Rites set for former parish assessor

RAYNE – Funeral services will be Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 2 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Rayne for Russel Benoit Sr., 75, who passed away Wednesday, November 29, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Lafayette. Fr. George Vaniyepurackal will be officiating for the service.

Survivors include his wife, Sue Benoit of Rayne; six daughters, Dr. Tina and husband Dr. Rod Clark of Lafayette, Lisa and husband Randy Guilbeaux, of Houston, Texas, Melanie Landry of Lafayette, Janet and husband Guy Andrus of Katy, Texas., Laurie and husband Shawn Stoute of Lafayette and Diane Hopper of Shreveport; three sons, Russel (Rusty) and wife Mitzi Benoit Jr. of Branch, Wayne Hopper of Monroe and John and wife Kelli Hopper of Prairieville; 16 grandchildren; one great grand-daughter; one brother, Norbert Benoit of Rayne; and one sister, Marjorie Fisette.

Mr. Russel was preceded in death by his parents, Despilar and Emma Benoit; and one brother, J.D. Benoit.

Pallbearers for Mr. Benoit’s service will be Norbert Benoit, Jr., Justin Benoit, Dewayne Benoit, Jason Benoit, Seth Benoit, Miles Benoit, Sheriff Wayne Melancon and Kim Hayes.

The Honorary Pallbearers will be Retired Louisiana Assessors, Current members of the La. Assessor’s Association, Acadia Parish Assessor’s Office Staff, Grayson Hopper and Stewart Hopper.

Prior to his service in the Assessor’s office, Mr. Benoit was a building contractor and the owner and operator of Benoit’s Lumber Yard in Rayne, La.

Mr. Benoit was elected to the Rayne City Council prior to being elected as Acadia Parish Assessor in 1983. Mr. Benoit was elected to seven consecutive terms as Assessor. While Assessor, Mr. Benoit was responsible for computerizing the Assessor’s Office and implementing a digital mapping system for all Acadia Parish properties. He was presented with the Excellence in Implementation of Computer Technology award in 2003 in recognition of the leadership, innovation and implementation of computer technology for assessment purposes.

Mr. Benoit served as the President of the Louisiana Assessor’s Association in 2004. He was a certified Louisiana Assessor, member of the International Association of Assessing Officers, and was a past member of the Louisiana Assessor’s Association Legislative Committee and Constitutional Committee. He was instrumental in passing several important pieces of legislation that affected Louisiana Assessors and property owners such as the permanent homestead exemption, assessment freezes to benefit the elderly and the disabled and permanent use value applications to assist those in the agriculture business. Mr. Benoit was extremely proud of his accomplishments in the Assessor’s Office and enjoyed working for the people of Acadia Parish.

Visitation will be Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. in the funeral home chapel in Rayne, then Thursday, 8 a.m. until time of services. A Rosary will be recited at 7 in the evening on Wednesday in the funeral home chapel. Burial will be in St. Joseph #2 Mausoleum in Rayne under the direction of Duhon Funeral Home, L.L.C. of Rayne. Please send personal condolences to the family at www.duhonfuneralhome.com.

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