Louis J. Girard
Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors
1010 Bering Drive
Houston, TX
Louis J. Girard, M.D., F.A.C.S. passed away peacefully at his home on the 27th of December 2010 surrounded by his family. He was born in Spokane, Washington on the 29th of March 1919, to Harry and Agnes Cain Girard. Dr. Girard's parents settled in Houston in 1932, when Harry Girard was invited to conduct and direct the first Houston Grand Opera. Dr. Girard was a graduate of Rice University (Distinguished Alumnus), and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (Distinguished Alumnus), where he was a member of the Alpha Kappa Fraternity.
During World War II, Dr. Girard served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, stationed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He was appointed Chief of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Service of the 1200-bed Regional Station Hospital. He completed his residency in Ophthalmology at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary (Distinguished Alumnus). He also earned a fellowship in ophthalmic surgery with Dr. Conrad Berens, an internationally famous ophthalmologist.
In 1953, Dr. Girard was invited back to Houston to help develop the Department of Ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine. He was promoted to Professor and Chairman in 1957, and, at age 38, was the youngest full professor of ophthalmology in the U.S. and the first full-time academic ophthalmologist in the Southwest. During this period, he was the ophthalmologist and ophthalmic surgeon of the late President Lyndon B. Johnson. He entered private practice in 1970 and continued as Clinical Professor at Baylor until his retirement in 1998 at age 79.
Dr. Girard is responsible for many milestones in the field of ophthalmology. He conducted the first clinical investigation of corneal contact lenses in 1949 and was the first to perform and describe corneoscleral transplantation in 1954. Dr. Girard co-designed the first small thin corneal contact lens in 1958 as well as co-authored the first published book on corneal contact lenses with Joseph Soper. He invented 25 surgical instruments, including the Girard Ultrasonic Fragmentor for intraocular surgery, the Girard Keratoprosthesis (plastic cornea), and introduced numerous innovations in ophthalmic surgical procedures. Dr. Girard established the first eye bank in the Southwest, now Lions Eye Bank; the first Institute of Ophthalmology in the Southwest, now the Cullen Eye Institute; the first three-year ophthalmic residency program in the Southwest; the first ophthalmic tissue culture laboratory in the world; and the first international ophthalmic congresses in the Southwest. He was author of 11 books, producer of 73 scientific films (several of which won international awards), author of 404 scientific articles, and presenter of 1308 scientific presentations in 39 countries. Dr. Girard was inducted into the Hall of Fame by Alcon Laboratories Inc. of Ft. Worth.
A devoted father to seven children, Louis always found time to enjoy all sports, particularly sailing while spending summers at Texas Corinthian Yacht Club. The children's fondest memories of their father were around the piano learning seven part harmony for The Sound of Music and singing Phantom of the Opera songs. Louis was passionate, singing and playing the piano at every opportunity for friends and strangers alike throughout his worldwide travels. In 1940, Louis expressed his love of music and his devotion to his alma mater by writing the lyrics for the "The Rice Fight Song". In 1947, Bill Ross joined Louis and composed "The Rice Hymn", set to music composed by his father, Harry. Both of these tributes are still in use today.
Louis was preceded in death by his parents, sister (Kathryn Kuns), brother (Harry Girard), and son (Sandy Girard). He is survived by his beloved wife of 36 years, Louise Bell Girard, and his children: Michelle Richey, Suzanne Thackston (Robert), Christina Girard, Lee Girard (Lady Anne), Gabrielle Sorrell (Andy), and Louis M. Girard (Sophie). He is also survived by his twelve grandchildren: Hilaire Kallendorf, Amy Richey, Sarah Johnson, Mark Skelton II, Wesley Skelton, Beverly Sandel, Miguel Fabregas, Maria Fabregas de Casinello, Wilhelmina Hudson, and Margaret, Susanna, and Caroline Girard, and ten great grandchildren: Trevor and Barrett Kallendorf, Joseph, Jane, Jill, and Jack Sandel, Claudio, Lorenzo, and Mateo Casinello Fabregas, and Hudson Skelton.
The family deeply appreciates the devoted and constant care of Julia Wade and the Lighthouse Hospice.
Friends are cordially invited to gather with the family and share remembrances from two until five o'clock this afternoon, Sunday, the 2nd of January, in the Parlor of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
A memorial mass is to be offered at ten o'clock in the morning on Monday, the 3rd of January, at St. Anne Catholic Church, 2140 Westheimer Road in Houston, where the Rev. Al Sinasac is to officate.
Immediately following the mass, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the adjacent St. Teresa's Living Room of the Parish Hall.
In lieu of customary remembrances, kindly consider a contribution in Dr. Girard's memory to the Alzheimer's Association, 2242 West Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX, 77030-2008; the Lions Eye Bank of Texas, 6565 Fannin St., Houston, TX, 77030; or to a charity of one's choice.

