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 The Acadian Museum

Living Legends Program

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Living Legends

Willis* & Edith * Granger
Inducted on December 18, 2010

Willis* & Edith * Granger Willis Granger, one of 14 children, was born on February 4th, 1923 in Lafayette Parish to Alpheus “Mim” and Avela Granger. In 1933, the Granger family moved to Vermilion Parish where they sharecropped. Edith Marie Hebert Granger was born on August 5, 1925 in Perry, one of seven children from a family of sharecroppers. They met in 1942 and married at St. John’s Catholic Church in Henry. Willis was drafted into to U.S. Navy and stationed in Camp Perry, Virginia. Edith gave birth to her first child Harris in 1944 while her husband was stationed on the USS Catoctin, a flagship of the U.S. Navy.

Following the war, the family moved to Prairie Gregg where Willis worked as a field hand for farmers, including Brady Thibodeaux. Thereafter, they moved to Erath. He worked for Jefferson Island Salt Mine for 27 years. They had a total of 11 children: Harris, Weldon, Leona, Janice, Neil, Tommy, Lottie, Joey, Patrick, Billy and Tammy. Edith worked at Erath General Hospital for 10 years as a nurse’s assistant. Following his retirement from Diamond Crystal Salt Mine, the Granger’s moved to the W. Granger Stables and Farm where they lived for seven years until they relocated to Erath.

From the fields of Prairie Gregg to the salt mines of Jefferson Island, the Granger family fought against nearly impossible odds to forge a strong family unit whose 11 children include three Doctors of Physiology: Dr Harris Granger, Head of Physiology and Cardiology at Texas A&M University and Medical School; Dr Neal Granger, Head of the Department of Physiology, LSU; and Dr Joey Granger, Dept of Physiology, University of Mississippi Medical Center and current president of the American Society of Physiologist.

Their second son Weldon Granger graduated from ULL and later obtained a Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law. He resides in Houston, Texas where he owns and manages the law firm of JonesGranger, the largest firm in the U.S., specializing in federal litigation within the railway transportation industry. Further, he also serves as Chairman and CEO of Employee Benefits Systems, a national insurance company providing supplemental benefits to workers within the rail, aerospace and varied industries throughout the US. He was honored as the Outstanding Alumnus for ULL and as a Distinguished Attorney, the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys, serving as the Academy’s president.

The oldest daughter Leona Garmendia graduated in education from ULL and is presently a teacher in Houston, Texas where she has been recognized as “Teacher of Year in 2006.” Janice Granger, also a Houston resident, is active in running the Houston office of ReMax. Tommy Granger has been a leader in the oil field services industry and one of founders and President of Omega Services Industries which at one time had employed 1,200 employees. He is currently CEO and Chairman of the Board of Occupational Safety Training, Inc. as well as Medical and Safety Concepts, Inc. operating out of New Iberia, Louisiana and Katy, Texas. Lottie DelaGarza graduated with a degree in accounting from ULL and served for 32 years as Coordinator for the Facility Engineering Dept of Chevron. Patrick Granger is President of Global Marine USA. As principal owner and CEO, his company manufactures oil field modular quarters and living facilities for various offshore structures. Billy Granger is serving as Vice-President at Dynamic Industries. Tammey Conner graduated from ULL in with a degree in Sociology and for 20 years worked for the State of Louisiana as a social worker.

The legacy of having 11 children, 29 grandchildren and 21 great-children, all of whom are very successful in their academic and employment fields, serves as a lasting legacy of the Grangers who have traveled the world over with their children but continue to maintain their home in Erath.

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