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Ourso Funeral Home

13533 Airline Highway, Gonzales, LA

OBITUARY

Evelyn Lee Gauthier

January 29, 1930July 21, 2020
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Evelyn Lee Gauthier, 90, a native of Cut Off and a resident of Gonzales for 53 years, passed away with quiet grace on Tuesday morning, July 21, 2020, at home surrounded by family, and following a courageous battle with metastatic breast cancer. Born Evelyn Ruth Lee on January 29, 1930 to Paul Robert Lee and Sophie Thibodaux Lee of Cut Off, Evelyn was preceded in death by her parents, her dear sisters Catherine Lee Fournet and Shirley Lee Delahoussaye, her in-laws, Helena and Oscar Gauthier, and her husband of 50 years, Bernard Gauthier. Evelyn was a 1948 graduate of Cut Off High School, where she was salutatorian, and a 1951 graduate of Southwestern Louisiana Institute (ULL), where she was a Sigma Sigma Sigma sister and a stunning beauty on the court of the Camellia Pageant. After earning her degree, Evelyn taught at Larose Cut Off High School, and then worked for the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, in Marksville. Evelyn oversaw award-winning 4-H programs in Avoyelles Parish, and continued to work closely with 4-H until 1995. Evelyn met Bernard at the 1955 State Fair in Marksville, and married in 1956, moving to Cut Off, where Bernard worked at the Lee Brothers Shipyard. While starting a family and having 5 children in 10 years, Evelyn and Bernard eventually moved back to Avoyelles Parish, and then to Gonzales in 1967. The children were enrolled at St. Theresa of Avila School, where amazingly, the Principal was one of Evelyn’s star 4-H students from Hessmer, Alice Ducote, then known as Sister Mary Bonaventure, MHS. In 1970, Evelyn began teaching Science and Math at St. Theresa, where she would stay for 28 years, eventually teaching over 3000 students as part of a talented team of professionals. Alice would later take back her lay name, and she and Evelyn were lifelong friends with great respect and love for each other. Alice became her Eucharistic minister, and Evelyn was devout and unwavering in her Catholic faith, which sustained her throughout her life and through her Last Rites. Evelyn’s time at St. Theresa became the conduit through which she was able to share the precious gifts her parents had given her. Her life in Cut Off as one of the five “Lee Girls” gave her the character foundation she drew upon every day of her teaching career. From an early age, she was taught by her parents the value of hard work, uncompromising principles, and the enduring value of education. Her parents stressed, “Everything else can be taken away, but they can never take away your education”. Affectionately known as “Ms. G” by generations of students, she was always well-prepared, tough but fair, and an authoritative taskmaster who demanded the attention of her students and commanded their respect. She expected their best efforts, because she always gave hers. She always wore a skirt or a dress to school, never pants, because she considered pants too casual for a lady, and the classroom was a place for serious work. Evelyn knew that for some students there were no good role models at home, so she made sure they had at least one person they could look up to every day as an example. For many, many years, countless former students would see her at Church, the grocery, the library, funerals, and places around town, and thank her for making their life better, or changing their life. It was the same with notes from all over the country. Evelyn had a profound effect on her students, many of whom have gone on to achieve the highest levels of academic and professional success in every field. She remembered and loved them all. They were her second family, and her gift to the world. In 1995, Evelyn was recognized by the Diocese of Baton Rouge with a Certificate of Service presented by Bishop Hughes, received a Certificate of Merit from the Knights of Columbus, and May 5, 1995 was proclaimed “Mrs. Evelyn L. Gauthier Day” by the City of Gonzales. Evelyn was the 1994-1995 Ascension Parish Teacher of the Year. In addition to her professional counterparts at St. Theresa, her principal, the late Jay Sullivan, the late John Keith Ambeau, and her student Lance Parr, remained dear to her heart always, and their strength, kindness and resilience inspired her. Following Evelyn’s retirement in 1998, she spent countless hours in her yard and garden, turning her property into a beautiful park, where she