Former legislator Melvin Irvin Jr. dies _lowres

Advocate Staff Photograph by Bill Feig. Picture shot on 7-30-91 Melvin Irvin Jr.

Former state Rep. and former Ascension Parish School Board President Melvin Irvin Jr. has died. He was 72.

During his life, Irvin was a high school math teacher, a Vulcan Chemical operator, a director at the Louisiana Superdome, real estate developer and legislator. He was the first African American to represent House District 58.

“He met no strangers; he was affable and comfortable around national figures, state office holders, and everyday citizens, not only in Gonzales but around the world,” said family friend Tanzie Jones.

Irvin died Saturday after battling cancer. Survivors include his wife, Nell, and children Edgar, Terance, Terrell, Marie, Tabitha and Delisa. He had 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

In the 1990s, Irvin was sentenced to six years in federal prison on a conviction of bribing two housing officials to get federal funds, tarnishing his service as a legislator. The conviction came during his second term in the House.

Visitation will be Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Hopeful Triumph Baptist Church in Darrow. Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Christian Assembly Full Gospel Church in Gonzales.

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