Martin Van Vincent, 91, of Lake Charles, passed away peacefully in his home on May 31, 2023, surrounded by his loving family.
Martin was born on December 22, 1931, in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Amos Joseph Vincent and Rose Felicia Grove Vincent. He attended Landry Memorial High School where he was a four-year letterman in football, basketball, and track. Martin Van spent much of his childhood in Hackberry, Louisiana, at his grandfather, Dupre’ Vincent’s home. There he learned to work cattle with the family, where he developed his rodeo skills. Martin Van was a steer wrestler, rode bulls and saddle bronc, and fought bulls as a rodeo clown. He participated in the Louisiana High School Rodeo Association’s very first rodeo in 1950. Also, during his younger years in Cameron Parish, he developed his love of traditional Cajun music. Martin taught himself to play the French accordion and began playing dances when he was 14 years old. He played many parties and family gatherings with his wife, Joan, for many years. He played with several bands including the Pelican Ramblers, the Musical Five, the Lacassine Playboys, and he played many jam sessions with friends and other local bands. He also enjoyed frequent jam sessions with his grandsons and other family and friends. He has inspired many young musicians across Southwest Louisiana to continue the legacy of traditional Cajun music. People from all over Southwest Louisiana have enjoyed, listened to, and danced to his music for over 75 years. In May 1996 he performed with the Lacassine Playboys at the famed Liberty Theater in Eunice and in November 2004, he was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame.
Martin worked extremely hard so that all eight of his children could attend Catholic Schools, which was most important to him. Martin's primary trade craft was as a brick mason, but he was also an excellent carpenter and cabinet builder. Martin and his sons built many of the families’ homes from ground up to completion. Martin operated his first contracting business with his wife, Joan, where he developed many lifetime client friendships throughout Cameron and Calcasieu parishes. He worked for Alfred Miller Masonry Contracting for over 40 years as their General Superintendent, promoting quality craftsmanship throughout his career and overseeing the construction of many iconic buildings and monuments in the area. In 1982 he was awarded the Craftmanship Award by the American Institute of Architects in Lafayette, Louisiana for his excellent work on the construction of St. Thomas More High Catholic School.
Martin had many hobbies, but his favorites were shrimping and gardening, and like so many other things, he excelled at both. He used his craftsmanship skills to design and build several boats in his lifetime, including a fine shrimp boat where he spent many days with family and friends and catching shrimp. Martin loved working in his garden, and he was proud of his production. He loved to share his crops with his many relatives and friends. He was especially proud of his annual corn harvest, shucking, cutting, and preserving, which became an annual family tradition and quite productive. He also loved family cook-ups and anxiously anticipated the thought that all his family would gather and spend time enjoying the food and company of each other. Martin will be loved and missed for many, many years to come.
Martin married Helen Joan Kuttner Vincent on October 13, 1951, and was a loving and devoted father to their eight children. Joan passed away in 1974. After his brother in law’s (John Homer White) passing in 1987, he became a father figure to his sister’s (Rose Marie “Sis” Vincent White) eight children. In 1978, he married Grace Granger Jolie Vincent and became a devoted father to her three children, and they became his, and he loved them as his own. In 2005, Grace passed away. He married one last time, in 2006, to Letha Gaspard Cormier Vincent and yet again, became a loving and devoted father to her six sons, and they became his, and he loved them as his own. Letha passed away in 2014.
Martin lived his life with vigor in everything that he did, whether it was work, rodeo, playing music, shrimping, gardening, or spending time with the ones he loved. Martin instilled in his children the importance of a strong work ethic, personal responsibility, the Catholic Faith, and the importance of family. Martin was a true patriarch, and his character has impacted many lives.
Martin is preceded in death by three wives, Helen Joan Kuttner Vincent, mother of his 8 children; Grace Granger Jolie Vincent; and Letha Gaspard Cormier Vincent; his brother, Reverend Monsignor Amos Joseph Vincent II, and his sister, Rose Marie “Sis” Vincent White; his daughter, Kathleen Marie Vincent, and his step-son, Claude Jolie; three son-in-laws, Joey Camalo, Danny Doescher, and Greg Austin; his daughter-in-law, Kathy “Kat” Cormier; one grandchild, Jennifer Joan Vincent; and two great grandchildren, Eli Russel Williams and Noah Ray Vincent.
Martin is survived by seven of his children, Joan Jeannine “Jeanie” Vincent Savant (Ted), of Kinder; Virginia Sue Vincent Reed (David), of Grand Lake; Sally Ann Vincent Compton (Tom), of Hathaway; Martin Bryan Vincent (Susan), of Lake Charles; Amos Joseph Vincent III, of Lake Charles; Michael Dupra Vincent (Lynette), of Lafayette; and William Bruce ”Bill” Vincent (Lauren), of Lake Charles. He is also survived by eight step-children, Cynthia Jolie Austin, of Lake Charles; Eddie Jolie (Laurie), of Lake Charles; Randy Cormier, of Lake Charles; Neil Cormier (Lena), of Kingsville, Texas; Kermit Cormier (Yvonne), of Lake Charles; Gibson Cormier, of Dallas, Gordon Cormier, of Lake Charles; and Chris Cormier (Sandy), of Dallas. Martin also leaves behind one brother-in-law, Harvey Kuttner (Margaret), of Lake Charles and a very special life-long friend, Reverend Monsignor Charles J. Dubois. He will be loved and remembered by twenty-four grandchildren, thirty-six great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews, all who he left behind.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 1:00 pm on Monday, June 5, 2023, at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church. Interment services will follow in Consolata Cemetery under the direction of Johnson Funeral Home. Visitation Sunday, June 4, 2023, will be at Johnson Funeral Home from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, with a rosary at 6:00 pm. Visitation Monday will be from 10:00 am until leaving in procession to the church at 12:45 pm. A gathering of family and friends will follow the interment services at the Vincents’ Lakehouse at 3114 Henderson Bayou Road.
With immeasurable honor and the greatest respect, thirteen of Martin’s grandsons will carry him to his final resting place. Pallbearers for Martin’s service include Eric Savant, Evan Savant, Barry Reed, Ravelle Reed, John Thomas Compton, Christopher Compton, Matthew Vincent, Philip Vincent, Ricky Vincent, Logan Vincent, Martin Vincent, Jennings Vincent, and Casey Vincent.
Martin’s family extends their gratitude for the continued devotion and compassion of all the medical professionals that supported Martin during this difficult time, especially to Dr. John Digilia; Dr. King White; Dr. John Winterton; and Dr. Abu Shamat. We especially thank Patricia Joe “Trish” White for her loving care and support for over four years. We offer special thanks to his caregivers, Annette Thompson, Stacey Courville, Eugenie Tullos, Julie Parham and appreciate their loving patience and dedication. We would also like to thank LeeAnna’s Caregiving Service, Southern Home Health, and Heart of Hospice for their sympathy and mercy.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Christ the King Catholic Church.