could be seen zipping around on her zero-turn mower well into her late 80’s, cutting grass, picking oranges to send to people, or just sitting and watching the birds and wildlife. Until the last few months, she drove herself everywhere, and probably checked out every book at the Ascension Parish Library at some point. She was a voracious reader and crossword puzzle addict, and retained an incisive mind to the very end. Her greatest joy, however, was family, and she was happiest when holding a new grandbaby, or when everyone would come home to Gonzales, especially at birthdays and the holidays, when she turned out mountains of the best “Christmas candy” imaginable, and holiday recipes from her own mother. When Bernard passed away in 2007, she dove into her new reality with characteristic zeal, and confronted this challenge as always, head-on and without self-pity, moving forward with no delay or hesitation. At the end of her life, there was not one word of complaint, and even though weakened by cancer and in pain, she was gracious to every visitor and caller. Even when she only had hours to live, there was still a flash of recognition, perhaps only for a second, but she knew that someone cared, and someone had come to see her or called. She had an incredible life force, and even at the end, her spirit was undiminished. Evelyn’s own children and grandchildren have gone on to success in Law, Engineering, Business, Medicine, and Art and Design, and live by the high standards she set through her example. She was the child of entrepreneurs, and she was so happy any time we were able to share stories of our successes with her. Ultimately, she was grounded by her upbringing on Bayou Lafourche, a child shaped by the depression and WWII, raised by parents who were honest and hard-working, who sacrificed and who were incredibly gracious, generous and kind – people who were looked up-to in their community the same way she was in hers. It was vitally important to her to tell us the stories that would guarantee we would understand our history and the people who came before us who all contributed to who we are today. She loved them, and us, with all her heart. This daughter of Louisiana could have been successful in any arena. She had it all – incredible beauty, brains, talent, work ethic, honesty, wisdom, humility, compassion, and generosity. That we had her here for this brief time, as a wife and mother, a grandmother, a sister, daughter and aunt, a friend, a colleague, a teacher and a role model, is perhaps the greatest gift of all. Her pain is gone, but we are left trying to comprehend how someone so indestructible, our matriarch, is now gone as well. Evelyn is survived by her children, Anne Evelyn Gauthier and Gregory Gauthier (Julie) of Baton Rouge, Frances Gauthier of Honesdale, PA; Andre Gauthier (Sheree) of Gonzales, Lee Gauthier (Michelle) of Windsor, CO, and Brad Axelrod of New York City, Grandchildren, Chelsea Gauthier of Birmingham, AL, Austin Gauthier of Lafayette, Landon Gauthier of Gonzales, Maci Gauthier of Baton Rouge, Sam Axelrod of Philadelphia, PA, and Eve Axelrod of New York City, sisters Neva Lee Hebert of Larose, Sophie Lee Leblanc of Cut Off, and all her cherished nieces and nephews, the Lee “Gang”. Special thanks to Erin Dennis, trusted caregiver, Gwendolyn Fisher, compassionate nurse, Dr. Kelly Schmeeckle and the treatment team at the Woman’s Hospital Breast Pavillion, all her neighbors, and a very special neighbor and friend, Jessie Bourgeois, who always helped and looked-in on mom. Anne, thank you for your selfless and tireless devotion and self-sacrifice to give mom the best quality of life possible, and Andre, thank you for always being there for mom in every way, especially when she needed it most. Mom knew at every moment that she was loved. Pallbearers will be Greg Gauthier, Lee Gauthier, Landon Gauthier, Austin Gauthier, John Hebert, and John Delahoussaye. Honorary pallbearers will be Andre Gauthier, Jody Amedee, Sam Axelrod, Phil Delahoussaye, Marcel and David Fournet, Mark, James and Robert Hebert, Sam Mayeux Jr., Rusty Mayeux, and Jessie Bourgeois. Visitation at Ourso Funeral Home, 13533 Airline Hwy., Gonzales, from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM on Friday July 24 with Mass following at St. Theresa Catholic Church. Burial at Hope Haven Garden of Memory, 604 E. Hwy. 30, Gonzales. Reception following. Due to COVID-19, Ourso is limiting parlor capacity to 50-75 people at a time, and the church is limiting to 100 people. Masks will be provided for those without.

