J.C. "Sonny" Gilbert
Funeral services for J.C. "Sonny" Gilbert, of Sicily Island, LA, will be Monday November 24, 2014 at 11 am at Sicily Island United Methodist Church in Sicily Island. Mr. Gilbert is a former Louisiana Senator, Representative, and lifetime farmer. He passed away Friday, November 21, 2014, at his home in Sicily Island. The family will receive friends Sunday, November 23, from 6 until 8 pm at Young's Funeral Home in Ferriday, LA. Interment will follow the services at Oakley Cemetery, in Gilbert, LA, under the direction of Young's Funeral Home.
Mr. Gilbert is preceded in death by his parents, Jess and Fannie Adams Gilbert, his first wife, Barbara Jane Peck Gilbert, and second wife, Delman Fulmer Gilbert.
Mr. Gilbert is survived by his special friend Jean Seal, his daughter, Barbara Peck Gilbert Haigh and husband, Thomas David Haigh of Natchez, MS, and son, Jess Gilbert, Jr. and wife, Marilyn Sinkewicz of Madison, WI; four grandchildren, Thomas L. Enright, Jr. and wife, Virginia Middleton Enright of Baton Rouge, LA, David Walker Gilbert and Maia Surdam of Asheville, NC, Jessica Katherine Gilbert and husband, Aaron Kaio of Madison, WI, Elizabeth Jane Gilbert and Evan Hewlett of San Francisco, CA; and five great-grandchildren, Eleanor Jane Enright, William Thomas Enright, and Patrick Bernard Enright of Baton Rouge; Sal Kaio of Madison, WI, and Gus Hewlett of San Francisco, CA.
Pallbearers are John Cofer, Jerel Evans, Trey Peck, Darryl Seal, Russell Shaffer, and Charles Sherrouse. Honorary pallbearers are Terry Mize, Charles Phillips, Damon Woodruff, Lamon Woodruff and members of the Board of Directors of Sourthern Heritage Bank.
Mr. Gilbert was a graduate of Wisner High School and Northeast Junior College, now known as the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and attended Louisiana State University. During World War II, he left LSU to voluntarily enlist in the United States Army and served with a B-24 bomber unit in England and Africa. After his military service, he settled in Sicily Island, married Barbara Jane Peck in 1946, and began his family business of farming, which he continued throughout his entire life. In 1956, Mr. Gilbert began a career of public service that would span twenty-six years with his election to the Catahoula Parish Police Jury, followed by three terms in the Louisiana Senate from 1960-1972, and one term in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1972-1976. He served as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and member of the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. He served with distinction under four governors, Earl K. Long, Jimmie H. Davis, John J. McKeithen, and Edwin W. Edwards. Following his service in the legislature, Mr. Gilbert served on the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission from 1976-1982, and as its Chairman during his last two years of service. An avid lifetime hunter, he hunted deer, turkey, bear, and elk, and served on the National Wild Turkey Federation Board of Directors from 1980-1987, and as its President from 1983-85 and Chairman of the Board from 1985-87.
Mr. Gilbert made many contributions to the local economic landscape as a cotton and rice farmer, rancher, and founding director of the Jonesville Bank and Trust, now known as the Southern Heritage State Bank, which has grown to nine branches that serve the parishes of Catahoula, LaSalle, and Rapides.
Mr. Gilbert possessed a variety of broad interests that included membership in the LSU Athletic Foundation, Rotary International, American Legion, Farm Bureau, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and as a Freemason. He was recognized for his outstanding public service, his many accomplishments, his tireless spirit, and his unwavering dedication to the public good. Donations can be made to The Sicily Island United Methodist Church or The LSU Athletic Foundation. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.youngsfh.com