LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- The community gathered to remember Joyce Thibodeaux, the first African-American woman to become a Louisiana State Trooper.
Funeral services were held Wednesday at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. It was a celebration of life for a pioneer, pace-setter, ceiling breaker, sister, best friend, and mother
“She broke that glass ceiling that women could not penetrate and in particular African-Americans,” said State Representative Terry Landry, who attended the service.
Thibodeaux attended the Louisiana State Police Academy in 1976 before joining Troop I in Lafayette.
“She wanted to be in that group, and she passed the test, and went to the academy and did well,” said her sister, Angela Isaac.
Thibodaux was an inspiration for many African-Americans interested in law enforcement.
“A number of African-American officers said that she was an example to them, and one of the reasons why they chose to join the police force,” said her son, Joel Thibodeaux.
But the most important job she held was mother and sister.
“She was always devoted to us first, before anything else,” said Joel Thibodeaux.
“My best friend, my sister, my best friend,” Issac said.
“I’ll miss our times together so much. She was my inspiration,” said daughter Jaimie Jones.
Thibodeaux retired after 21 years on the force. She then completed her lifelong goal of graduating from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.
She died of natural causes. She was 68 years old.