Last modified on December 19, 2020, at 12:18

George B. Holstead

George Burnham Holstead, Jr.​

Louisiana State Representative for District 12 (Lincoln Parish)​
In office
1964​ – 1980​
Preceded by Laurice Dean "Buddy" Napper
Succeeded by Joe Bleich ​

Born July 31, 1924​
Ruston, Lincoln Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died December 27, 2002 (aged 78)
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Mary Ellen Cochran Holstead​
Children Nancy H. Vascocu

Helene H. Shaw
​ Kate H. Graham
​ George B. Holstead, III ​
John Burnham and Elizabeth Tanner Holstead​

Alma mater Louisiana Tech University

Louisiana State University Law Center

Occupation Attorney
Religion United Methodist

George Burnham Holstead, Jr. (July 31, 1924 – December 27, 2002), was an attorney in Ruston, Louisiana, who was a Democraticstate representative from 1964 to 1980.[1]

Pioneer family

Holstead was descended from a pioneer family in Lincoln Parish. His paternal grandfather, John Burnham Holstead, was born on December 18, 1849, in Bienville Parish and settled as a young man in Farmerville in Union Parish, where he became the editor of the newspaper, The Junior Record. In 1874, he moved to the community of Vienna in Lincoln Parish near Ruston to assume operations of The Vienna Sentinel.[2] He was married to the former Elizabeth T. Tanner (1868–1934).

Meanwhile, the self-educated John B. Holstead studied law independently by reading in the library of an attorney in Vienna. In 1878, at the age of twenty-nine, he was admitted to the practice of law. John B. and Elizabeth Holstead had two daughters, Kay (born 1878) and Bernice Holstead (born 1882). The family moved to Ruston in 1884, and two sons followed, Clyde B. Holstead (1886–1937) and George B. Holstead, Sr. (1895-1946). John B. Holstead had a successful law practice in Ruston, and in 1912, he was elected judge of the 4th Judicial District (now 3rd District) and served until 1916. He was one of the founders of Louisiana Tech University, established in 1894 as Louisiana Polytechnic Institute. Holstead died at his Ruston residence. He was married the former Lois Oliver (1895–1993).[3] In addition to Clyde and George, Jr., the couple had an older son, James Oliver Holstead, who died in Dallas, Texas.[2]

Early years

George Holstead, Jr., attended Louisiana State University for a year after high school and then enlisted in Shreveport in the United States Army. He served in the Air Corps, the forerunner of the Air Force, as part of the 63rd Bomb Squadron, Fifth Air Force, with action in the Pacific Theater of Operation]. He was also a pilot during much of his adult life. After military service, Holstead returned to Louisiana Tech, where he was an outstanding track and field athlete, having won the conference championship in the 100- and 220-yard dashes. He was an invited participant in the 1948 Olympic trials held in New Orleans].[2]

Holstead obtained his law degree in 1951 from the Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge.[2] Among his law school classmates were future U.S. Representative Gillis Long of Louisiana's former 8th congressional district, and state Representatives Lloyd George Teekell, also like Gillis Long a resident of Alexandria, and Risley C. Triche of Napoleonville in Assumption Parish.[4]

Legislative service

Holstead's legislative tenure in District 12, which became a single-member district in 1972, corresponded with the administration of Governors John J. McKeithen and the first two of four nonconsecutive terms of Edwin Edwards. Holstead succeeded Laurice Dean "Buddy" Napper, a Ruston attorney and a former semi-professional baseball player, who served from 1952 to 1964. In 1980, Joe Bleich of Ruston assumed the House seat, but he resigned in 1983[1] to become an associate justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court for Place 4. Bleich was unseated, however, in 1996 by the Republican state district court Judge Chet D. Traylor, originally from Winnsboro in Franklin Parish.[5]

During his latter tenure, Holstead was the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He was instrumental in obtaining state appropriations to foster the growth of his '[alma mater, Louisiana Tech, and nearby historically black Grambling State University in Grambling, also in Lincoln Parish.[2]

Family and death

​George Holstead, Jr., married the former Mary Ellen Cochran (1928-2004); the couple had four children: Nancy H. Vascocu and husband, Norman Jerome Vascocu (both born 1948), Helene H. Shaw of Monroe, Kate Graham and husband Danny of Ruston, and George B. Holstead, III, and wife, Sandy, of Mercer Island, Washington, and thirteen grandchildren.[2]

Holstead's son-in-law, Jerome Vascocu, originally from Minden and a 1966 honor graduate of Minden (Louisiana) High School, is the former president and chief executive officer of Richland State Bancorp, Inc., in Rayville in Richland Parish. He sits on the boards of Business First Bank (Louisiana) and Business First Bancshares, Inc.[6] Like his father-in-law, Vascocu was a track star at Louisiana Tech; he previously participated in track and field at Minden (Louisiana) High School as well. Vascocu ran on the Louisiana Tech 440-yard and relay teams.[7]

Holstead died at the age of seventy-eight of respiratory complications at Lincoln General Hospital in Ruston. Services were held on December 29, 2002, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Ruston, where he was a member. Interment was at Greenwood Cemetery in Ruston.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2020 (Lincoln Parish). Louisiana House of Representatives (May 21, 2019). Retrieved on October 24, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Descendants of Lemuel Holstead. Retrieved on April 25, 2010.
  3. Greenwood Cemetery records, Ruston, Louisiana.
  4. Louisiana State University Gumbo yearbook. (1951). Retrieved on July 3, 2013.
  5. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, September 21, 1996.
  6. N. Jerome Vascocu, Former President and Chief Executive Officer at Richland State Bancorp, Inc.. Retrieved on October 24, 2019.
  7. Louisiana Tech Lagniappe yearbook, 1970, pp. 410-411.

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