MAJOR LOUIS dePINGRE'
Submitted by Billy Hathorn
Major Louis dePingre’ (May 31, 1928 - September 19, 2007) was a former journalist and businessman in Minden, a small city of some 13,000 and the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana. He was particularly known for his History of the First Baptist Church of Minden, Louisiana, first published in 1969. First Baptist, Minden, was founded by George Washington Baines, the maternal great-grandfather of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who joined the congregation in a 1969 anniversary service. DePingre', a First Baptist deacon, handled the details for Johnson's visit to Minden.
DePingre' was born in Leesville, the seat of Vernon Parish in western Louisiana, to A.E. dePingre' and Madeline dePingre' (1894-1986). He was named "Major" because his mother had two uncles, Henry Kirby and Henry Stanley, who held the rank of major in the American Civil War. DePingre' dropped out of high school shortly before graduation to join the United States Navy. Thereafter, dePingre' sought to enroll at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge but had to get the approval of the Louisiana state superintendent of education, Shelby M. Jackson, to enroll in college because he had no high school equivalency. He graduated from LSU with a degree in journalism and minor fields in English and history. He was awarded his high school diploma consecutively with his college degree. At LSU, he was involved in the student newspaper, the Reveille.
In January 1956, dePingre' assumed the editorship of the Minden Press and the Webster Review (consolidated as Minden Press-Herald) under the publisher Tom Colten, who would later serve as mayor of Minden (1966-1974). DePingre' was also a correspondent for twelve years for both the Shreveport Times and the since defunct Shreveport Journal. In 1959, he was named the "Outstanding Young Man in Minden." He was listed in Who's Who in the South and Southwest. He was a former president of the Minden Junior Chamber of Commerce and was also the Louisiana state Jaycee vice president. In that capacity, he was designated the "Outstanding Vice President" in the entire United States. He was active in historical preservation and served as president of the Dorcheat Historical Association, which constructed the Dorcheat Historical Museum.
Thereafter, for twenty-two years, he operated Major Office Supply Company located near the Minden post office. He was president and co-owner, with his father-in-law, Alonzo B. Catron (1897-1984), and the attorney Henry G. Hobbs, of Meadowview Nursing Home in Minden. Meadowview was one of the first such facilities built in north Louisiana. DePingre' also owned the Meadowpark Nursing Home in Shreveport. He later sold his interest in both facilities. He was also president of Tremade Oil and Gas Investments.
DePingre' died in Shreveport of a lengthy illness. Services were held on September 21, 2007, at the First Baptist Church, with the pastor Wayne DuBose officiating. Interment was in Gardens of Memory Cemetery.
In addition to his parents, dePingre' was preceded in death by a sister, Margie Helen de Pingre’ and a son-in-law, Jim Willis. Survivors included his wife, Patricia "Pat" Catron dePingre’ of Minden; one son, Benny Louis dePingre’ and wife Jerri of Minden; one daughter, Margaret Ann Willis of Irving, Texas; four grandchildren; two brothers, Clarence Edward dePingre’ and wife Alma of Houston, Texas, and William dePingre’ and wife Charlsie of Shreveport.
Major dePingre' obituary, Minden Press-Herald, September 20, 2007
John Agan, "MPH story goes back more than 150 years", Minden Press-Herald, 2007
DePingre's History of the First Baptist Church of Minden, Monroe, Louisiana
Juanita Agan, Cameos of Minden, Major dePingre: A Man of Service
Social Security Death Index
Mrs. Pat dePingre' comments on the death of Lady Bird Johnson