Bossier City – Wendell Arthur Launius, aged 85, died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Tuesday, March 11, 2014.
A native of El Dorado, Arkansas, he joined the Air Force in 1946, and excelled in his duties, so much so that he rose to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant in the near record time of just over eleven years. Early in his career in the Air Force, he was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, during which time he met, fell in love with, and eloped in marriage to Susie Wright. They enjoyed 32 years together, and when she died at the age of 51, he declared her to be a “brave and gentle soul”. His marriage to Susie was very happy, and it was followed by another happy marriage to Dottie Stanley, who became “MeeMaw” to Wendell’s grandchildren. He was a devoted Presbyterian, having been a member of the John Knox Presbyterian Church (later renamed the Trinity Presbyterian Church) of Bossier City for 46 years. While a member, he served as Clerk of Session, sang in the choir, taught Sunday School, and even built the church’s electronic organ from a kit. He was an avid golfer for over fifty years, carrying a single digit handicap and rarely failing to break 80. At the age of 69, he “shot his age” by carding a 67 at the Barksdale Golf Course. His golfing buddies knew that he was cool under pressure, and he almost always came out ahead in their many matches. Though he did not graduate from high school, he later passed the GED for his diploma and also earned many college credits from LSU-Shreveport. He was extremely intelligent, and was skillful at mathematics, electronics, and every form of game: chess, checkers, cards, and dominoes. For a number of years, he moonlighted at poker games that were discreetly held in Shreveport, and his regular winnings helped put his children through college.
He will be remembered with pride and affection by his daughter, Bea Launius, a nurse practitioner in Bossier City; by his son, John Launius, a medical doctor in Carrollton, Texas, and John’s wife Lisa and children Sarah and Rachel; and by his son Tom Launius, a Presbyterian minister in Claremore, Oklahoma, and Tom’s wife Teri and children Katy and Taylor.
The family is grateful to the Louisiana War Veteran’s Home for their unfailing kindness to Wendell, and to those who sat with him and cared for him: Kendra, Kim, and Tracy.
Visitation will be at the Boone Funeral Home in Bossier City from 5 to 7 pm on Thursday, March 13, with Wendell’s service to be held on Friday, March 14 at 10 am at the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Bossier City, Rev. Bryan McDowell officiating. After the funeral, Wendell will be laid to rest next to his beloved Susie at the cemetery in Taylor, Louisiana.