Leon Lonnie Southern
February 5, 1930 – March 25, 2021
Leon Lonnie Southern was born on February 5, 1930, in Castor, Louisiana, and died peacefully in Shreveport on March 25, 2021, in Shreveport. His sweet spirit, big heart, and ready laugh will be greatly missed.
Leon served in the U. S. Air Force from 1947-1951, then served in the Air Force Reserves for a further ten years. In the mid 1950s his sister introduced him to one of her co-workers, Mamie Dyess, who soon became the love of his life. They married in 1955. It was a package deal, however, and included three step-children under the age of ten, but he was up to the challenge. It was not long before a fourth child was born, the “apple of his eye.”
Family life was centered on the church, first at Highland Baptist, then later at First Baptist Church Shreveport. Education was also a priority, with all four kids graduating from college. Family life remained his highest priority, and he doted on his four grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.
Along with his wife Mamie, he started a small business, Southern Electronics, which they ran together until her death in 1998, and then until he closed the business and retired in 2005. He and Mamie traveled the world thanks to their successful sales for GE and RCA. Leon’s warm personality and sales acumen brought in clients from Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana, many of whom became long-standing friends. He was honored in 1997 by the Southwest Repcon Circle of Fame for services to the electronics industry. Outside of business, Leon was an avid sportsman. He had an early love of baseball and went with two friends to try out for the St. Louis Cardinals in the early 1950s. The three made a pact that if they weren’t all chosen, none of them would play for the team. Alas, only one was made an offer, so the three packed up and went home. Leon continued to play ball on regional teams but, over time, transferred his love of sports to a comfortable chair, from which he supported the LSU Tigers, the Dallas Cowboys, and the New Orleans Saints. He never missed the opportunity to give his grandsons advice on baseball, basketball, football, and even soccer.
Fishing was another favored sport. Leon spent many weekends fishing the waters of Toledo Bend with his father-in-law, M.B. Dyess. They were quite the pair. Sunday afternoons found him at his grill, frying fish for family and friends. Leon was preceded in death by his parents, Lonnie Southern and Eva Driggers Southern; his wife Mamie; step-daughter, Sherrie Hansen Baird; and sister, Jeanette Caskey. He is survived by his daughter, Susan Southern Sherwin (Bill) of Shreveport; step-son, Terry Hansen of Shreveport; step-daughter, Sheila Hansen Wilson of Waco TX; grandchildren,Bennett Reagan Bynum (Kelli), Bennett Bynum (Mackenzie), Holly Wilson Butler (André), and Joy Wilson Schneider (Berin); great-grandchildren, Jackson Bynum, Ryleigh Bynum, Mallory Metz, Emery Bynum, Maya Bynum, and Amy Bynum, Kayla Nichols Earl (Cameron), Braden Nichols, Morziah Nichols and Olivia Schneider; and great-great grandchild, Nicole Earl; and his cousins, Maurice Thrasher and Carol Jean Barron. A special family friend that has been close to Leon’s heart is his “adopted daughter” Megan Conway. The family expresses its sincere thanks to the staff and residents of The Towers at The Oaks, especially Sheila Lowe; and the staff of Christus Highland Hospital, including Dr. Richard Haynie, Dr. Charles Knight, and nurses Gail Behan and Shantanel Payne.
Visitation will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday, March 29, 2021, at Centuries Memorial Funeral Home, followed by a celebration of Leon’s life at 11:00 and a graveside commemoration. Serving as pallbearers will be Reagan Bynum, Bennett Bynum, Mark Wilson, Stith Bynum, Calvin Head, Terry Mitchell, and Jackson Bynum. David Condra, Maurice Trasher, James Dyess, and Bill Baird will be honorary pallbearers. Officiating will be Father Paul Martin of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Shreveport. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to St Jude’s or Shriners Hospitals for Children. Participants are requested to wear masks due to COVID-19.
- , Susan Southern Sherwin, Daughter
- Terry Hansen, Step-Son
- Sheila Hansen Wilson, Step-Daughter
- Reagan Bynum (Kelli),, Grandchild
- Bennett Bynum (Mackenzie), Grandchild
- Holly Wilson Butler (André, Grandchild
- Joy Wilson Schneider, Grandchild
- Jackson Bynum, Ryleigh Bynum, Mallory Metz, Emery Bynum, Great-grandchildren
- Maya Bynum, and Amy Bynum, Kayla Nichols Earl (Cameron), Braden Nichols, Morziah Nichols and Olivia Schneider, Great-grandchildren
- Nicole Earl, Great Great Grandchild
- Maurice Thrasher and Carol Jean Barron, Cousins
- Megan Conway, Special "Adopted Daughter"