Henry Bethard

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Henry William Bethard, III

Louisiana State Representative
for Red River Parish
Preceded by Lester Vetter
Succeeded by Samuel Moore Morgan, Jr.

Born December 9, 1924
Coushatta, Red River Parish
Died May 13, 2018 (aged 93)
Coushatta, Louisiana
Resting place Springville Cemetery in Coushatta
Nationality American
Political party Democrat / later Republican Party
Spouse(s) Olive Ann Guenard Bethard (married 1948-2012, her death)
Children Henry W. Bethard, IV (deceased)

Suzanne Bethard Hearne
James G. "Jim" Bethard
Robert E. Bethard

Residence Coushatta, Louisiana
Alma mater Louisiana State University

LSU Law Center

Occupation Lawyer

United States Navy in World War II

Religion United Methodist

Henry William Bethard, III (December 9, 1924 – May 13, 2018),[1] an attorney for sixty-eight years in his native Coushatta, Louisiana, represented Red River Parish in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1960 to 1964, during the second administration of Governor Jimmie Davis.[2]


Bethard was the son of the former Annie Shirley Edgerton (1897-1977), a Coushatta native, and the attorney Henry W. Bethard, Jr. (1898-1961), originally from Harrisonburg in Catahoula Parish in eastern Louisiana. The junior Bethard, a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, established his law practice in Coushatta in 1922.[3] Bethard, III, graduated from Coushatta High School in 1941.[1] In 1948, he joined his father's firm upon receipt of his Juris Doctor degree from the Louisiana State University Law Center in the capital city of Baton Rouge.[4] Among the father's civic roles were the chairmanships of the directors of the Bank of Coushatta and the commissioner of the Louisiana State Library, the latter position filled from 1947 to 1951. Bethard, Jr., was the legal counselor and secretary of the Red River - Bayou Pierre Levee District. He was a former vice president of the Red River Valley Improvement Association and served on the executive committee of the Louisiana Levee Board Association.[3]

From 1943 to 1945, Bethard, III, served in the United States Navy during World War II.[4]

Legal and political career

After joining his father's law firm in Coushatta, Bethard subsequently served as the Coushatta town attorney from 1956 to 1960 and 1964 to 1980, [5] usually without pay.[1]He was the village attorney for the nearby Hall Summit, Edgefield, and Martin communities in Red River Parish. From 1950 to 1964, when his one term in the legislature ended, he was like his father the attorney for the Red River - Bayou Pierre Levee and Drainage District. He has been an active member of the bar associations of Natchitoches and Red River parishes.[4]. Bethard worked to obtain an airport for Red River Parish and a port at Hanna on the Red River. He recruited Bodcaw Industries (since Idaho Industries) to Coushatta. He was a chairman of Coushatta's Industrial Development Committee and solicited the location of the former Sunbeam Manufacturing plant, which in its heyday in the 1970s employed as many as seven hundred persons. Bethard was a director of the Bank of Coushatta and a long-term member of the American Legion, the Coushatta Country Club, and the Springville Cemetery Committee. At the time of his death, he was the oldest member of the First United Methodist Church in Coushatta.[1].

As a representative, Bethard succeeded Lester Vetter, a former mayor of Coushatta who died in office with two months remaining in his second term as state representative. In 1962, Bethard went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the United States Constitution. He delivered a speech standing on the steps of Independence Hall.[1] The next year, he fell short in his primary bid for re-nomination in the primary election held on December 7, 1963, just three weeks after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Samuel Moore Morgan, Jr., who had run unsuccessfully for the position four years earlier against Lester Vetter,[6] led a five-candidate field. Bethard finished second and faced Morgan in a runoff contest on January 11, 1964. The Coushatta barber and landowner, Oneld Walter Driggers (1921-2011), a native of Saline in Bienville Parish,[7] finished in third place in the primary. Harvey Gates and L. S. Huckaby completed the field.[8] On January 11, 1964, Morgan won the runoff election for the state House held in conjunction with the Democratic gubernatorial showdown between Louisiana Public Service Commissioner John J. McKeithen and deLesseps Story Morrison, Sr., the former mayor of New Orleans. Morgan obtained 1,590 votes to Bethard's 1,531 votes.[9]Bethard's grandmother, Fannie M. Bethard (1874-1963) of Harrisonburg, Louisiana, died on Sunday, December 8, 1963, the day after the state primary election.[10][11]

In March 1980, Bethard was named an assistant district attorney for Red River Parish.[5]

Bethard married the former Olive Ann Guenard (August 2, 1927 – October 31, 2012), whom he called for the sixty-two years of their marriage "Sweetie Ann".[1] She was a daughter of James Hortaire Guenard, Sr., and the former Rubye Nelson. She was a native of Lake Providence in East Carroll Parish, though born across the Mississippi River in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The two met as students at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. There are two living Bethard sons, his law partners James G. and Robert E. Bethard,[12]and their wives, Florence and Rhoda, respectively, all of Coushatta. The Bethards' daughter, Suzanne B. Hearne, lives in Shreveport with her husband, Sanders Hearne. A third son, Henry Bethard, IV, is deceased.[13]

In his later years, Bethard was of counsel[12] with his grandsons, Benjamin T. Bethard and Henry Bethard, V, the latter of whom was born on June 16, 1982, in Shreveport and graduated from the historically black Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge. Both grandsons joined the firm in 2008.[14]

As of September 2014, Bethard, III, who served in the state House as a Democrat, and Bethard, V, were listed as Republican voters in Red River Parish.[15]

Bethard died at his Coushatta home at the age of ninety-three. Along with other family members, he is interred at Springville Cemetery off U.S. Highway 71 in Coushatta.[16]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Henry W. Bethard III. The Shreveport Times (May 15, 2018).
  2. Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2016: Red River Parish. house.louisiana.gov. Retrieved on July 12, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "H. W. Bethard Rites Today In Coushatta", The Shreveport Times, January 3, 1961, p. 6-C.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Henry W. Bethard, III. legaldirectories.com. Retrieved on September 6, 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Henry W. Bethard, III, v. State of Louisiana, through the Board of Trustees of the Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System. leagle.com (June 10, 1983). Retrieved on September 6, 2014.
  6. The Shreveport Times, December 7, 1959, p. 2-A
  7. Oneld Walter Driggers. rockettnettles.com. Retrieved on November 16, 2014.
  8. The Shreveport Times, December 8, 1963, p. 1.
  9. The Shreveport Times, January 12, 1964, p. 14-A.
  10. The Shreveport Times, December 9, 1963.
  11. Fannie M. Bethard. findagrave.com. Retrieved on November 17, 2014.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Law Offices of Bethard & Bethard, L.L.P.. goguild.com. Retrieved on September 6, 2014.
  13. Olive Bethard obituary. The Shreveport Times (November 2, 2012). Retrieved on September 6, 2014.
  14. Henry Bethard, V. legaldirectories.com. Retrieved on September 6, 2014.
  15. Henry Bethard, December 1924 and Henry Benard, June 1982. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on September 6, 2014.
  16. Henry William Bethard, Jr.. findagrave.com. Retrieved on September 6, 2014.