Donald G. Bollinger

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Donald George Bollinger


State Chairman of the
Louisiana Republican Party
Preceded by George Despot
Succeeded by William A. Nungesser

Born April 19, 1915
Raceland, Lafourche Parish
Died May 13, 2000 (aged 85)
Raceland, Louisiana
Resting place Holy Savior Church Cemetery in Lockport, Louisiana
Spouse(s) (1) Doris Toups Bollinger (died 1986)

(2) Fanella Lalande Bollinger (died 1988)
(3) Patricia Boudreaux Bollinger

Children From first marriage:

Donald Thomas "Boysie" Bollinger
Charlotte Bollinger
Andrea Bollinger
Parents:
George I. Bollinger
Etienette Daviet Bollinger

Residence Lockport, Lafourche Parish
Alma mater Lockport High School
Occupation Shipbuilder
Religion Roman Catholic

Donald George Bollinger (April 19, 1915 – May 13, 2000) was the founder of Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, Louisiana, who was from 1986 to 1988 the state chairman of the Republican Party. He was affectionately called "the Happy Republican."[1]

Biography

After Bollinger graduated in 1932 amid the Great Depression from Lockport High School, now Central Lafourche High School, his father, George I. Bollinger, taught him and his three brothers, Dick, George, and Ralph, the mechanics of shipbuilding. Alex Barker, the senior Bollinger's employer, became a mentor to young Donald. In 1946, Bollinger launched his own business, Bollinger Machine Shop, now Bollinger Shipyards on Bayou Lafourche south of Lockport, along with help from his brothers, who returned from service in World War II.[1]

In 1979, Bollinger contributed $73,000 either individually or through his shipbuilding enterprises to Republican gubernatorial candidate then U.S. Representative David C. Treen of Louisiana's 3rd congressional district.[2] In 1980, he joined the Treen administration, the first Republican governorship since Reconstruction as the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections, a member of the governor's cabinet.[1]

In 1986, he became the state Republican chairman in a divisive campaign that unseated the seven-year incumbent, George Despot, an oilman from Shreveport. In 1986, under Bollinger's tutelage, the Louisiana GOP failed to elect U.S. Representative William Henson Moore of Louisiana's 6th congressional district to succeed the retiring Democratic U.S. Senator Russell Long. Instead victory went to Long's preferred successor, fellow Democrat John Breaux, who held the seat for another eighteen years before it was finally won by a Republican, David Vitter in 2004. Bollinger stepped down as chairman in 1988 and was succeeded by another veteran of the Treen administration, William A. Nungesser of New Orleans. Nungesser's son, Billy Nungesser, became president of Plaquemines Parish and in 2016 the lieutenant governor. Coincidentally, Nungesser's company, General Marine and Catering, serviced the offshore industry for which Bollinger built the ships.

Bollinger was a member of Lions International,[3] the Holy Savior Catholic Church in Lockport, and the Catholic men's organization, the Knights of Columbus. Pope Paul VI awarded him the Papal Medal. Bollinger remained active in his Gulf Coast marine businesses until his retirement in 1989.

Bollinger was married three times, to Doris Toups Bollinger (1913-1986), to Fanella Lalande Bollinger (died 1988) and Patricia Boudreaux Bollinger. He is interred alongside his first wife at Holy Savior Church Cemetery in Lockport.[4]

The Donald G. Bollinger Memorial Student Union at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux in Lafourche Parish is named in his honor.[5]

Donald and Doris Bollinger had two daughters, Charlotte Bollinger (born 1947) and Andrea Bollinger (born c. 1951), one son, Donald Thomas Bollinger, known as "Boysie" Bollinger (born September 11, 1949), who became the chairman and chief executive officer of Bollinger Shipyards. Boysie Bollinger, a Moderate Republican, was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. He supported Democrat former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and cut a television commercial in 2014 for Landrieu in her unsuccessful bid for a fourth term against the Republican U.S. Representative Bill Cassidy, another Moderate Republican.[6]

In 2016, Boysie Bollinger was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.[7]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Our founder: Donald G. Bollinger. bollingershipyards.com. Retrieved on May 26, 2014; material no longer on-line.
  2. Shreveport Journal, March 6, 1980, p. 1.
  3. Bollinger, Donald George. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved on February 4, 2021.
  4. Bollinger in Louisiana. findagrave.com. Retrieved on February 4, 2021.
  5. Donald G. Bollinger Memorial Student Union. Nicholls State University. Retrieved on February 4, 2021.
  6. "Shipbuilder Bollinger makes splash with pro-Mary Landrieu commercial, bayoubuzz, April 30, 2014.
  7. Political Hall of Fame: 2016. lapoliticalmuseum.com. Retrieved on February 4, 2021.