John J. Doles, Sr.

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John Jones Doles, Sr.

Louisiana State Senator for current District 36 (then unnumbered and encompassing Bossier
and Webster parishes)
In office
Preceded by Drayton Boucher
Succeeded by Herman "Wimpy" Jones

President of the Louisiana Bankers Association
In office
Preceded by Lewis Gottlieb

of Baton Rouge

Succeeded by W. McKerall O'Niel

of St. Mary Parish

Born April 26, 1895
Plain Dealing, Bossier Parish, Louisiana
Died September 14, 1970 (aged) 75)
Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Madge Wyche Doles
Relations Judge Monty Wyche
Children John J. Doles, Jr.
Residence Plain Dealing, Louisiana
Alma mater Plain Dealing High School

Louisiana State University

Occupation Banker
Religion Presbyterian

Military Service
Service/branch United States Army (with the 24th Aero Squadron in Koblenz, Germany
Rank Second lieutenant
Battles/wars World War I

John Jones Doles, Sr. (April 26, 1895 – September 14, 1970), was a banker in Plain Dealing in northern Bossier Parish who served as a Democratic state senator from 1952 to 1956. His seat is now numbered as Senate District 36. His legislative tenure corresponded with the administration of Governor Robert F. Kennon.[1]

Doles had been a roommate at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge of future Governor Earl Kemp Long, but as anindependent Democrat in the Senate, he often clashed with his still personal friend Long.[2] On leaving the Senate, Doles was from 1956 to 1957 the president of the Louisiana Bankers Association.[3]


Doles was born to Robert Samuel Doles (1856–1931), a farmer originally from Bossier Parish, and the former Adele Dorcas McClenaghan (1862–1897), a native of Darlington County, South Carolina. Young John Doles had turned two when his mother died a day before what would have been her 35th birthday. Robert Samuel Doles did not remarry but reared John and four other sons alone. Robert and Adele Doles are interred at Cottage Grove Cemetery near the parish seat of Benton. Doles wed the former Madge Wyche (1901-1993), the daughter of John Hamiter Wyche (1871-1904) and the former Nancy Roberta Meares (1872–1973). The couple had one child, John J. Doles, Jr. Madge Doles's nephew, Monty Wyche, was from 1969 to 1988 a judge of the Louisiana 26th Judicial District Court who never faced an opponent in an election.[4]

Doles graduated from Plain Dealing High School and procured his Bachelor of Science degree from LSU in sugar chemistry. He served during World War I as a second lieutenant in the 50th Aero Squadron in Germany and with the 24th Aero Squadron in Coblenz.[5] Rather than pursuing a career as a chemist, Doles went into banking in his native Plain Dealing, where he became until his death the long-term president of First State Bank and Trust, subsequently absorbed by Regions Bank of Birmingham, Alabama. He was an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Plain Dealing.

Plain Dealing is known for its abundant dogwood trees, which bloom in the early spring. A citizens group known as the Plain Dealing Dogwood Association headed by the school principal Fred G. Phillips (1907–1989) organized an annual festival to showcase the trees to visitors. John and Madge Doles were active in the association. In the first festival held in the spring of 1951, Doles invited Governor Earl Long as the marshal of the event.[2][6]

Political and business activities

Having solidified a career in banking, Doles declared his candidacy for the state Senate.[7] He was nominated in the Democratic primary in January 1952, to a single term in the state Senate when the incumbent Drayton Boucher of nearby Springhill in northern Webster Parish, a Long ally, declined to seek a fourth four-year term. Doles defeated Herman "Wimpy" Jones, a Bossier City and Minden businessman who would succeed Doles in 1956, after a single term in the state Senate. In 1954, Senator Doles supported right-to-work legislation endorsed by the Kennon administration. He was physically attacked though uninjured on the Senate floor by a representative of organized labor. In a tumultuous session, right-to-work passed, but it was repealed two years later in 1956 in the last Long administration through the work of Victor Bussie, the then newly installed president of the Louisiana AFL-CIO.[8] Twenty years later, in 1976, right-to-work was resurrected in the second term of Governor Edwin Edwards. After his Senate service, Doles returned to his banking business full-time. To succeed Senator Doles, Herman "Wimpy" Jones, who carried the Long factional backing, narrowly defeated fellow Democrat Harold Montgomery, a businessman and former educator from Doyline in south Webster Parish.[1]

After his Senate tenure, Doles served two terms, from 1956 to 1970, as a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors. He was the chairman of the board after the 1961 football season, when the popular coach Paul Dietzel resigned on January 5, 1962, to accept the head position at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, a position that Dietzel subsequently left after four years.[9]

Doles was also a 24-year member and a former president of the Bossier Parish School Board. He was also a former president of the Louisiana School Boards Association. From 1934 until 1950, Doles was chairman of the Louisiana Agriculture Conservation Association. In 1961, he was named "Outstanding Farmer of the Year" by Progressive Farmer magazine. Doles was affiliated with the Lions Club, the Masonic lodge, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Forty and Eight veterans organization.[5]

During World War II, Madge Doles had launched Doles Insurance Company, later purchased by Plain Dealing civic leader Wayne Theodore Davis (born 1929) and is operated by Davis' son, Gregory Wayne Davis. Davis was honored in 2009 by the Louisiana House of Representatives on the occasion of his 80th birthday.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Membership in the Louisiana Senate, 1880-2024. Louisiana State Senate. Retrieved on August 4, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ann Middleton, "Dogwood Drive -- The Beginning," Minden Press-Herald, April 22, 2009.
  3. Past Chairmen of the Louisiana Bankers Association. Retrieved on July 4, 2009; listing no longer on-line.
  4. Judge Monty Wyche. The Shreveport Times (July 30, 2014). Retrieved on August 4, 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "John Doles Dies at 75; Rites Today," The Shreveport Times, September 16, 1970, p. 8-A.
  6. Debbie DeMoss Smith. My Hometown: Plain Dealing, Louisiana. Retrieved on August 4, 2020.
  7. "Doles announces candidacy for state Senate," Minden Herald, October 26, 1951, p. 1.
  8. James C. Gardner, Jim Gardner and Shreveport, Vol. 1 (Shreveport, Louisiana: Ritz Publications, 2004), pp. 270-217, 353-354.
  9. Louisiana State University: 1958-1964 Tigers National Champs. Retrieved on August 4, 2020.
  10. Louisiana House Resolution No. 67 by Representatives Henry Burns and Jane H. Smith to Commend Wayne Davis of Plain Dealing upon his 80th birthday. Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on July 12, 2009; material no longer on-line.