LeRoy Smallenberger

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LeRoy Cullom Smallenberger​

Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
In office
November 2, 1954 – August 8, 1986

Chairman of the
Louisiana Republican Party
In office
1960​ – 1964​
Succeeded by Charlton Lyons

Born November 13, 1912​
Peoria, Illinois, USA​
Died July 6, 2002 (aged 89)​
Shreveport, Louisiana​
Resting place Greenwood Town Cemetery in Greenwood, Louisiana​
Spouse(s) (1) Thelma Ferne Mounce Smallenberger​

(2) Doris McFerren Smallenberger (married 1995)[1]

Children From first marriage:

LeRoy Smallenberger, Jr.​

Residence Shreveport, Louisiana​
Alma mater University of Illinois

Louisiana State University Law Center

Occupation Attorney; Judge

LeRoy Cullom Smallenberger, Sr. (November 13, 1912 – July 6, 2002),[2] was a lawyer and judge in Shreveport, Louisiana, who was also from 1960 to 1964 the state chairman of the Republican Party.​

Political life

A son of LeRoy Charles Smallenberger (born 1850) and the former Dora Schnet of Peoria, Illinois, Smallenberger graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then in 1938 from the Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge. From November 2, 1954, until his retirement on August 8, 1986, he was a bankruptcy judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. He and his first wife, the former Thelma Mounce,[3] had one son, LeRoy, Jr. (1936-2007). In 1995, Smallenberger married his secretary, the former Doris Margaret McFerren (1934-2018).[4]

According to the website The Political Graveyard, Smallenberger came to Shreveport prior to 1948, a decade after receiving his law degree.[5] In 1956, he was practicing law in his Smallenberger, Eatman & Morgan firm.[6]

He was an alternate delegate to both the 1948 Republican National Convention held in Philadelphia and the 1952 conclave in Chicago.[5]

Prior to the state chairmanship, Smallenberger, a Republican since 1938, had been the Republican state chairman for Louisiana's 4th congressional district, then represented by the Democrat Thomas Overton Brooks (1897-1961). Beginning in 1988, the district switched to Republican representation. In 1959, Smallenberger and the Louisiana national committeeman, George Reese, of New Orleans, the party's 1960 nominee for the United States Senate against Allen J. Ellender, became involved in an intraparty feud with Thomas Eaton "Tom" Stagg, Jr., a Shreveport Republican lawyer and subsequent judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, and Charles T. Beaird, the later publisher of the defunct Shreveport Journal. Stagg objected when Reese endorsed, with Smallenberger in agreement, a slate of candidates for party position on both the state and parish committees. Stagg described Reese as having attempted to assemble a group of "yes-men" and had hence "earned the enmity of a large number of fair-minded Republicans".[7] Reese, however, defended his endorsements, most of whom won their primary races, on the premise that he as a statewide party leader was obligated to recommend suitable candidates to rank-and-file voters.[8] At the time, Reese appointed Smallenberger as the "assistant national committeeman for North Louisiana."[9]

In 1960, Smallenberger was again an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention and supported the nominee, Vice President Richard M. Nixon, in the election against U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy.[5] Smallenberger said that the original Republicanplatform was"conservative", but it was moved to the political left when Nixon offered concessions to Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York in a bid for support from the East Coast,[10] areas which Nixon still lost in the general election.​ William Rainach, a state senator from Claiborne Parish who was a delegate to the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, agreed with Smallenberger. In Rainach's words, "the Republican platform is not quite as bad" as that offered by the Kennedy/Johnson forces. Rainach said that the influence of Rockefeller had reduced the practical usefulness of the Republican Party to southern conservatives. Rainach added that if unpledged electors had gained sufficient support across the South, as they did in Mississippi and Alabama, he would have urged negotiations among the electors themselves, rather than having the U.S. House of Representatives choose the president with one vote per state in event of a deadlock in the electoral college. Were the House to have chosen a president in 1961, Kennedy would have been an automatic winner because the majority of state delegations were then in Democrat hands, Rainach said.[11]

Though the Louisiana Republican Party coalesced behind Nixon in 1960 and 1968, it could not deliver the state to him until the 1972 campaign, when Nixon also won forty-eight other states.​

Smallenberger is interred at Greenwood Town Cemetery in Greenwood in southwestern Caddo Parish; Doris Smallenberger, at Centuries Memorial Park in Shreveport.​


  1. Leroy Smallenber/Doris McFerrin. mocavo.com. Retrieved on May 25, 2014.
  2. LeRoy Cullom Smallenberger (1912-2002). records.ancestry.com. Retrieved on May 25, 2014.
  3. Judge LeRoy Smallenberger. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on August 16, 2018.
  4. Doris Margaret Smallenberger. The Shreveport Times (August 15, 2018). Retrieved on August 20, 2018.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Smallenberger, LeRoy. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved on May 25, 2014.
  6. DON GEORGE, Inc., et al. v. PARAMOUNT PICTURES, Inc., et al. (October 11, 1956). leagle.com. Retrieved on May 25, 2014.
  7. "GOP Faction Fight Erupts Over Primary: 4th District Head Charges Attempt to Pack Committee", The Shreveport Times, December 2, 1959, p. 1.
  8. "Endorsements Defended by GOP Leader: Reese answers attack by Stagg as Faction Fight", The Shreveport Times, December 3, 1959, pp. 1, 4.
  9. "Attorney Here Appointed to GOP Position", The Shreveport Times, December 2, 1959, p. 4-A.
  10. "GOP Platform Told to Men's Club Monday", Minden Herald, (Minden, Louisiana), October 20, 1960, p. 1.
  11. "Demo Platform Lashed by Former State Senator", Minden Herald, October 6, 1960, p. 1.