October 19, 1894 - June 29, 1967
|On June 29, 1967, Reverend Clerville J. Thibodeaux lifted the latch of death that is “. . .only an old door, set in a garden wail.” Leaving his earthly house, he stepped across the sill to “an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” His peaceful journey reminded me of Paul’s words,
…..But thanks. be to God, which giveth us the victory through
our Lord Jesus Christ;”
and of John Donne’s lines,
“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death; nor yet canst thou kill me. .
Why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And Death shall be no more; Death, thou shall die.”
Labadieville, Louisiana, his place of birth on October 19, 1894, was to hold the keys to much of the destiny of Brother Thibodeaux—here he met and married his first companion, