-84. He was the first Louisianan to serve as President of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, which comprises the president of every state and all large local bar associations. He served as the first Chairman of the Louisiana Supreme Court Historical Society, the second President of the Bar Association for the Fifth Federal Circuit, and as a Judiciary Commission member. He was a Life Member of both the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and of the American Law Institute.

He was a founding member of the Harry V. Booth and Henry A. Politz American Inn of Court and its 1992-94 President. The American Inns of Court awarded him the 1998 Fifth Circuit Professionalism Award at the U.S. Supreme Court, stating that his "life and practice display the highest character and integrity, coupled with an on-going dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession and the rule of the law." The Louisiana Bar Foundation presented him with its 1990 Distinguished Attorney Award. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since its inception and also in Who's Who in American Law. He was a Fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.

Bob served the State of Louisiana for decades and was a trusted legal adviser for three Governors. He was a delegate to the 1973 Louisiana Constitutional Convention and Chairman of the Governor's Commission on a Uniform Defense System, the Governor's Committee for the Study of Capital Punishment, and the Louisiana Indigent Defender Board. For sixteen years he was a member and, ultimately, chairman, of the Louisiana Board of Regents. He was responsible for developing Louisiana's juvenile law code and authored the book, Juvenile Laws of Louisiana, Their History and Development.

He participated in numerous United States Supreme Court cases. He represented the State of Louisiana in several oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, once the same day with his son in what the Supreme Court Historical Society called a unique occurrence in Supreme Court history. Afterwards USA TODAY noted that Bob's "homespun wisdom delighted all America, even the sound-bite saturated media." When Louisiana's 1974 Constitution was challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court, he invented a new procedural motion still featured in law books about Supreme Court practice. Bob was involved in landmark cases in fields as diverse as election and redistricting law, trade regulation, securities, antitrust, drug regulation, corporate law, sports law, successions, and trusts. He was widely recognized as an expert in federal and state constitutional law. When Bob argued before the Louisiana Supreme Court that Louisiana should have class actions, the Chief Justice interrupted and asked him to draw up class action rules. He represented the Louisiana Department of Revenue for over thirty years, repeatedly securing tremendous amounts of revenue for state and local governments.

Bob served Shreveport as a Citizens Charter Study Committee Member, whose work ultimately led to Shreveport's current mayor/council form of government. He was instrumental in securing four-year university status for LSU-Shreveport. He was a founder and second President of East Ridge Country Club. He was a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher. He authored the governing documents for the LSU Health Sciences Foundation in Shreveport and served continuously on its Board of Directors. He was a long-time member of the Kappa Alpha Order, Shreveport Club, Shreveport Country Club, Shreveport Yacht Club, Cotillion Club, and the Royal Order of Jesters.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Orren Lamar Pugh and Eulalie Bernadette Wolf Pugh, and by his siblings, Orren Lamar Pugh, Jr., John Benjamin Pugh, and Eulalie Pugh Brown. He is survived by his loving wife of fifty-five years, Jo Ann Powell Pugh, his children, Robert Gahagan Pugh, Jr., and wife Maura Querbes Pugh, Jean Anne Pugh Cottingham, and Lamar Powell Pugh, four grandchildren, Robert Gahagan Pugh, III, McKenzie Querbes Pugh, Caroline Ann Cottingham, and Christopher William Cottingham and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and their children.

Honoring Bob as pallbearers will be Donald M. Arnold, Ben E. Coleman, John D. Caruthers, Jerry A. Fielder, II, Thomas R. Hicks, George E. McGovern, IV, David Moore, Hon. Charles R. Scott, C. Stewart Slack, and Hon. Thomas E. Stagg, Jr. Honorary pallbearers include Bess Kelley Black, James C. Gardner, Gene Grant, Dr. Ike Muslow, Dr. Ned Prothro, George W. Pugh, Virginia Kilpatrick Shehee, and Donald Zadeck. His family would like to thank his many physicians, especially Drs. Michael Aura, Tommy Brown, Eric Bicknell, E. L. Edwards, III, Ike Muslow, and James Noble, as well as James K. Elrod and the staff of Willis Knighton Medical Center, all the caregivers, especially Frank Camus, Cynthia Cage, and Karla Simonds, and Marion Palmer, his legal secretary for 30 years. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the LSU Health Sciences Foundation in Shreveport, 1501 Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA 71103-4228 or the charity of the donor's choice. Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Marshall St. Chapel, (318) 222-0348
Published in Shreveport Times from Nov. 19 to Nov. 20, 2007
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