Walter O. Bigby

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Walter Oliver Bigby, Sr.​


Louisiana State Representative
for Bossier Parish (later District 9)​
In office
May 1968​ – September 1979​
Preceded by Ford E. Stinson, Sr.​
Succeeded by Robert Roy Adley​

Born April 10, 1927​
Vernon Parish, Louisiana, USA
Died January 2, 1980 (aged 52)​
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Florence "Flo" Whittington Bigby, later Flo Price (married 1962-his death)​
Children Walter O. Bigby, Jr.​
Residence Bossier City, Louisiana​
Alma mater Benton (Louisiana) High School​

Louisiana State University
LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center

Occupation Attorney

Walter Oliver Bigby, Sr. (April 10, 1927 – January 2, 1980), was a Democratic state representative for Bossier Parish, Louisiana, with service from 1968 to 1979.[1] Often called the "Dean of the House" because of his reputation for integrity, fairness, and hard work,[2] Bigby was a son-in-law of banker and former state Senator Volney Voss Whittington of Benton, the seat of government for Bossier Parish.

Background

A native of Vernon Parish in western Louisiana, Bigby moved to Bossier Parish in 1941, where thereafter he graduated from Benton High School. He attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, having been a member of Phi Delta Phi at the time of his graduation in 1951.[3] He also received his Juris Doctorate degree from the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Bigby practiced law for sixteen years. In September 1979, Bigby resigned from the legislature to begin serving as a Second Circuit Court of Appeal judge in Shreveport for what turned out to have been the last four months of his life.[2]

Family

​ Bigby married Florence "Flo" Whittington (1923–2009), one of two daughters of state Senator V. V. Whittington and his wife, the former Anna Harris. The Bigbys had a son, Walter O. "Walt" Bigby, Jr. (born 1964), a business consultant in Bossier City. Long after Bigby's death, Flo, a businesswoman in her own right, married in 1997 the widower O. E. Price, who served as a Second Circuit judge from 1969 to 1985. The marriage lasted for nine years until Price's death.[4]

Flo Bigby Price graduated from Benton High School and LSU, where she obtained a degree in home economics. She worked for Delta Air Lines and taught at Haughton High School in Haughton in southern Bossier Parish for two years before she became co-owner of Whittington and Myers Insurance Agency, an association that she maintained for three decades. She was also involved in her father's since defunct Bossier Bank and Trust Company, and she served on the board of the Bank of Benton. Her real estate career involved the development of the Greenacres and Palmetto subdivisions in Bossier Parish. She was also active in the establishment of the Kroger grocery store on the Benton Road in Bossier City and the Graybar Electric Company in Shreveport. A civic as well as a business leader, Mrs. Price was a patron of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, the Shreveport Club, the Shreveport Symphony, the Palmetto Country Club, the Young Men's Christian Association, the Shreveport Little Theater, Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army, Providence House, American Cancer Society, and the Methodist Children's Home. First a Presbyterian, she later became a United Methodist.[5]​ ​

Legislative service

In his first term in the legislature from 1968–1972, Bigby served with Ford Edward Stinson, Sr. (1914–1989) as one of two representatives for Bossier Parish. Stinson had been the only Bossier Parish representative from 1940 to 1944 and again from 1952 to 1968. In 1972, Bigby began serving for the rest of his tenure with Jesse Claude Deen (1922-2015) as the other Bossier Parish representative, for Stinson was defeated in the first primary held in November 1971. Then on February 1, 1972, Democrats Deen and Bigby faced a single Republican opponent, Glenn E. Clark, a Kentucky native, United States Air Force non-commissioned officer, and a businessman in Bossier City.[6] Clark polled fewer than a third of the ballots, as Deen and Bigby were handily elected on their own.[1]

Bigby described Governor Edwin Edwards, under whose administration Bigby served the bulk of his time as a representative, accordingly: "Edwin and I have a philosophical difference over the role of government. He honestly believes that government exists solely to take care of those who can't take care of themselves."[7]

Prior to Bigby's death from cancer at the age of fifty-two, voters elected Democrat Robert Roy Adley, who held the then single-member District 9 seat from 1980 to 1996,[1] when he stepped down to run unsuccessfully for governor. Adley returned to the legislature in 2003, when he won the special election to determine a successor for stqate Senator Foster Lonnie Campbell, Jr., of Bossier Parish, who resigned the position upon election to the Louisiana Public Service Commission. After his 2007 reelection to the state Senate, Adley switched to Republican affiliation.​ The seat is now held by the Republican Robert Mills.

Bigby is honored through the Walter O. Bigby Endowed Scholarship, a monetary award given to students at public or private colleges who either demonstrate high academic achievement or are actively involved in their school or community.[8]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2020 (Bossier Parish). Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on December 9, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Walter O. Bigby Papers. lsus.edu. Retrieved on July 19, 2009.
  3. Louisiana State University e-yearbooks. e-yearbook.com. Retrieved on July 19, 2009.
  4. Office of the Second Circuit Court of Appeal, Shreveport, Louisiana.
  5. Obituary of Florence Whittington Bigby Price. The Shreveport Times, (August 3, 2009). Retrieved on August 4, 2009.
  6. Glenn E. Clark. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on October 5, 2011.
  7. Leo Honeycutt, Edwin Edwards: Governor of Louisiana, Lisburn Press, 2009, p. 71.
  8. Scholarships directory: Walter O. Bigby Endowed Scholarships, July 18, 2009.