Dudley Duhon *
Inducted on November 12, 2005
Dudley Earl Duhon was born to local farmers, Victoran and Leonie Duhon on November 2, 1928. As a child, he spoke Cajun French as his primary language, learning English in elementary school. He graduated from Judice High School in 1946, attended SLI (now ULL) and graduated with a B.S. in Education in 1954. He later earned a Master's Degree plus 30 from LSU in 1964. In 1946, Mr. Duhon joined the Army and was assigned to the 25th Division, 27th Infantry Regiment in the Pacific Theater. He proudly served with World War II occupational forces in Osaka, Japan.
In 1950, he wedded the love of his life, Dorothy 'Dot' Bourque Duhon, to whom he was happily married for 63 years until her death in 2014. Having six children all close in age, Mr. Duhon's home remained a hive of activity for over half a century. He also maintained a fulfilling career in education that spanned 32 years. In the 1960s he taught biology and chemistry at Lafayette High School and later became a supervisor with the Lafayette Parish School Board. He retired in 1984 and was elected to the Lafayette Parish School Board in 1986, serving as board president during part of his four-year tenure.
Enduring strong opposition from some of his fellow board members, the Chamber of Commerce and the Police Jury, Mr. Duhon fought tenaciously to reduce what he believed to be a bloated and unwieldy school board and ultimately was successful in getting the number of seats reduced from 14 to 9 members. His influence inspired multiple other organizations to reduce the size of their committees as well. He was an active member and past president of the Lafayette Parish Retired Teachers Association, a former president of the Lafayette Parish Recreation Committee, and a former president of the Louisiana State Association of Child Welfare and Attendance.
Mr. Duhon worked diligently for his community for decades and was enthusiastically involved in many civic and church groups. He was a charter member of V.F.W. Post 9822 in Judice and a former chairman of the Lafayette Schools Federal Credit Union. As one of the original founders of St. Basil Catholic Church in Judice, Mr. Duhon was elected as the first president of the St. Basil Men's Club in the 1970's. Under his leadership, the organization created the much needed Lafayette Water District South and Judice Volunteer Fire Department. Taking pride in his Cajun ancestry, Mr. Duhon served as president of La Maison de Duhon and was also on the board of the Confederation of Associations of Families Acadien (CAFA) since its formation. The CAFA was instrumental in uniting Acadien families in preparation for the inaugural Congress Mondial in Louisiana in 1999.
Since 1987, Mr. Duhon and his family have served as volunteer "des Amis" for Festival International de Louisiane, spending countless joyful hours assisting and entertaining Francophone musicians from around the world. He delighted in introducing the artists to true Cajun hospitality, treating them to delicious home-cooked meals at his own table and sometimes livening things up with impromptu jam sessions.
The work ethic, integrity, sense of humor, appreciation for music and unconditional love that Duhon has for family and friends was known far and wide.