FRED THOMAS ELZEN
Biography Edited by Billy Hathorn, Class of 1966
Photo compliments of Ann Mays Harlan. Class of 1958
Fred Thomas Elzen, Sr. (born 1921), is a retired businessman
and prominent civic leader in his native Minden, Louisiana. His parents came to
Minden from Syria and reared Elzen, his brother, and five sisters behind their
grocery store, which was located on a portion of the site now occupied by
the Minden Civic Center. On December 4, 2007, Elzen served as grand marshal of
the annual Minden Christmas parade sponsored by the Lions Club, of which he is a
Elzen graduated from Minden High School in 1939. He was self-employed as owner of Elzenís Grocery for more than twenty years. He served in the United States Army during World War II. He is a member of St. Paul Catholic Church and its men's organization, the Knights of Columbus.
In 1952, at the age of thirty-one, Elzen was selected as the Jaycee "Young Man of the Year". In addition to the Lions Club, he has been active in the Minden Riding Club and the Minden High Quarterback Club. For some two decades, Elzen served as announcer for the MHS football games. Still an avid golfer at the age of eighty-six, Elzen is a decades-long member of the Pine Hills Country Club in Minden.
Elzen was a member of the Minden Volunteer Fire Department and a charter member of the Minden Rescue Squad, on which he served for forty years. He was elected four times to the Minden City Council, having served from 1958-1974, when the city operated under the commission form of government. He was public utilities commissioner during the entire terms of Mayors Frank T. Norman (1958-1966) and Tom Colten (1966-1974). Elzen was defeated for a fifth term in 1974 by his former MHS classmate Felix R. Garrett (Class of 1938, 1922-1987). In 1978, Minden switched to its current mayor-council system with the executive mayor and the legislative single-member-district council seats, and Garrett was elected to one of the new council positions.
Elzen recalls that he, among his siblings, was "designated to run the local business; so I happily stayed in Minden. I've lived and loved here and will most likely will die here. Through the years, Iíve made many good friends. Minden is a wonderful place to raise a family, and I feel that itís just the greatest city in the world," he told the ''Minden Press-Herald''.
Elzen was married for more than sixty-three years to the former Doris Gruner (April 15, 1925 - January 15, 2006). He has three sons: Fred Jr. (MHS Class of 1962), Rodney (MHS Class of 1965), and Ken; five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
and ''Minden Press-Herald'', November 30, 2007