Charles James Bourgeois passed away peacefully at his home, surrounded by his family on Friday, February 3, 2023. He was 92 years old and just eight weeks past the loss of his loving wife, Barbara. The inscription they chose for their headstone reads, “Live – Laugh – Love, We Did,” and indeed they did. They were married for 71 years and together formed a bond that held through the toughest of times and created infinite joy in their lives and those of many others. Charles and Barbara lived for each other, their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, leaving a legacy that will echo for generations to come.
Charles’ family lineage has been traced back to the early 1600’s, but his legacy began in 1930 when he was born to Dudley and Lelia Bourgeois of Iowa, Louisiana. He, his three brothers, and two sisters grew up on the farm where they raised cattle and farmed rice for many years. At the age of eighteen, he went to work for Micelle’s as a cattleman. He was indeed a real cowboy and later continued to spend his spare time working cattle, one of his many passions. Charles loved to share stories of life on the farm and “cowboying” with the family.
If you played baseball in Southwest Louisiana from the late sixties through the early-eighties, you stood a good chance that Charles was one of your umpires. He loved calling the games and was widely respected as one of the best in the area. For him, the games were always about the kids and ensuring fair play in a healthy environment.
Charles later went to work for Swift & Company where he spent 30 years, winning top sales awards for servicing customers from Beaumont, TX to Lafayette, LA, and every small town in between. He was well known, well liked, and trusted by his many clients. On retirement from Swift, Charles began a lawn service business. He enjoyed staying busy and the satisfaction that came with a hard day’s work. He continued this business with his friend, Jessie, into their early eighties.
Charles and his late wife Barbara were strong in faith and believed in doing for others. They were the rock on which many a person leaned during tough times and could always be counted on no matter the situation. He was a tough individual with a soft heart, especially for those in need.
The term “the last of his kind” applies in many ways to Charles. His siblings have all passed on, as well as most of his friends. He was truly a good man and strived to always do the right thing. He was well known in his community and truly a respected individual. He cared about others and always made an effort to know people and their families. This continued throughout his life without fail.
Charles was preceded in death by his parents Dudley and Lelia Bourgeois, his wife of 71 years, Barbara Teddlie Bourgeois, his grandson, Captain Brian Bourgeois USN, his sisters Ruth Bourgeois Johnson (Amos) and Nola Bourgeois Broussard (Gordon), and brothers Richard, DJ, and Kenneth. Left to cherish his memory are his children: Jimmy (Tracy), David (Marlene), Lisa Hanks (Donald), Scott (Pam), and Joey (Penni), along with sisters-in-law, Yvonne, Bert, and Christine. Charles leaves behind 12 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
A rosary will be held Monday, February 6th, at 6pm, at Johnson Funeral Home in Lake Charles, with visitation from 5PM-8PM. Funeral services will be at the same location on Tuesday, February 7th at 2PM, with visitation beginning at 12PM followed by burial at Lacassine Cemetery. The Rev. Aubrey Guilbeau will officiate.
The family would like to thank Heart of Hospice and his caregivers, Melissa and Sherri, for their loving care and support to our father and family.
Thank you, Dad, for all you have done and the awesome example of love shared in a life very well lived.