Gilbert Lynel "Gil" Dozier (1934-2013) passed away peacefully on September 23rd at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. He was 79 years young. He is survived by his beloved companion of over 20 years, Treva Tidwell. For the last several years he enjoyed life closer to the cattle ranch in the rolling hills of St. Francisville, but he spent the majority of his life in Baton Rouge where he practiced law and maintained his business interests until his retirement. All five children survive him: Susan Laborde and husband Robert, Denise Dupre and husband Greg, Leslie Dozier, Carrie Johns, and Gilbert H. Dozier and wife Kelly. He was also the proud "Papa" to fifteen grandchildren, all of whom were blessed by his active interest in their lives: Emily Laborde McGowan and husband David, Jeanne-Marie Laborde, Monique Laborde, Matthew Dupre and wife Tara, Seth Dupre, Jacob Dupre, Kyle Johns, Josh Johns, Garrett Johns, Hunter Johns, Grant Dozier, Lauren Dozier, Camille Dozier, Avery Dozier, and Conner Bown. He had one great granddaughter, Jeanne-Vienne Dupre. His only brother, so dear to him, Rufus Dozier and wife Joyce as well as his nephew Kenneth Dozier and nieces Paige Grimes and Melinda Hildebrand also survive him. From all over the state, countless cousins and relatives will remember him. Gilbert L. Dozier, son of A J Dozier and Sylvia Hennigan Dozier, was born and raised in Fields, Louisiana. The son of two rural educators, he was instilled with a love for his native Beauregard parish, the land and people of Louisiana, hard work, and a sustaining keenness for reading, knowing full well the value of an education, formal and otherwise. He had plenty of both. A graduate (1955) of ULL (then Southwestern Louisiana Institute) where he was an all-conference basketball player and served in ROTC, he enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served for eight years, rising to the rank of Lt Colonel. After his initial training in North Carolina, he was stationed in California. A pilot at age 24, he was an air craft commander in the military transport service and flew missions in the aftermath of the Korean Conflict to Korea, Japan, Hawaii, Southeast Asia and north to the Bering Strait. His proud service to his country was without reservation. He married Jean Helen Kirkland of Plaquemine in 1955 and together they raised five children, two born on Air Force bases in California, three born in Baton Rouge. Many opportunities shaped his public career. He taught ROTC at LSU, while earning his law degree at night from LSU Law School. From his youth, he was immersed in Louisiana politics. In Baton Rouge at age ten, he served as an errand boy and later as a legislative page for his grandfather, Senator Gilbert Franklin Hennigan, who was in office from 1944 to 1956. This experience no doubt led later in life to his appointment as campaign manager for United States Senator, Allen J. Ellender, president pro-temp in 1971. At the same time, he practiced law on Third Street in downtown Baton Rouge, invested in Louisiana as a land developer, maintained cattle and horses for pleasure and business, speculated on gas, oil, and mineral rights, enjoyed flying his Beechcraft Baron, and continued his active interest in state politics. After running for Public Service Commissioner in 1974, he then was elected and served as Louisiana's State Commissioner of Agriculture from 1976 to 1980. From the earliest age, he was passionate about the lifestyle of the cowboy, riding horses to round up livestock, and the lifestyle of the gentleman farmer. He was fortunate to enjoy both. He commercially farmed thousands of acres for over three decades, including Meade Plantation in Rapides Parish and Little River Farms in Avoyelles Parish. Gil Dozier loved life and was a naturally optimistic soul. He remained that way even when facing the limitations of heart disease and stroke. His passions were contagious, his ability to take calculated risks breathtaking, and his keen intellect was matched only by his insights and deepest generosity. Enjoying the expectation of new vistas was his insatiable desire. He was an avid outdoorsman, sharing his love of nature and deer and duck hunting with his children, especially his son Gilbert and his grandsons Matthew Dupre and Grant Dozier. He delighted in the company of all his grandchildren and often shared gifts and educational trips with them. At heart, he was a person who loved the simple pleasures of life-a bowl of butter pecan ice cream or a second helping of pie, a comfortable chair, a good book, a fragrant cigar, conversation with an old friend, a well written letter or turn of phrase, the crackle of a roaring fire, a noisy game of "winner take all" dominoes, morning coffee in bed, a riddle or a silly inside joke, a good laugh. He was particularly fond of reminiscing about his boyhood, teenage years, and early experiences as a pilot, and proudly sharing his genealogy and hardscrabble ancestry with his children and grandchildren He wrote letters in long hand up until his death and did not stop traveling until he could no longer walk safely. His last trip was in June to western North Carolina to celebrate the wedding of his first granddaughter, Emily Claire. He loved the cool breezes there as well as the open air of the American West and Canada, where he enjoyed his passion of fly-fishing. Never one to shy away from a challenge or a legal battle, he persevered in many arenas in the face of daunting odds. He played many roles in his time upon life's stage. We remember him as father, brother, husband, friend, fishing buddy, conservationist, attorney, rancher, farmer, ardent traveler, mentor, advisor, teacher, protector, benefactor, sportsman, and worthy adversary. He was admired and loved and his influence will be missed for years to come. His family celebrates his long life and wishes to invite friends and extended family to the memorial service at Rabenhorst Funeral Home, 825 Government Street, Baton Rouge on Saturday, September 28, at noon, with visitation beginning at 10:00am. Pallbearers are his nine grandsons named above. The family will attend a private internment at a family gravesite at Newlin Cemetery in Singer, Louisiana. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made either to LSU School of Veterinary Medicine's Equine Fund: Louisiana State University, School of Veterinary Medicine, Skip Bertman Drive, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803 Attn: Advancement Coordinator, Or to Wounded Warrior Project PO Box 758517 Topeka, Kansas 66675 (online at www.woundedwarriorproject.org) in memory of Lt. Colonel Gilbert L. Dozier, USAF. Sign the online guest book at www.rabenhorst.com
Published in The Advocate from September 25 to September 26, 2013
Athletic Network Footnote:
Please click on www.athleticnetwork.net , Photo Gallery, Men's Basketball, then the years 1952-56 to view photos of Gil and his teammates.