He was a well respected "true servant" who never met a stranger and had a genuinely quick smile and handshake for everyone. A resident and native of the Central community of Baton Rouge, Donald Ray passed away Friday, Aug. 5, 2011, at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. He was 74, born Aug. 11, 1936, to the late Sterling and Camille Carpenter Kennard. Donald Ray was a 1954 graduate of Central High School where he earned 13 letters in football, basketball, baseball and track. Afterwards, he earned a B.S. degree in education from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1958. Next, "Coach K" taught and coached at Istrouma High School and coached the LSU freshmen basketball team while completing his master's degree from LSU in education, which he earned in 1960. He completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., was stationed at Fort Dix, Trenton, N.J., and served his country for 10 years in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Afterwards, he taught health and physical education for two years at the University of New Orleans. He was a football spotter from 1958 until 2007; 44 of these years being spent as a member of the LSU Sports Broadcasting Team. In January 1963, he began his career at LSU as an academic adviser in the athletic department and held that position for 22 years. He was elected to the Louisiana State House of Representatives in 1975 representing District 65. He was re-elected eight times and served "his" district for 32 years until being term limited in 2008. During his political career, he served as chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council and served as past president of the American Professional Guidance Association and was a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors. While serving in the legislature, he continued his career at LSU becoming an assistant athletic director in charge of sales and marketing, a position he held for many years. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Mona Norris Kennard; two daughters, Robin Lisa Kennard and Stacy Rae Kennard Doucet and husband David; grandchildren, Philip James Doucet, Samuel Kennard Doucet, Thomas David Doucet and Camille Elizabeth Doucet; three aunts, Ethel Watts, Josie Carpenter and Jean Firmin Carpenter; and numerous other in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Donald Ray was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Maurice and Bertie Carpenter; and paternal grandparents, William and Annie Kennard. Visiting at Zoar Baptist Church, 11848 Hooper Road, on Monday, Aug. 8, was from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Visiting resumes at the church on Tuesday, Aug. 9, from 9 a.m. until religious services at 11 a.m., conducted by Dr. Kevin Hand. Interment in the church cemetery. Pallbearers will be his three grandsons and Rep. Clif Richardson, Sen. Francis Thompson, Joe Earl Easley, Joe Chemin and Dr. James Gardner. Honorary pallbearers are Eugene Rogillio Sr., Bud Johnson, Jim Taylor, Ronnie Devall, Ricky Norris, Raymond Lavigne, Joe Greco and Mike LeClercq. Memorial donations may be made to Southeastern Louisiana University Foundation, Zoar Baptist Church, where he was a longtime member, or a favorite charity. Arrangements by Rabenhorst Funeral Home.
Published in The Advocate from Aug. 6 to Aug. 9, 2011.