Published by Houston Chronicle from Dec. 29, 2010 to Jan. 2, 2011.
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31 Entries
I am so sorry to see your death. How I wish you were still alive for this day! In researching it seems you performed a cataract surgery on me and at the time I was the youngest ever for that type back in January 1970 (I was 11 months old). I remained blind in that one eye however in the past two months vision is coming back in full force with color, detail and peripheral vision. In reading your obituary it seems I might be able to find a paper on my case to give me some further insight!
September 1, 2011
Dearest Lou,

I continue to hold you in my prayers for our Lords comfort during this time of loss of your precious husband. I don't believe I have met anyone else like Dr. Lou, who not only was cheerful, talented and inspirational, but his zest for life was amazing. He remains in my mind as one of the most beautiful personalities in my life. His light will shine forever, bask in the glow and know you'll see him again one day. Be joyful always in this promise from God.

With Love Always,
Melinda Rice
January 15, 2011
Dear Louise,
It is with such great sadness that we received the news regarding sweet Louie. What a special man he was, a brilliant mind, a caring husband and father, a loving friend, a "gentle" man and gentleman. He stole the hearts of so many because of his kind and upbeat personality, his contagious smile and sparkling eyes. Louie knew no strangers. He welcomed everyone into his heart, his home as though all were part of his big family, one where music and song always filled the air, where laughter and "joie de vivre" prevailed. Fred, Alistair and I felt so so fortunate to have known such an amazing man, such a special individual with so many talents, from his medical expertise, to his singing, to his piano playing skills, to his love of tennis, the water, the dogs, the trees, everything that lives.
Simply said, we loved Louie, and will always do so, and will continue to reminisce those wonderful times spent together with family and friends in Magnolia, and finally, last Summer, our visit in Houston, marked by an amazing duet sung by the two of you !
Woaw! He was amazing. Even through his illness, he always kept that sweet smile on his face. We will miss him, but thank God for having given us such a fine human being to experience, one who was generous enough to take us under his wing when we first arrived in Houston, and introduced us to the apple of his eye, his sweet Louise. We are so proud of what you have done and did to make his life better and more comfortable. You are the best Louise.
Farewell sweet Louie, may you rest in Peace in the loving arms of God, and may you borrow his instruments and play sweet music for all every now and then!We will hear you.
Our heartfelt condolences to all of the Girards, including Micky, Susie, Gabrielle, Christina, Lee and Louis and families.
Forever grateful and in loving memory,
Donatella, Fred and Alistair Benckenstein
Donatella, Fred and Alistair Benckenstein
January 10, 2011
Dear Louise, I was so sad to hear from Robert and Susie that Louie had passed away. Such a brilliant man and gracious host. His wit and beautiful singing voice will be greatly missed. He left such a wonderful legacy in you and all of his children that I guess there was just nothing left to do in one life time. After having read his obituary I am proud to just have known him. I never knew he was so accomplished. The world will be a little quieter without him. My family's prayers are with you Louise, and the rest of your large extended family.
Debbie Thackston Potter
January 10, 2011
robert c. welsh, md welsh
January 8, 2011
To the Girard family,

I am so sorry for your loss. What an incredible person, this man was. He was always so interested in the well-being of everyone he met and their interests. All of you are a living testament to the kind of person he was...loving, respectful, generous, compassionate. We are all better to have known this man. My thoughts and prayers are with you all, during this time. He will truly be missed.
Wanda (Dub's office) Dowell
January 4, 2011
Dear Louise,
Dan and I send our thoughts and prayers to you for the loss of the love of your life, Louie. The love you both had for each other was inspiring.
He was such a remarkable, talented and generous man not only in the medical field but also musically.
We know that God opened his arms, welcomed Louie home and told him job well done.
And Louie was smiling…..
We were blessed to have been able to spend time with you both.
May you and his children find peace knowing he has gone ahead with God, but is still with you in your hearts.
Amy and Dan Wax
January 3, 2011
Dear Louise & Family,

Lorena and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Girard, who in our minds was a remarkably talented, kind, and generous man.

As you may recall, Dr. Girard restored Lorena’s eyesight not once but numerous times and did so at no cost to her family who regrettably lacked the funds to cover the cost of the multiple hospitalizations, surgeries, and assorted professional fees. Dr. Girard presumably bore those himself.

In fact, it was Dr. Girard who, on August 18, 1995, took time out from his busy schedule to give Lorena away at our wedding. Losing her own father at an early age, Lorena tended to cast Dr. Girard in the same role, repeatedly calling upon his wisdom and advice—all of which was sound and well considered.

In the time to come, please know we grieve along with you and like countless other people, we too will remember Dr. Girard with much deserved warmth and fondness.

