WILLIAM BRYAN LIFE

 

William Bryan Life, known as Will Life (June 23, 1887 – October 2, 1972) was a businessman sometimes called  the “father of modern Minden.” He served on the Minden City Council during the early 1920s. His influence was felt throughout the community for a period of nearly seven decades.

 

Life resided in his native Minden for his entire life except for three years with the United States Army Signal Corps in France and Great Britain during World War I. He attended the former Minden Male Academy, which was located at what is now Academy Park near the Minden Church of Christ. He graduated from Minden High School in 1905, having been a member of the 1904 MHS baseball team.

 

From the time of his high school graduation, Life was associated with the former Webb Hardware Company, a business established in Minden in 1892 by Sam Webb.  Once a mainstay of the downtown community, Webb Hardware closed in the early 1980s, some nine years after Life’s death. The site is now the location of a photographic studio.

 

On June 23, 1972, the occasion of Life’s 85th birthday, Mayor Tom Colten proclaimed “Will Life Day” in Minden, and a celebration was held. Life was a member of the First Baptist Church of Minden, the Lions Club, and the American Legion.

 

Life was married to the former Johnye David. The couple had three daughters, Lillian Willis and husband, J.S. Willis, Jr.; Martha Life Jamieson and husband, William Pearce Jamieson (1923-1991) of Minden, and Mary Lou Life (July 24, 1925 -- February 14, 2008), a former faculty member at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. At the time of his death, Life was also surived by two brothers, O.R. Life of Bastrop in Morehouse Parish, and Arthur R. Life (1897-1990) of Rogers in Benton County in northwestern Arkansas; two sisters, Mrs. H.A. Davis, Sr., of Shreveport and Mrs. Roy Kuykendall of Minden, and three grandchildren.

 

Arthur Life’s son, Jim Life of Rogers was hence a paternal nephew of Will Life and also a maternal nephew of  Avis Farley Foret (1904-1984), a highly-regarded science teacher at Minden High School in the mid-20th century. Mrs. Foret, the sister-in-law of Arthur Life, spent her last years in Rogers, where she is interred, to be near Jim Life and his wife.

 

Will Life died in Minden Medical Center. He is interred at Minden Cemetery.

 

William L. Life, known as Will Life (June 23, 1887-October 1972), was from 1925 until his death the owner of the Webb Hardware store in downtown Minden. A former member of the Minden City Council, Life was sometimes known as the "father of modern Minden" because of his high profile local visibility and civic boosterism and leadership.
 
Life attended the former Minden Male Academy, which was located at what is now Academy Park. He graduated from Minden High School in 1905 and was a member of the 1904 basketball team. He resided in Minden his entire eighty-five years except during World War I, when he served for three years in the United States Army Signal Corps.
 
Life was married to the former Johnye David, and the couple lived at 713 Elm Street. They had three daughters, Lillian Life Willis, wife of J.S. Willis, Jr.; Martha Life Jamieson, wife of William Pearce Jamieson (ca. 1922-1991), a Minden Certified Public Accountant, and Miss Mary Lou Life (1925-2008), a member of the faculty at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Among Life's grandchildren are William Life Jamieson (born 1953) of Loudon, Tennessee, and Bonnie J. Koskie of Minden.
 
On June 23, 1972, four months before Life's death, Mayor Tom Colten proclaimed "Will Life Day" in Minden. 
 
The Lifes are interred at Minden Cemetery. 

Submitted by Billy Hathorn, Class of 1966

 

References

 

Social Security Death Index

 

William B. Life obituary, “Shreveport Times”, October 23, 1972, p. 12-A

 

‘’Minden Press Herald’’, June 21, 1972

 

Submitted by Billy  Hathorn, Class of 1966

 

                                                                    MR. LIFE WAS A VERY NICE MAN

 

Mr. Life was a very nice man. The summer after I finished high school, 1965, Mr. Life gave me a job at Webb Hardware. The pay was 55 cents/hour for a 60 hour week and I was thrilled to have some spending money. Sam Webb was a cousin of my Grandmother, Lucile Grigsby Drew, wife of Judge H.C.Drew.
 
I have a patient who grew up in north Caddo Parish. His dad was a deputy sheriff in the Vivian area and the time came for the area to pick a name for the town. Mr. Chanler had 2 aunts, one named Ada and the other named Ida. The family wanted to use a family name.  When the family got to checking Louisiana town names and found that Ada was taken, they then named the town Ida and it is still there today, Ida, Louisiana.  (just some Sunday evening trivia)
 
Thanks,
TD Carey
Ruston, LA
318-513-9400