John W. Joseph, Opelousas’ first black mayor, to be laid to rest tomorrow

(Photo courtesy of The Daily World)

OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY)- Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, November 11, 2017 in Progressive Baptist Church, 2001 E. Simcoe Street, Lafayette, LA for John W. Joseph, 84, who passed away on Friday, November 3, at Opelousas General Health System.

Interment will be in Bellevue Memorial Park. Rev. Lloyd Joiner, Jr. Pastor of Progressive Baptist Church will officiate the Celebration of Life.
John Wilfred Joseph was born on September 29, 1933, to the union of Reverend Adam Joseph and Mrs. Julia Lee Jones Joseph.
He was  born and raised on his father’s farm in Plaisance during the time of racial divide and a dual education system, which relegated him to minimum and hand-me-down materials for an education.
(Photo courtesy of The Daily World)
Joseph enrolled at St. Landry Parish Colored Training School and graduated with honors in 1951. He then attended Leland College and graduated magna cum laude in May of 1955.
He, subsequently, earned a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from Southern University. An additional thirty graduate hours were earned at USL (now ULL), LSU, and Clark Atlanta University.
On December 24, 1955, John W. Joseph married Cecile Catherine Slaughter.The couple had eight children.
John W. Joseph began teaching in the St. Landry Parish Public School System in January of 1958.
He served as teacher, coach, guidance counselor, assistant principal, principal, school system supervisor and director of federal programs. After 32 years with St. Landry Parish Public School System, Joseph retired.
In 1986, he was elected to serve as the 17th Mayor of the City of Opelousas and the 1st African American Mayor of Louisiana’s 3rd oldest City.
He was re-elected in 1990.
“This anointed public servant was appointed to state wide positions by three Louisiana Governors with confirmations by the State Senate,” his obituary says. “He served as Deputy Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Social Services, member of Southern University Board of Supervisors for 8 1/2 years, member of the Louisiana Board of Regents’ Committee on Academic and Student Affairs, was elected parish-wide member for three terms on the St. Landry Parish Democratic Executive Committee, became an Executive and Entrepreneur as co-owner of Ford and Joseph Funeral Home, Inc., was a member of Keystone Lodge No. 196, Commander-In-Chief of R.B. Jones, Sr. Consistory, No. 298, and as a member of Iota Epsilon Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma. The life of this icon reflects ten administrative public service positions.”
In an effort to document his legacy, John W. Joseph penned a book entitled “From Farm Boy to First Black Mayor” in 2006.

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