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Bob Reese

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Bobby Lynn "Bob" Reese
Born(1929-04-29)April 29, 1929
Louisiana Arcadia
Bienville Parish
Louisiana, USA
DiedNovember 26, 2004(2004-11-26) (aged 75)
United States Natchitoches, Louisiana
Alma materSimsboro High School
Louisiana Tech University
Political partyRepublican chairman in Jackson Parish and co-chairman in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana
Spouse(s)Gwendolyn Thomas Reese (married 1954–2004, his death)
ChildrenNo children
Parent(s)Lester and Martha Beard Reese

Bobby Lynn Reese, known as Bob Reese (April 29, 1929 – November 26, 2004),[1] was a home builder, architectural designer, portrait painter, and businessman in Natchitoches, Louisiana, who was a co-chairman of the Natchitoches Parish Republican Party from 1968 to 2004, during an era in which Democrats dominated his region of the state, particularly at the state and local political levels.[2]

Early years, education, military[edit | edit source]

Reese was born in Arcadia, the seat of Bienville Parish in north Louisiana, to Lester Reese (1910–1977)[1] and the former Martha Beard (1911–1975).[3] He attended Arcadia High School but graduated in 1946 from Simsboro High School in western Lincoln Parish. He attended Louisiana Tech University in Ruston but did not graduate. He served from 1948 to 1953 in the United States Air Force during the time of the Korean War, but he was not stationed in Korea. Instead, he was a clerk-typist in Japan and never even carried a gun.[4]

After his military discharge, Reese in 1954 married the former Gwendolyn Thomas, the daughter of Neil Thomas (1892–1963) and the former Lilla Perry (1898–1995) of Jonesboro, the seat of Jackson Parish. Neil Thomas, a boyhood friend of Governor Jimmie Davis, was the Democratic sheriff of Jackson Parish from 1928 to 1948. In 1934, Sheriff Thomas arrived on the scene near Gibsland some ten minutes after the capture and death of the bandits Bonnie and Clyde. In the second Davis administration, Thomas served as state parole director. He died on the job of a heart attack in the front door of the state capitol in Baton Rouge. At Davis' request, Mrs. Thomas served the remaining ten months of her husband's term.[4]

Political activism[edit | edit source]

Originally a Democrat, Reese switched parties and served from 1964 to 1968 as the chairman of the Jackson Parish Republican Executive Committee. In 1964, he headed the victorious Barry M. Goldwater presidential campaign in Jackson Parish. On February 6, 1968, Reese was his party’s nominee for the Jackson Parish seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He received only 20.3 percent in the race against the Democratic newcomer and a personal friend, E.L. "Bubba" Henry, also of Jonesboro, later an attorney and lobbyist in Baton Rouge.[5]

Shortly after that legislative campaign, the Reeses moved to Natchitoches, where he continued his home building career through Howard Lumber Company, which also employed his brother-in-law, Johnny B. Kelly (1925–1996)in Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in north Louisiana.[2]

He worked for the election of David C. Treen in the unsuccessful 1972 gubernatorial campaign against the Democrat Edwin Washington Edwards. In that same election on February 1, 1972, Reese was the Republican nominee for an open seat in the Louisiana State Senate caused by the primary defeat of long-term Democratic incumbent Sylvan Friedman, but Reese lost to the Democrat Paul Lee Foshee, Sr., a Natchitoches crop duster, who would serve only the one term from 1972 to 1976.[6][7] Reese did not again seek office but decided to work within the party structure to advance his political views. He became immediately active in the attempt to revitalize the Republican Party in Natchitoches, the oldest city in the state.

When Treen finally became governor in 1980, he appointed Reese's former opponent, Bubba Henry, an original Edwards supporter, as his commissioner of administration. From 1968 to 1996, Reese was a member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee.[2][3] From 1968 until his death, he was a member of the Natchitoches Parish Board of Election Supervisors by virtue of his ex officio role as parish party co-chairman. .[8]

Later years and death[edit | edit source]

In his later years, Reese was a portrait painter and operated his own Bob Reese School of Gymnastics in Natchitoches.[2] He was affiliated with Lions International and the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro[3] and then the First Baptist Church of Natchitoches, where Mrs. Reese retained membership after his death.[4]

Reese died of melanoma on the day after Thanksgiving Day in 2004. Mrs. Reese (born February 14, 1932) graduated from Jonesboro-Hodge High School in 1950 and Louisiana Tech in 1954. She has been a dance instructor for more than six decades and operates the Gwen Reese School of Dance in Natchitoches in the building which her husband had designed and constructed.[9] Mrs. Reese’s older sister, Nedra T. Kelly of Minden (born July 11, 1929), is a retired Realtor and a former member of the Webster Parish School Board.[4]

Reese is interred in the Thomas family plot at the Jonesboro Cemetery.[2]

Three years after Reese's death, Republicans Rick Nowlin and Gerald Long[10] won both the state House and state Senate seats embracing Reese's adopted city of Natchitoches.

Others articles of the Topics Biography AND Louisiana : Elton C. Pody, Julian Edwin Bailes Sr., J. Frank McInnis, H. Welborn Ayres, Joe Sampite, Floyd Smith (Louisiana politician), George M. Foote

Others articles of the Topics Louisiana AND Politics : Bryan Bush (politician), Pike Hall Jr., Robert L. Frye, Dave Norris (Louisiana politician), Eugene P. Campbell, B. Dexter Ryland, Harrison Bagwell

Others articles of the Topics Biography AND Politics : Charles McConnell, Scott McAdams, Ahmad Al-Shahhat, Jasper Goodwill, James L. Cathey Jr., William G. Stewart (Louisiana), Zach Dasher

Others articles of the Topic Biography : Dustin-Leigh Konzelman, Jasper Goodwill, John Lennon, Jack Anthony Isaacs, William G. Stewart (Louisiana), George B. Mowad, Anasuya Sengupta

Others articles of the Topic Louisiana : W. Ray Scott, Roy O. Martin Jr., Malcolm Hebert, Graydon K. Kitchens Jr., Angelo Roppolo, Julius Patrick, C. J. Bolin

Others articles of the Topic Politics : List of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, Mark E. Clayton, Dudley A. Guglielmo, Lőrinc Mészáros, Elizabeth Pickett (judge), Andrew Jackson Sevier, Elton C. Pody

Others articles of the Topic Conservatism : William Marshner, The Tower (Magazine), Activate (organisation), America First Party (2002)

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Bobby Lynn Reese". search.ancestry.com. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Obituary of Bob Reese. Shreveport Times, November 27, 2004
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Louisiana: Bob Reese", Who's Who in American Politics, 2007-2008 (Marquis Who's Who: New Providence, New Jersey, 2007), p. 670
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Statement of Gwendolyn Thomas Reese, December 1, 2009
  5. Louisiana Secretary of State, Louisiana election returns, February 6, 1968
  6. Louisiana Secretary of State, Louisiana election returns, February 1, 1972
  7. "Membership in the Louisiana State Senate, 1812-2008 for Natchitoches Parish" (PDF). legis.state.la.us. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2008. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
  8. "Louisiana Parish Election Officials LIst" (PDF). longdistancevoter.org. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  9. "Gwen Reese School of Dance". merchantcircle.com. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
  10. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election returns, October 20 and November 17, 2007

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