Louis Curet, philanthropist, Golden Deeds recipient and a great supporter of LSU, died Thursday evening of heart-related conditions, his daughter Jeanne James said.
James said she and her father, who was 88 and exercised seven days a week, had gone to an exercise class together at a local YMCA on Tuesday. He then attended two functions in downtown Baton Rouge that night, she said.
“He just embraced life with a great passion and joie de vivre,” James said.
She said her father, who earned his undergraduate and law degrees from LSU and who practiced law in Baton Rouge for more than 50 years before retiring in 2005, participated in an LSU graduation ceremony in May, where keynote speaker Stacia Haynie, dean of the LSU College of Humanities and Social Sciences, spoke of Curet’s devotion to LSU and to the Department of French Studies.
Curet, who taught himself French, founded the Friends of French Studies at LSU, James said.
Cliff Vannoy, president and chief executive officer of the LSU Alumni Association, said the Friends of French Studies organization established 13 professorships in LSU’s Department of French Studies, as well as scholarships for summer student intern programs in Barcelonnette, France.
“He was a great community leader,” Vannoy said.
Curet also recently had founded the A.B. Curet Scholarship for Agriculture in the LSU College of Agriculture in honor of his father, the late A.B. Curet, who had been the LSU Agricultural Center’s county agent in Pointe Coupee Parish for 40 years.
“Those at LSU who had the privilege of spending time with Mr. (Louis) Curet describe him as kind-hearted and a true gentleman,” said Sara Whittaker, senior director of communications and donor relations for the LSU Foundation. “He was a loyal alumnus with a philanthropic spirit, and his impact will continue to be felt for many years to come.”
Curet, a native of New Roads, served two years as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate Department in Roswell, New Mexico, before returning to Baton Rouge to earn his law degree from LSU in 1950.
Through his profession as an attorney, Curet was honored with a fellowship with the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and in 2004 was one of two named as distinguished attorneys by the Louisiana Bar Foundation.
Curet supported numerous organizations and charities over the years, including the LSU Foundation, LSU Alumni Association, Friends of the LSU Library, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Our Lady of the Lake Foundation, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Downtown Kiwanis Club, Sigma Chi Alumni Association, the Phi Delta Phi International Fraternity and the church he belonged to, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, his daughter said.
The Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center’s Louis Curet Volunteer Fundraiser Award was named in his honor because of his help in numerous fundraising efforts, said Todd Stevens, president and CEO of the center.
“He would never say ‘no,’ as long as what we were doing was a good thing and aided the community,” Stevens said.
In 2002, Curet was inducted into the LSU Alumni Hall of Distinction, and, following his retirement, he was the recipient of Baton Rouge’s 2006 Golden Deeds award.
“He just loved people. He greeted everybody with an outstretched hand,” James said.
Curet was married for 49 years to Jean Harvey Curet, who died in 2000. Their family includes their daughter, Jeanne, and her husband David McQuire James, the parents of four children, one of whom is deceased.
Funeral services for Curet will be held Monday, with visitation from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 2250 Main St., Baton Rouge, and a Mass of Christian burial to follow at 11 a.m. Interment will be at Roselawn Cemetery, 4045 North St., Baton Rouge.