Lawtell - A Mass of Christian Burial for Joseph Ryan Fontenot will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, December 15, 2023, at St. Bridget Catholic Church in Lawtell. Rev. Fr. Mark Ledoux will celebrate the Mass. Rite of Committal and interment will be held at St. Bridget Cemetery Mausoleum in Lawtell, LA.
Ryan Fontenot, a dedicated educator and advocate for education, passed away on December 12, 2023, at Ochsner Lafayette General Orthopedic Hospital in Lafayette, Louisiana, at the age of 86. He was born on August 12, 1937, in Plaisance, Louisiana, and was a lifelong resident of Lawtell, Louisiana.
Throughout his long and illustrious career in the field of education, Ryan made a significant impact on the lives of countless students. He held various leadership positions, including Director at Opelousas Development Center for 10 years, Superintendent at St. Landry Parish Schools for 4 years, Principal of Lawtell High School for an impressive 17 years, and Teacher at Leonville Elementary School for 7 years. He also served as a volunteer fireman with Lawtell Fire Department.
Ryan's passion for education extended far beyond the classroom. He obtained a master’s degree in education and furthered his commitment to his students by becoming a Notary Public. This allowed him to notarize their paperwork at no charge and provide them with valuable support. He was a past member of numerous educational organizations throughout the state. His dedication to his community extended beyond education as he also served in the U.S. Army, becoming a proud Veteran. He was a member of the American Legion Post 45 of Opelousas and the VFW Post of Opelousas. He was also a past member of the Elks Lodge in Opelousas where he visited with many of his friends.
He was a devout Catholic, a dedicated parishioner at St. Bridget Catholic Church in Lawtell. His devotion to Catholicism was evident through his daily recitation of the Rosary. He was a Third-Degree knight with the Knights of Columbus Council 5532 in Lawtell. He was known for his kind heart and generous spirit. He had a warm personality that endeared him to those around him. He found joy in spending time with his family and extended family, especially during the holidays. His love and dedication to his family were evident throughout his life.
In his leisure time, he was an avid hunter who cherished the times spent outdoors. He had a green thumb and took pleasure in vegetable gardening and his fruit trees. Cooking and BBQing for his family were some of his favorite activities. He had a love for reading and found great pleasure in solving word puzzles. During the year, he loved watching many LSU sports, his alma mater.
Ryan is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Lucille Joubert Fontenot of Lawtell; his sons, Philip Fontenot of Lawtell; David Fontenot and wife, Sunnie of Lawtell; and Billy Fontenot of Eunice; his sisters, Lucy St. Amand of Opelousas; and Jane Fontenot of Opelousas; sister-in-law, Judy D. Fontenot of Grand Prairie; a host of nieces , nephews, and extended family; and his granddaughter who was the apple of his eye, Amelie Claire Fontenot of Lawtell.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Youle Fontenot and Theresa Brown Fontenot; his brother, John Rayburn “Ray” Fontenot; and his brothers-in-law, Martin St. Amand and Bernel Fontenot.
Visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 14, 2023, in the Skip Montet Memorial Chapel at Lafond-Ardoin Funeral Home of Opelousas where friends and family can pay their respects. A Rosary service will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday evening in the funeral home. Visitation will continue from 8:00 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. on Friday, December 15, 2023, in Skip Montet Memorial Chapel at Lafond-Ardoin Funeral Home of Opelousas.
Pallbearers will be Garret Duplechain, Richard Joubert, Gary Miller, Donald St. Amand, Tony Fontenot, and Chris Fontenot.
Ryan Fontenot leaves behind a legacy of dedicated service to education, unwavering support for his students, and a profound impact on the lives of those he touched. He will be deeply missed by all who have the privilege of knowing him. May he rest in eternal peace.
Family and friends are invited to visit our website 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.