Edward Cassidy, Jr.

JENNINGS – Services for Edward Thomas “Tom” Cassidy, Jr., 82, will be held on Friday, August 15, 2008 at 3 p.m. at Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church in Jennings with Msgr. Ronald Groth and Father Charles McMillan officiating. Mr. Cassidy departed this life peacefully on August 13, 2008 at American Legion Hospital of Crowley after a courageous battle with cancer. He died in the comfort and presence of God, his wife, Shirley, and their children. A rosary will be recited on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. by Betty LaGros, Catholic Daughter, and members of the Knights of Columbus. A scripture service will be held at 7 p.m. led by Deacon Ed McNalley. The interment will be in the Calvary Cemetery.

Tom was the eldest of five children born to Edward Thomas Cassidy, Sr. and Della Lucille Fontenot Cassidy. Tom grew up in Jennings in the time of the Great Depression, during which he learned the value of a dollar and a hard day’s work. At 82 years of age, he could still turn a shovel and produce bountiful flower and vegetable gardens, a chore that he learned in his youth which became a lifelong hobby and source of joy and accomplishment. Tom’s educational experience included a high school diploma from St. Joseph’s Seminary College in Covington, Louisiana and a Bachelor of Arts degree, in both history and fine arts, from Springhill College in Mobile, Alabama. Between his years of schooling, Tom was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1943 and served his country during World War II, where his ability to recite prayers and sing hymns in Latin earned him the privilege of serving as a Chaplain’s assistant. He received an Honorable Discharge in 1947 and returned to Jennings to continue his civilian life. Shortly thereafter, he met a good looking gal from Crowley, who could turn heads as well as carry a tune, and on October 25, 1952, he married Shirley Chambers. Their marriage, which produced seven children, grew in strength each year. This past year, they celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary. His life was filled with the love of family and friends and he loved nothing more than to visit and share life experiences among them. He was a free thinker who never tired of passing on the message of love and service to whomever would listen.

Tom was very active in civic, charitable, church, and professional organizations throughout his lifetime. Beginning in 1964, he served his community as a police juror, during which service, he was instrumental in getting a new courthouse built in the parish and, along with the late Gilbert Martin, personally planted many of the Oak and Bradford Pear trees that landscape the courthouse today. As chairman, he was successful in garnering sufficient public support for the Jeff Davis Parish Library. Tom has also been influential with the youth in the Jennings community, serving for many years as a little league baseball coach and a member of the Boy Scouts of America Parish Committee. In 1975, he helped reorganize and serve as captain of the Jennings Quarterback Club and he assisted in the formation of a new organization to promote recreation, education and tourism in Jennings, which efforts culminated in the Louisiana Oil and Gas Park and Museum Authority. As chairman of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Park, he was instrumental in the creation of the park facility presently located on Interstate 10, which provides a recreational spot for the community as well as a tourist stop for travelers. As a veteran of World War II, Tom was a member of the James O. Hall American Legion Post 19 for over 50 years. He served as an executive member of the Chamber of Commerce and, in 2003, he received the Jennings-McComb Award, Jennings highest distinction, which recognized him as an outstanding citizen who has made a significant impact, during his lifetime, on our community by exhibiting outstanding leadership in both business and community service. For these same reasons, Tom was also honored with the Local Legend Award the following year. Tom was tireless in his efforts to serve his church as well. Cassidy is a life-long member of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, where, for many years, he served as trustee of Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church and the OLI School Board. Tom served the parishioners of OLHC by teaching high school religion classes and RCIA, he further served for many years as a Lector, a Eucharistic minister, and the choir, in addition to ministering to the elderly and disabled in their homes and local hospitals. He attended the 11th Cursillo held at Prairie Rhonde. He was a proud Fourth Degree member of both the Jennings Council 2012 of the Knights of Columbus and the Msgr. Cramer’s Assembly Knights of Columbus. He would have celebrated his 64th year as a Fourth Degree Knight this year. In 1984, he was invested as a Knight in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, an order which supports the catholic church in the Holy Land, in recognition of his continuous faithful service to the church. Through his activities in this order, he was honored with a promotion to its highest rank, that of Knight Grand Cross. He also served as Chairperson of the Diocese of Lake Charles Finance Committee for twenty years through appointment from its first bishop, Bishop Jude Speyrer. Under the direction of the bishop, the Diocese of Lake Charles honored and bestowed upon him the title “Companion of Honor”. He was named the Diocese of Lake Charles Citizen of the Year for the year of 2002-2003. Tom worked in the banking, insurance and real estate industry for most of his life. He was a field representative for Cravins & Dargan Insurance Company for over 20 years and, in 1971, he was elected Senior Vice President and initial manager of the newly formed Jennings branch of American Bank. He was owner and CEO of Ed Cassidy Insurance and Real Estate Agency where he worked for many years alongside of his father and brother, and later several of his sons, until he retired. He loved boating, gardening and, unfortunately yard-work, where he taught his children that prayer and pulling weeds went hand in hand. Anyone who knew Tom, knew him to be a loving, generous and gentle man. His wisdom and wit were a treasure and his gift to those with whom he came into contact with. The family would like to express their sincere thanks to all health care providers who attended to Tom’s last illness, especially, Dr. Mulraj Katira, whose tireless efforts will not be forgotten.

Survivors include his wife, Shirley Chambers Cassidy; one daughter, Constance Cassidy Anzalone (Chuck); five sons, Edward Thomas Cassidy III (Mari), Timothy Michael Cassidy, Sr. (Debbie), Kenneth Patrick Cassidy (Julie), David Christian Cassidy, and Patrick Quinten Cassidy (Donna); one sibling, his only sister, Patricia Cassidy Orgeron; he is further survived by 22 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

Preceded in death by his father, Edward Thomas Cassidy, Sr., his mother, Della Lucille Fontenot Cassidy, and one son, Kevin Christopher Cassidy.

Pallbeares will be Cassidy’s five surviving sons, Ted, Tim, Ken, Christian and Patrick Cassidy and son-in-law, Dr. Charles Anzalone. Alter servers will be grandson, Lane Anzalone and great nephew Randall Schmid.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, August 14, 2008 from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. and Friday, August 15, 2008 from 10 a.m. until time of service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the OLI Library and Jefferson Davis Parish Library.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Matthews & Son Funeral Home of Jennings, La (337) 824-4420.

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