The family of Willis Leo Hoffpauir Sr. will forever joyously recall that Uncle Leo left the party in his own time. It didn’t matter whether it was that final family gathering or his full, long life of 94.5 years. Leo was born in Gosport, Louisiana, on February 24, 1929, to parents Travis Benson Hoffpauir and Ruth Daily Hoffpauir. Leo died of a stroke he suffered August 10, 2023, although he didn’t succumb to the neurological and physical damages until August 30. The family sincerely thanks Harbor Hospice House for their compassionate and professional care,
Leo was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Shirley Jean Ginbey Hoffpauir, and siblings Margery Ruth Triplett, Travis Austin Hoffpauir, Larry Jimmie Hoffpauir, and Nettie Mae Hoffpauir. He is survived by his son Willis Leo Hoffpauir, Jr., of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and brother Ivy Lee Hoffpauir, of Needville, Texas. Several surviving nephews, nieces, and cousins mourn his passing, but rejoice in his life.
Please join the party at a Celebration of Life at 2:00 PM, Wednesday, September 6, 2023, at St. Luke/Simpson United Methodist Church. Visitation will be from 4:00-6:00 PM, Tuesday, September 5, 2023, at Johnson Funeral Home, and again at 1:00 PM until the start of the service at St. Luke/Simpson UMC. After the service, the burial will be at Prien Memorial Park Cemetery. Revs. Tracy L. MacKenzie and Amy Duhan Castro will share officiating duties.
Leo graduated from LaGrange High School in May of 1947. It would have been a year earlier had he not repeated the second grade for calling his teacher Miss Tant a red-headed devil. That was the story he repeated all his life. After two semesters studying Hydraulic Engineering at McNeese State University, he may have realized the USAF would pay to complete his education. He enlisted on June 15, 1948. After basic training and Heavy Equipment School, he was stationed on the island of Okinawa in Japan for 22 months with the 806 Engineering of the 20th Air Force. Fortunate to have avoided combat, he still told stories of near-miss accidents and dangerous conditions. Leo had advanced to sergeant and was offered another stripe and his dream of serving in Germany. Leo leaves parties in his own time. He was discharged June 14, 1952.
Leo started a lifetime of bowling three months later. He served as president of the Lake Charles Bowling Association for the 1960-61 season. He traveled and competed in twelve ABC Tournaments and 2 Peterson Classics. When neuropathy in his feet didn’t allow a stable approach to the lane, Leo decided to stop bowling at age 85 with an average of 185 (approx.). He left the party in his own time.
Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation hired Leo as a Utility Operator on March 26, 1953. He retired on August 1, 1983. He left that party because he wasn’t willing to learn about computers as the chemical plant was modernizing.
During his retirement, the party turned to the sport/art of golf. He enjoyed playing with and without his wife. Both switched sports in their retirements, as they had first met while bowling. Their courtship was initially kept secret as they would plan dates as they passed one another at the bowling alley. Leo and Shirley were married on August 8, 1959. The couple were charter members of, and first to marry at, St. Luke Methodist Church, now St. Luke/Simpson UMC. Leo and Shirley enjoyed traveling and golfing during their retirements. After his wife’s passing, Leo continued to golf until age 90. His handicap was 14. When a golfer begins to lose his balance, he knows it is time to leave that party.
Once married, and with the aid and expertise of his brother-in-law Earl Ginbey, now deceased, Leo began construction of a home on two acres of his father’s land south of Lake Charles. In 1960, the foundation was poured, and framing erected without power tools until public utilities could finally be provided. This house has hosted over 62 years of parties. Construction just completed, this house welcomed his wife and newborn son in January of 1961. This house was celebrated for surviving each hurricane season. Parties for Easters and Christmases, Thanksgivings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, this house has always welcomed family and friends in Christian fellowship. His wife died in this house. This was where he lived independently for 8 years. His son returned to this house to be with him for the last 4 and a half years of life. This is the house where Leo had his stroke. This time, God decided when Leo would leave the party.
Leo now parties again with Shirley, in a Heavenly Mansion built by their Savior Jesus Christ. The house that Leo built now passes to his son who promises in their memory to keep the party going as best he can.