William Alex Broussard
William Alex Broussard
June 19, 1928 - September 6, 2013
William Alex “Boo", "Uncle Boo”, “Pop Pop” Broussard died Friday, September 6, 2013, in his home at the age of 85. A lifelong resident of Beaumont, he was a fourth generation Texan, third generation funeral director and a descendant of a pioneer family. His final months were filled with struggles and challenges, but they were always overcome by the love of his wife and family.
Alex grew up with his family living over the mortuary on Calder Avenue in Beaumont. The story goes that his nickname “Boo” came about because as a baby, his older siblings, Betty and Sonny were trying to give him a pet name. Since his mother, Mama-Dale, worked in the office of the mortuary, they employed a young French woman to help with the children and their living quarters. The nanny exclaimed… “You’re too handsome to have just any name”, so she would begin to sing to him in French calling him her “Beau Boo”!! Try as he may, he could never get away from Boo. As a senior at St. Anthony’s, and later at Texas A&M, he tried “Bill”, but ultimately kept “Alex” to be more formal. The namesakes didn’t stop there as “Alex” ended up being pronounced “Alec” as the years went by. Alas… he was to remain “Boo” to his family and longtime friends to the end. A moniker he never really tired of.
At one point Alex was almost whisked away to Hollywood. Seemed there were auditions at the Jefferson Theater for Our Gang (The Little Rascals), and after his mother brought him to try out, the producers dubbed him the next “Spanky”. However, the train to the big screen was derailed when his father, Papa-Dale, found out about the audition.
Alex graduated from St. Anthony’s High School and Texas A&M University, Class of `50. He served two terms on the board of the Association of Former Students and as class representative for decades. He was profoundly proud of both. He never lost touch with his classmates, and you could always count on him to “saw Varsity’s horns off” at the drop of a hat. While at Texas A&M, he served in the Corp of Cadets. As any good Aggie would, he never stopped cheering for the Ags through thick and thin. Even when watching a game at home, you would always find him wearing his maroon and white.
After graduating from college, Alex served in the United States Army as a First Lieutenant in the Korean War. He was awarded the honor of Bronze Star.
On his return from Korea, he began a career with his father and brother in the family business, Broussard’s Mortuary. As was common with funeral directors and ambulance drivers of the day, he met and married a pretty young Registered Nurse named Marie, and they were happily married for over fifty-five years. When asked about why he was hesitant to travel on business without her, his response was, “I always want to take my best girl!!” Alex and Marie enjoyed traveling with the Traveling Aggies and attending functions with Rotary International. They loved learning the local history and making new friends and continued many long-distance relationships throughout the years.
Alex’s caring heart and comforting smile made him a natural born funeral director, a trait that is not lost in the subsequent generations of his family. As was also common in his family, Alex served his faith, community and his profession throughout his life. Among the many organizations he humbly served, he was a Charter Member and Chairman of the Steering Committee of St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church; Past President of National Selected Morticians (now Selected Independent Funeral Homes), Past President of the Beaumont Rotary Club with fifty-six years of perfect attendance (one of which he attended on his honeymoon); two-time Past District Governor for Rotary International; Past President and Silver Beaver Award recipient of the Trinity-Neches Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Past President and King XLIII of the Neches River Festival; active with the Y.M.C.A.; Past President of the Texas Gulf Historical Society; active with the Chamber of Commerce; a baseball coach (Blue-Tops) and league President at West End Little League, just to name a few.
The stage eventually did win him over, and in the 1980’s, Alex played in numerous shows in the Beaumont Little Theater including: the memorable Colonel Kinkaid in the Oldest Living Graduate, rekindling the role in the Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia, multiple parts in Kismet, Come Blow Your Horn, and played the loveable “Willie Clark” in The Sunshine Boys. It was said this performance was more entertaining than the screen version made famous by Walter Mathau and George Burns. Alex’s showmanship was not limited to the Little Theater. He performed Al Jolson songs for the Junior Forum Follies, played parts in virtually every Beaumont Rotary Swan Song… ever, and any other opportunity that came his way right down to a good sing along!!
After retiring in 1993, Alex and Marie enjoyed serving as Rotarians on numerous committees. They attended twelve International Conventions, and he served as sergeant-at-arms at Nice, France; Calgary, Canada; Indianapolis, Indiana; Buenos Aires, Brazil; and San Antonio, Texas. They traveled with Rotary to deliver 250 wheelchairs to Mexico City, bring hospital equipment to Vietnam and administer polio vaccines to children in India. Both Alex and Marie are Paul Harris Fellows as well as benefactors of the Beaumont Rotary Foundation and Rotary International Foundation.
The legacy of Alex continues in every good deed and kindness shown by his family, and by the genuine hearts that serve families each and everyday with Broussard’s. He loved to tell stories and jokes (Cajun jokes are just true stories), our Acadian heritage, people, life, his family and his church. He just cared…
Alex is survived by his wife, Marie; sons, Dale of Nederland; Tom and his wife, Donna, of Lumberton; and David and his wife, Toni, of Spring; daughter, Marian West and her husband, Steve, of Carrollton; his sister, Betty Heine of Terre Haute, Indiana; brother, James and his wife, Barbara, of Beaumont. He was “Pop Pop” to grandchildren: Dale, Lee, Chris, Katie, Brittany, Elizabeth, Bailey, Alex, Brooklyn, Josh, Jason and Brian; great-grandchildren, Brianna, Tanner and Julianna; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins, who always lovingly referred to him as “Uncle Boo”; and many, many friends. He was preceded in death by his brother, Thomas Dale Broussard, who died during World War II on Iwo Jima.
A Christian Vigil for Mr. Broussard will be 7:00 p.m., Monday, September 9, 2013, at Broussard’s, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 10, 2013, at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, 6825 Gladys Avenue, Beaumont, with interment to follow at Magnolia Cemetery, Beaumont.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, 6825 Gladys Avenue, Beaumont, Texas 77706 or Beaumont Rotary Foundation, Inc., 2355 IH 10 S, Suite 213, Beaumont, Texas 77705.