Dr. Rex John LeBlanc
Dr. Rex John LeBlanc, 86, passed away peacefully Friday, August 3, 2018 at his home in Lafayette, surrounded by his family.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, August 11, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at Fountain Memorial Funeral Home in Lafayette. Father Bryce Sibley, Pastor of Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church, will officiate. A rosary will be recited by Deacon Frank Cormier on Friday, August 10, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. at Fountain Memorial Funeral Home in Lafayette. Visitation will be Friday, August 10, 2018 from 3:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. until the time of service.
Dr. LeBlanc was a devoted son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and a member of the Acadiana community. He brought nurture, compassion, and fun to his interactions with family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances alike, and was well loved in return by all who knew him.
Dr. LeBlanc was born in Abbeville, Louisiana in 1931. Growing up, he loved playing football at Abbeville High School and football remained a passion throughout his life. From 1951 to 1955, during the Korean War, he served in the United States Navy. He was proud to be a medic for the Marine Corps, but it was his time in the Psychiatric Ward of the San Diego Hospital that moved him to start a career in mental health.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from University of Southwestern Louisiana (now University of Louisiana, Lafayette, ULL), and continued playing football while there. He went on to earn his doctorate degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. His Baylor legacy includes training primates for NASA to test the effects of space travel on motor coordination.
He worked as a professor of psychology and an experimental psychologist at ULL for 20 years, and was renowned for both encouraging and entertaining fellow faculty and students. While there, he collaborated on projects with the New Iberia Primate Research Center, and with Louisiana mental health services to establish the Pollux House for runaway girls.
He met Sonja Faye Mallet while teaching at ULL, and they were married in 1964. Rex and Sonja shared a deep compassion for others and a love of family and children. They had four children together, and Sonja later joined him in the mental health field. Rex and Sonja had a weekend get-away camp in Vermillion Parish where they loved to entertain family, friends, and colleagues, including the hosting of annual Super Bowl parties; his friends bestowed awards upon him over the years for best crawfish étoufée and barbeque.
After retiring from ULL, Dr. LeBlanc took an administrative position at the Acadiana Mental Health Clinic. He also conducted psychological testing for local schools and clinical psychologists until last year.
Dr. LeBlanc’s community and professional affiliations included the Krewe of Gabriel, the Krewe of Oberon, and the American Psychological Association. He enjoyed music, literature, movies, and local festivals. He was highly respected and well-liked. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.
Dr. LeBlanc is survived by his beloved wife of 54 years, Sonja LeBlanc of Lafayette; their children, Michelle LeBlanc of Falls Church, VA and her partner, Lawrence Benade, Rex John LeBlanc II of Broussard, LA and his wife, Kelli, Andrea LeBlanc of Los Angeles, CA and her husband, Jan Chaitas, and Stephen LeBlanc of New Orleans, LA; one sister, Dorothy LeBlanc of Baton Rouge, LA; three grandsons, Jean-Paul Pierre LeBlanc, Aiden Rex LeBlanc and Ian James LeBlanc; honorary daughters, Lynn Smith and Sandra Frederick; and numerous dear nieces, nephews and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John Adelbert and Azilie Lege LeBlanc; and his siblings, Eunice LeBlanc, Eric LeBlanc, and Darnella Milliman.
Pallbearers will be Rex John LeBlanc, II, Stephen LeBlanc, Lynn Smith, Eddie Milliman, Jan Chaitas, and Larry Benade.
The family wishes to thank everyone who supported them and Dr. LeBlanc this year, with special thanks to the staffs at Lafayette General Medical Center, Lafayette Extended Care, and Lafayette Physical Rehabilitation Hospital.
Memorials may be made in Dr. LeBlanc’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17, Chicago, IL, 60601, (504) 613-6505, www.alz.org, or NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Acadiana via NAMI Acadiana, PO Box 51903. Lafayette, LA, 70505-1903, (337) 504-4752, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fountain Memorial Funeral Home and Cemetery at 1010 Pandora St. in Lafayette, (337) 981-7098, is handling arrangements.
Online obituary and guest book may be viewed at www.fountainmemorialfuneralhome.com.