It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that Ernest "Paul" Prejean, age 64, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, at Heritage Manor Nursing Home.
The family requests that visiting be held in the Lafond-Ardoin Funeral Home of Opelousas on Sunday, June 28, 2020 beginning at 9:00 AM followed by funeral services at 11:30 AM. Deacon Sammy Diesi will celebrate the service. Rite of Committal will be held at St. Bridget Church Cemetery in Lawtell, La.
Pallbearers will be James Prejean, Sean Courville, Greg Prejean, Pacey Courville, Tim Bourgeois and Cory Prejean.
In 1968, age 12, Paul attended the Irene Shute Day Care Center in the Opelousas Methodist Church.
At age 19, in 1975, he transferred to the recently built Opelousas Developmental Center where he was continued to learn self-development, social, and vocational skills. There he joined the Special Olympics and competed in Track & Field, bowling, horseshoes, and bocce (32 medals won). His work assignment there was housekeeping at ODC and Wildlife and Fisheries. Paul was known as the cold drink tab collector and his co-workers helped by saving their tabs for him each day. At one point, he had collected 35,000. (Family and friends also helped. There he had 42 co-workers plus staff. Paul was a member of a self-advocacy group and served as Sergeant of Arms.
In the year 2000, his Mom passed away and he went to live with his sister and her husband.
Paul attended the Evangeline ARC respite Center once per month and made more friends there.
Upon the state closing ODC, Paul transferred to the Arc of Acadiana in Grand Coteau in 2010. There he had 60 more friends to meet and blended in perfectly. There he continued learning vocational skills and worked at a resale shop in Church Point until he retired in 2015 due to his health.
In July of 2016, Paul was admitted to Heritage Manor in Opelousas due to the progression of his Alzheimer's for skill care.
His hobbies included: collecting music CDs and cold drink tabs. He loved going to Sunday mass, listening to his music, family dinners, festivals, restaurants and watching music videos.
His special smile was a characteristic he had to make people feel good and he will be missed by all.
Paul is survived by his sister, Loretta Richard and husband, Roland; his brothers, Bert Prejean and wife, Erika; Allen Prejean and wife, Joyce; his nieces, Nancee Courville, Nicki Hill, Lisa Babineaux and his nephews, James Prejean, Sean Courville and Greg Prejean. He is also survived by his great-nieces, Courtney Prejean, Ashely Babineaux, April Lalonde, Madison Prejean, Erin Fontenot, Katie Courville; great-nephews, Nicholas Hill, Jonathon Hill, Cory Prejean, Pacey Courville; step-nieces, Pam Baylin, Monette Evans; step-nephew, Bryce Evans; step-great-nieces, Madeline Evans, Brandi Newman, Brie' Parrot, Brantley Robert; three great-great nieces, four great-great nephews, two step-great-great nieces and two step-great-great nephews.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents, Hilton Paul Prejean and Mary Eunice Olivier Prejean and his sister, Mamie Lois Prejean.
A special note of gratitude to everyone who contributed to his happiness including his instructors, Social Counselors, Special Olympic coaches, Acadiana Special Volunteers, Evangeline ARC Respite Staff, Gulf Coast Social Services Staff, Heritage Manor of Opelousas Staff and GRACE Hospice for the loving care you gave Paul.
An extra special recognition to his primary physician, Dr. Hunt DeBlanc, for his exceptional medical care.
Family and friends are invited to sign the online guestbook and view the video memorial at www.lafondardoin.com.
LaFond-Ardoin Funeral Home of Opelousas, 2845 South Union Street, Opelousas, LA 70570 (337-942-2638) has been entrusted with the funeral arrangements.