John Lavarine Jr., who spent 18 years on the Kenner City Council and then another eight years on the Jefferson Parish Council, died Friday. He was 78.
Lavarine, a Republican, represented District 2 in Kenner from 1978 to 1996 and then District 5 in Jefferson Parish from 1996 to 2004.
During his stint on Kenner’s council, he won two re-election races easily and on two other occasions was unopposed to retain his seat, a news release from the city said.
Lavarine won handily the one time he ran for re-election to his District 5 seat in Jefferson Parish.
“He was just a tremendous person, an extremely devoted Catholic ... and a true public servant,” said a statement from Lavarine’s son, John Lavarine III, who was a Kenner councilman himself from 1996 to 2006.
A statement from former Kenner Mayor Ed Muniz — who worked with Lavarine both in Kenner and in Jefferson Parish — said Lavarine’s dedication to public service “will be greatly missed.”
Term limits prevented Lavarine from serving longer as the Jefferson council’s District 5 representative. He sought an at-large seat but fell short of the runoff. He then considered a run to become Kenner’s mayor, but he opted to spend more time with his family instead of pursuing another political office.
Before becoming a politician, Lavarine was a petty officer in the U.S. Navy, serving during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, the Kenner news release said.
He was a member of the Kenner Lions Club, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, among other groups.
Lavarine III said his father was a devoted Catholic and parishioner of Divine Providence and Most Holy Trinity churches.
Survivors include his wife, Jacquelyn Ford Lavarine; four sons, John, Michael, David and Darren Lavarine; a daughter, Anne Marie Bagley; a sister, Mary Lavarine; 16 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending.