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Frank Godchaux III

Abbeville's legendary Frank Godchaux III passes

Frank Area Godchaux, III
February 05, 1927 - February 13, 2019

Abbeville-Frank Area Godchaux III, passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. Born in Nashville, Tennessee on February 5, 1927, he was the son of Mary Lawrence Ragland Godchaux and Frank Area Godchaux Jr. He is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Agnes Kirkpatrick Godchaux; four children, Katherine Area G. Derby (Joel), Mary Lawrence G. Wieck (Larry), Leslie Kirkpatrick Godchaux, and Frank Kirkpatrick Godchaux; grandchildren Sara Frances Derby Bruhnke (Ben), Elizabeth Derby, Joel Derby IV, Stephen Wieck (Whitney), Leigh Godchaux and Gus Godchaux; great grandchildren Frank Godchaux Vice, Parker Vice, and Emerson Bruhnke; and brother Charles Ragland Godchaux (Dolores). He was preceded in death by his brother, Lawrence Putnam Godchaux.

Frank graduated from St. John’s Military Academy, Delafield, Wisconsin, in 1944 and served in the U.S. Navy (1944-1946). Following his graduation from Vanderbilt University in 1949 with a degree in Business Administration, he joined the family business, Louisiana State Rice Milling Company, Inc., where he ultimately became president of the company. When the company merged with River Brand Rice Mill to form Riviana Foods, Inc., based in Houston, Texas, he became chairman of the board. In 1976 Colgate Palmolive Company acquired Riviana Foods and Frank was made vice president at Colgate. In 1986 Frank negotiated the buyback of Riviana Foods from Colgate and once again became chairman of the board until the company was sold in 2004 to Ebro Puleva. After founding the Abbeville Family Partnership, L.P. in 1994, he was able to partner with Elton Kennedy to form Planters Rice Mill, LLC, primarily to ensure the continued operation of the Abbeville rice mill which was the birthplace of the family’s rice business.

During his career he has received recognition on an industry-wide level. He was a member of the Food and Agriculture Organization Mission of Assistance to the Government of Thailand. He served as a member of the National Rice Advisory Committee of the USDA, president of the Rice Council for Market Development, director of The Rice Millers’ Association and member of the Commodity Credit Corporation Rice Advisory Committee of the USDA.
Frank also served on many company, community and organization boards which included The Ochsner Foundation, Director of the New Orleans Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Acadiana Television Corporation, The First National Bank, Lafayette, First Commerce Corporation, Chart House, Sysco Corporation, Coastal Inc., Board of Trust of Vanderbilt University and the Atlantic Salmon Federation.
Frank III continually showed his dedication to wildlife and conservation. Live Oak Plantation is the heart of the Godchaux family. Frank III and Godchaux Bros. have led the way to make Live Oak Plantation an integral habitat to native and migratory species of waterfowl and wildlife. Through this leadership, subsequent generations have and continue to act as devoted stewards of the land and its resources, maintaining active farming and intensive wildlife preservation.

An avid golfer, shooter and fly fisherman, Frank made many friends around the world as he pursued these interests. An active member of many clubs including Augusta National Golf Club, River Oaks Country Club, Thunderbird Country Club, Sunningdale Golf Club and Stock Farm Club, Frank was always looking to meet new people and share his love of these sports. He took great pride and enjoyment in sharing and teaching his children and grandchildren the joys of life, friends, family and sport.
Pallbearers are Stephen Wieck, Gus Godchaux, Mark Weinberger, Joel Derby III, Joel Derby IV, Ben Bruhnke, Paul Richey, Charles Payne and Lawrence Wieck. Honorary pallbearers are Charles R. Godchaux, Frank K. Godchaux, Pat Rose, Charles Sonnier, Emmett Putnam, Elton Kennedy, Thomas B. Lemann and BI Moody.

The Godchaux family wishes to express their gratitude to Charlotte Dubose, Murphy Landry, Gwen Fruge, Senior Helpers care givers, Dr. Dana Dicharry, MD, and Nursing Specialties, Inc. for their dedication, kind care and service.

A graveside service will be held at 1:00 pm, Saturday, February 16, 2019, at Graceland Cemetery, Abbeville, Louisiana. Reverend Madge McLain of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 101 E. Vermillion St., Abbeville, Louisiana 70510 or Ochsner Clinic Foundation, Philanthropy Department, 1514 Jefferson Highway, BH 607, New Orleans, Louisiana 70121 for The John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute.


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