Charles Ragland Godchaux
December 27, 1930 ~ July 10, 2019
ABBEVILLE — Charles Ragland Godchaux (December 27, 1930 - July 10, 2019) of Abbeville, Louisiana—avid fisherman, great outdoorsman and philanthropist—passed away peacefully at his home on Tuesday.
A graveside service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, July 12th at Graceland Cemetery, Abbeville, Louisiana. Reverend Madge McLain of St. Paul's Episcopal Church will officiate. Pallbearers will be his grandsons, Charles Payne, Nelson Payne and Julian Payne, Tom Spence, and great-nephews, Stephen Wieck, Joel Derby and Gus Godchaux.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 32 years, Wilma Monypeny Godchaux, as well as by his parents, Frank Area Godchaux, Jr. and Mary Ragland Godchaux; and brothers, Lawrence Putnam Godchaux and Frank Area Godchaux Ill.
He is survived by his wife, Dolores Nunez Godchaux; daughters, Theresa Polk Godchaux of Jackson, WY, Rebecca Ragland Godchaux of Marathon, FL, and adopted daughter Dorothy Margaret Clyne of New Orleans, LA; four grandchildren, Charles Ragland Godchaux Payne (Abbey) of Lafayette, LA, Rebecca Lawrence Payne Spence of Adams, TN, George Nelson Payne (Charlotte) of Denver, CO, Julian Brooks Payne of New York, NY; and two great-grandchildren, Avery Parker Spence and Hartley Blythe Spence.
Charles attended Sewanee Military Academy and Vanderbilt University where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Following his graduation from Vanderbilt he joined the US Navy.
Upon his honorable discharge from the Navy, Charles returned home to Abbeville to begin his career in the family rice business—Louisiana State Rice Milling Company, where he ultimately became Chairman of the Board. When the company merged with River Brand Rice Mills to become Riviana Foods Inc., Charles served as Vice President, while also named Vice President of the USA Rice Division and Vice Chair for Worldwide Rice Operations. Charles' other activities included Director of The Rice Council for Market Development; President of The Rice Millers' Association as well as serving on its Board of Directors and Executive Committee. After forming the Abbeville Family Partnership with his brother in 1994 he focused his attention on his pursuit of philanthropic endeavors.
In his role as philanthropist Charles served as a Trustee of the Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation and was an active member on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee for the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana. In addition, he served as a Director of the National Audubon Society and a Trustee and President of the American Friends of the Game Conservancy. He was a Trustee of the Louisiana Nature Conservancy as well as the National Nature Conservancy Board. Closer to home, he served as a Trustee of the Vermilion
Parish Library Board. Charles was an avid outdoorsman and sportsman and Charles was an enthusiastic outdoorsman and sportsman and nothing was more special to him than Live Oak Plantation, which has been the heart of the family for 6 generations.
Charles and his brother led the way creating an integral habitat for native and migratory species of waterfowl and other wildlife. His dedication and love of Live Oak encouraged the younger generations to continue to act as devoted stewards of the land and its resources. The family has maintained active farming and wildlife preservation initiatives.
Charles was known as an avid shooter, golfer and fisherman. His shooting career offered him the experience of coming in runner-up in the National Skeet Shooting Championships in Mexico City. His love for golfing left him with an incredible legacy of 8 hole-in-ones. Charles was also a world-class fisherman who was well loved by guides all around the world.
Charles took great pride and enjoyment in his family. He loved sharing and spreading his love of the outdoors with all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren through both his storytelling and experiences—from fishing in his ponds to shooting skeet at the farm.
Lastly, he was a man who was not perfect, but stood by his work, took care of his family and friends without expectation of acknowledgement and through his actions enriched the lives of many.
The Godchaux Family would like to extend our gratitude to Eula Broussard, Charlotte DuBose, Steve Meador, Alvin Willis, Glenn Guidry, Jackie Harrison and caregivers, Mike Bowden, Brenda James and Senior Helpers caregivers.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 101 East Vermilion Street, Abbeville, LA 70510, Ochsner Health Systems, 1514 Jefferson Highway Room 1E617, New Orleans, LA 70121 or to the charity of one's choice.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.vincentfuneralhome.net.
All funeral arrangements are being conducted by Vincent Funeral Home of Abbeville, (337) 893-4661.