Warmest best wishes,
Lorena & Rollin Astra
January 3, 2011
Dear Louise,

Janie and I want to express our sympathy to you and the rest of the Girard family. We will always remember the ski trip with you at the Hricik's in Vail. Trying to keep up with you, Anita and David almost killed me, but Louis' vodka martini brought me back to life.

My father said life is not the destination, but the journey. Louis' life was a journey that is a inspiration to those of us who knew him.

Wayne and Janie Patterson
Wayne and Janie Patterson
January 2, 2011
Dearest Louise, We will make a contribution to the Beaver Island Lighthouse School in memory of Louis. Bob and I remember a wonderful day at Stony Lake. Sarah and Thomas remember Louis playing the piano in Kuesnacht. Mark regrets never having had the opportunity to meet your extraordinary husband. With deep affection, Beth, Mark, Sarah, Thomas and Bob
Beth Urech
January 2, 2011
Dear Mrs. Louise,

My father and mother, Troy and Sheila Gressett joins me, Amber, to express our deepest sympathy to you and your family.

It has been many yrs. since we have seen you, "Captain" and all the 4-legged children (RIP) with Dr. Girard trailing in behind the crew when he was in town. I can still remember him telling me that he had just gotten back from helping the less fortunate children with their eyesight. I thought he walked on water to be able to do that!! And it is true, he did walk on water.

To this day, my family have always had you and your family in our thoughts and has always kept us smiling. We will continue to have you in our prayers.

May the Lord give you strength and comfort for now and for the days ahead for you and your family.
The Gressett's ~ Gladbach Kennels
January 2, 2011
I remember growing up with the Girard family. Playing ball in the front yard, going down to Kemah in the summer, and sitting at that massive dining room table. I often think of those days. Each one of you will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Peter Allen
January 2, 2011
Dear Lee and Family,
In times of sorrow there are few words that may bring comfort but it may help to know that caring thoughts are with you.
With Deepest Sympathy and Love,
Dianne (Cullinane) Curry and Jim Curry
(Lee, the Cullinane family is no longer with us on earth to send their condolences. David passed away in 2007 and my other brother Gene, in 2009.)
January 2, 2011
Louise, I was very saddened to read about Dr. Girard’s passing. Dr. Girard was a very special man and I was honored to have worked for him. I will pray for you and your family as you all mourn the loss of such an incredible man. Know that he touched many lives in many ways.
Susan Mathews
January 2, 2011
Dear Louise, I was so saddened to hear of Louie’s passing. In the short time I knew Louie, he always showed me kindness and always had a smile on his face.

It is a sad time, but it should also be a time of celebration of a life well lived. He was an amazing person and each life he touched was truly blessed. He will be missed by many.

May God bless you and your family and keep you and shine His face upon you, and may the Lord be gracious unto you and give you His peace.
Linda Ginn
January 2, 2011
Words are so inadequate at a time like this. May the comfort of friends and family be your strength now and in the days ahead.
Heidi Nelson
January 2, 2011
Dear Girard family Louise,Chris,Suzie,Mickey,Gabrielle,Lee and Louis... Veronica joins with me to extend our love and condolences to each one of you and yours.

Louis was always so much bigger than life to me; I have always loved and admired him greatly...The day after Christmas I was flooded with memories of the Rosses and the Girards: Louise, I was so glad that Veronica had a chance at least to meet the two of you when you guys were here in Cape Town.. Also, Louise, I'll never forget the smile of happiness on Louis' face when he told me that he was going to marry you! He was staying at my parent's home; I remember him floating across the deck from the room (Dad's study) where he had been staying...such joy and excitement in his voice! Then there were those days we all spent together at 3205 Del Monte Drive when we Rosses and Girards stood around the piano as we rehearsed the "Sound of Music", or When Dad and Louis would play piano duets and Mom would join in the singing...And then Lee, the fun times we had with Sandy,Susie and Chris at TCYC; those were some of the happiest times of my life...

My prayer for each one of you is that the peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus and,Louise, that you will allow His arms to embrace you, His love to sustain you and His peace to surround you.
Love always,
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" Romans 15:13
Nealie Ross
January 1, 2011
Querida Christina y Familia, abrazos y rezos de Madrid. Molly
Molly Long de Fernandez de Mesa
January 1, 2011
My dearest Louise,