Services

  • Vistation

    Friday, July 24, 2020

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Friday, July 24, 2020

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Memories

Evelyn Lee Gauthier

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Frank Drake

August 14, 2020

Anne, Evelyn raised you to be just as spectacular as she was.
I can tell she was an optimist. May God grant her eternal rest in the place she desires.

Fernando Munoz

July 30, 2020

Ms G was one of the angels placed in my path by God to make me the man I am today. In 1979 I was still very unsure of myself. I had a very different ethnic type name, had immigrant parents, wasn't involved in sports and was a bit of a clown. Regardless, when I stepped foot in Ms G's math class she made made me feel like I could do anything, like if I were a smart kid ! It's hard to say what her magic touch was but I just feel like she showed me God's love. Anyway, when I left St Teresa and entered St. Amant high school I wasn't intimidated at all by a full load of honors classes. I was able to go on to college and today, I am blessed with a great family and career. A few years ago, I was on a business trip and decided on a whim to stop by my old school. I was sooo excited when the staff at St Teresa told Ms G was alive and doing well. With her address in hand, I went home and wrote her a hand written letter expressing my gratitude. I was worried she might not remember me but I few weeks later, I got a wonderful letter in return. Here I was , a 44 year old man and after reading her letter, I felt that same sense of confidence. Thank you Ms Evelyn for showing us how a good life is done. I look forward to seeing you one day in heaven and giving you a big hug of appreciation. God bless you.

Theresa Robbins

July 24, 2020

To a beautiful lady who saw strength in me I did not know I had and pushed my ability in learning. She did always correct me when I used a pen in Math. She taught all my daughters and they were blessed to have her as a teacher. I always loved her smile of acceptance and loving. To the family....She was loved by so many and she will be missed.

John Delahoussaye

July 24, 2020

Here is one little sister that's happy to see her.

Eric Melancon

July 23, 2020

I was a student of Ms. G in 1998 when she was teaching high school algebra to 8th graders. By teaching us Algebra early, students like me were able to place out of Algebra in 9th grade, which meant we could advance earlier than our peers in high school. What that advancement meant for me was that I would go on to take Calculus as a high school senior and place out of several credits in college before going to LSU.

Ms. G’s philosophy of demonstrating to her students the importance and value of advancing one’s education definitely had a profound impact on my life. That philosophy helped drive my pursuit of excellence during my high school education which led to my becoming valedictorian at EAHS in 2002. It would later translate into advanced placement credits earned at LSU, which would give me the ability to earn two degrees in Political Science and Economics in four years. That would later earn me the privilege of getting into Graduate School at Princeton University where I was able to earn my masters degree in Public Policy. That education has allowed me to advance my career in public service where I have gone on to support the US Military, the City of New Orleans, the New Orleans Police Department, and now the Baltimore Police Department.

None of that would have been possible without my education, but my education would not have been possible without excellent educators in my life. I, and others like me, will always be grateful to Ms. Gauthier for being such a foundational and formative teacher in our lives.

Joe and Bobbie Sevario

July 23, 2020

We are so sorry for your loss. Our deepest sympathies to all the family God Bless. Joe and Bobbie.

Micah Marchand

July 23, 2020

To this day I still remember her smile as well as the stern look when I was acting up... The epitome of grace and tough love. She pulled it off better than anyone. All the years she taught us math she would tell us how we would use it for the rest of our lives. I remember thinking, “yeah right. Who needs this stuff?” Well Mrs. G, per usual, you were correct. I entered my career not knowing what path I would take within it. Wouldn’t you know it, I would use math almost every single day and typically throughout the day. Using and teaching ballistics/MOA while engaging targets at long distance, Mrs. G would often pop up in my mind when I was training Soldiers. During my career I would tell my students on the ranges, and to my son to this day, something she said to me in the 8th grade. “If you did it right the first time, you wouldn’t have to do it again.”

Mrs. G was definitely one of the pillars of my life that made me successful. Thank you for everything you have given to us Mrs. G. Your amazing legacy is carried forward by so many.

Deneen Tullier Richard

July 23, 2020

Mrs. G was one of the BEST teachers I have ever had. She had such grace and patience with us all. She was a true lady who never revealed how long her hair really was, no matter how many times we asked her. She will truly be missed.

Melanie Chabarria

July 23, 2020

Ms. G was a wonderful lady! She taught my son at St. Theresa.

Tony Falterman

July 23, 2020

My deepest sympathies to the family.

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