Rawlond Dupre passed away in peace surrounded by loved ones on November 7, 2023 at the age 89. To say he means the world to us is to understate the profound and indelible impact he wove into the fabric of our lives.
“Paw Paw”, as he is affectionately known – was a devoted husband to Emma Jean for 73 years, a son to Mandy and Jean Pierre, a brother to John Irving, a loving father to six beautiful children, a grandfather to 17, a great grandfather to 26 (with another great grandson on the way), a friend to many, a storyteller, a bilingual conversationalist equipped with a supreme gift of gab, a cowboy, a man of unwavering Faith, a stranger to none, a teacher, a Cajun, a lover of Louisiana cuisine, a breeder of hounds, a fierce negotiator, a craftsman, a horseman, a farmer, a comedian, a Louisiana legend. He was, and forever will be – love, wisdom, generosity, optimism, and strength personified.
Rawlond was born on January 13, 1934 to Mandy Soileau Dupre and Jean Pierre Dupre in Mamou, Louisiana. After finishing the 7th grade, he selflessly chose to forgo further formal education (though he taught himself how to read and continued his studies with the help of Emma Jean) to work with his father as a sharecropper in the heart of Acadiana in the years following the Great Depression to help his family make ends meet.
As a teenager, Rawlond met his soulmate and the love of his life, Emma Jean Dupre, at a dance hall near Mamou. They later had their first in-depth conversation under the canopy of a catalpa tree. Emma and Rawlond wed on October 7, 1950 and later moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana where he planted a catalpa tree in his barnyard to commemorate the consummation of their life-long bond. He worked at Ferguson Roofing, Morgan Roofing, and PPG with his first-born son, Junior, until his retirement. While at PPG, he was dubbed, “The Silver Fox”.
Rawlond and Emma were loving and devoted parents to six children. His son, Rawlond Jr. was a Louisiana State champion bull rider in 1969. At the rodeos, Paw Paw cheered him on, shouting, “Go tiger…Ride ‘em tiger!” He was equally supportive and devoted to all his children in their individual pursuits. He instilled in them a solid moral foundation, a respect for life, and a commitment to the family unit. He was a strict and demanding father to be sure, but he always acted with their best interests in mind – which invariably shaped them into the amazing humans they grew to be.
Paw Paw loved his animals and showed particular affection for his German Shepard, Queenie, who ate her food from his hands (a rare phenomenon for any of the countless animals he raised throughout his 89 years). Rawlond bred beagles for more than 50 years and was widely known throughout Louisiana and beyond for producing multiple field champions. His accomplishments were chronicled in an article in a popular magazine for his lifelong commitment to breeding and developing champions.
At the field trials, he yelled “Tally ho!” from the moment he released what appeared to be 33 beagles tethered to a single leash, encouraging his hounds to get to the front of the pack. After the trials, he loved coming home to Emma to show her the myriad trophies he won. Paw Paw was also an avid rabbit hunter who loved getting family and close friends, such as Zydeco legend “Boozoo” Chavis and Dr. Foret, together on his slice of Sportsman Paradise to hunt, talk shop, and cook.
He watched his barnyard like a hawk and scolded his grandkids for chasing his goats and mouflons in the dead heat of summer. His barnyard was a proving ground for all of us as adolescents – we got attacked by roosters, dodged countless piles of unidentifiable matter, chased his chickens, rode his cows and horses, and helped him harvest the fruits of his labor.
Rawlond and Emma attended hundreds of family events over the years to show their support for all of us. We cherish the trips he took with us to Arkansas, Colorado, New York, Canada, and Gulf Shores – the latter of which is where he confirmed our suspicions of his utter disdain for the concept of shorts. He was forced to showcase his legs that rarely saw the light of day. Suffice to say they were as blindingly white as the sand of the Emerald Coast.
He made friends wherever he went. Whether it was talking Cajun French with his buddies in Louisiana or whether he made people laugh with a silly joke or quip, he never met a stranger he could not find common ground with. To be sure, he left his mark on everyone that had the good fortune to cross his path, Paw Paw.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Jean Pierre and Mandy Soileau Dupre, his brother John Irving, his son Rawlond Dupre Jr., and his daughter Patsy Dupre Miller. Rawlond is survived by his daughters Jo Ann Droddy (Mitchell Droddy) and Darlene “Dee” Mary Baker (Lynn Baker), sons Kenneth Dupre (Judy Ann, partner), and Darryl Dupre (Leah Dupre) all of whom reside in Lake Charles, 17 grandchildren, and 26 (going on 27) great grandchildren.
Above all, Rawlond cherished spending time at home with his beloved Emma Jean. The love they forged is everlasting in the fabric of space and time. With great gratitude and love, thank you Rawlond Dupre for making this world a better place. May you rest in eternal peace.
On Sunday, November 12th visitation will be at Johnson Funeral Home from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (rosary at 6:00 pm). Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, November 13th at his favorite place to worship, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church and his final resting place on this earth will be at Consolata Cemetery. Visitation will begin at 9:00 AM on Monday and continue until leaving for the church at 10:30 AM. Pall bearers will be Brandon Miller, Eric Dupre, Ross Dupre, Jonah Dupre, Noah Dupre, Casey Dupre, and Justin Baker.