As my heart swells with sadness for my loss it also swells with the joy of being part of the circle of people you and Louis have called friends.
Louis is someone that I always felt would be around. Although I have prepared my heart for the day my 87 year mother mother will transiton to streets of gold, Louis is a presence I just always knew would be around after me. Louis was a my best friend. ALthough we did not know each other very long and I did not come back to Magnolia, my times with Louis and you always seemed like we have known each other for our lifetimes. It is this feeling that is a testament to the character of a person. When we can feel that type of connection is a gift received and a blessing to the one whose heart has been imprinted with the love of friendship that easily poured from Louis and you. I aspire to affect others as I have been affected by the love Louis so freely gave me.
Kindest regards and love,
Adrian Pompa
January 1, 2011
Fifty-five years ago at the age of five, I suffered a severe, traumatic injury to my eye. We were referred by a physician friend to Dr. Girard and my parents took me to his home. I still remember being in the den of his home that evening with all of his children in and out of the room in their pajamas, as he examined my eye. I had emergency surgery that night and that began a lifelong doctor-patient relationship that molded my life. Over the next 30-plus years, Dr. Girard operated on my eye 14-plus times, trying to restore the sight.

Dr. Girard treated me like I was his child, gently explaining what was going to happen, drawing me pictures of what he was going to do, teaching me the correct medical names of the procedures he was to perform and always reasurring me. I trusted him and only him implicitly. That first night we made a silent pact and from the first surgery until the last, I was never put under anesthesia until he came in the operating room and we had a chance to visit. As a scared child, I had to know he was there before I could relax and be comfortable.

Dr. Girard was a brilliant, proud man and a truly gifted surgeon. I think everyone knows of these gifts, but I don't know if many know of his tenderness to a small child.

He watched me grow up, he helped me grow up. He was an enormous, important part of my life and I will never forget him.

To all the Girard family, please accept my deepest sympathy. I will miss him.
Mary Beth Knapik
December 31, 2010
My brother Dr. Jorge Rodriguez did a two year fellowship with Dr. Girard and I had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions. My brother has passed away but I always remember he told me he respected Dr. Girard very much, that he was a great surgeon and a very good doctor who helped a lot of people and did a lot of pro bono work. My sincerest condolences to your family.
dr. walter rodriguez
December 31, 2010
Louise, we are so very saddened to learn of Louis's death and send you our deepest sympathy. He was such an extraordinary man in so many respects and so admired by everyone. He will be greatly missed. You and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.
Connie and Clayton Cooke
December 31, 2010
Dear Lee,
My name is Geraldine (Basinski) Doerr. You and I were friends in our 20s. We went to see movies at the Metropolitan Theater with Marci (Carter) Waters, who was a patient of your father's. In fact, I have a record album your father made when he was younger, that you gave to me.

I heard today about the loss of your father and wanted to express my deepest sympathy to you and to your family. I didn't realize it, but your father was born the same year as my father.

I will keep Dr. Girard in my prayers, and hope that you will draw comfort in knowing that he is finally at peace with his Maker.

Geraldine Basinski/Doerr
December 31, 2010
To he family of Dr. Girard:

Dr. Girard operated on my daughter twice, first at age 5. He saved her sight. Another well known specialist told us she would be blind. Thanks to him she sees very well.

My condolences to you.
Meryl Goodfriend
December 31, 2010
Dear Christina,
I was so very saddened to learn of the death of your dear father. You and your family have my deepest sympathy for your loss. Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers.
Jerry Hill Goodpasture
Jerauld Hill Goodpasture
December 30, 2010
My sincere condolences to you and to your family for your loss dear Christina. God bless you and give you peace.
LOLi Kolber
Loli Kolber
December 30, 2010
Lulu dear, Zdzislaw and I are heartbroken with you, and we hope our thoughts wrap around you with love during this time. Love, Gretchen and Z
Gretchen Wieckowski
December 30, 2010
Dear Lou and Lee...
You know I am thinking of you and send my prayers your way. I can only smile when I think of our times together with Dr. G over the years.. maybe 40+ ?? That twinkle in Louie's eyes... ahh.. but alas, it was only for his Lulu... (after the kids of course, Lee!!) I hope to see you both soon, after the whirlwind that is going on right now... Love to all... C.B.
Carol Boysen
December 30, 2010
Dear Louise,
Mark and I send our sincere condolences for the loss of your beloved Louie. He was a blessing to many and we are grateful to have shared in a season of his life. We pray God will bless you with the peace only He can provide. With Love Always,
Renee' and Mark Stephens
December 29, 2010
To the Girard family:

Dr. Girard had a divine appointment; an appointment he had to keep. We all have a divine appointment and he met his.

Welcome to his Graduation Day and celebrate his life for it was overflowing will love, full of family and friends, and his life exhibited his wonderful service to mankind.
Ann Vanderhoef
December 29, 2010
To Gabrielle, Christina, Lee, Louie, their siblings Mickey and Susie, and the family and friends of Louis Girard, please accept my sincere condolences and sympathy for your profound loss. With my wishes for peace and acceptance as each of you faces the future without your beloved father, grandfather, relation and friend.
Raymond Goodrich
December 29, 2010
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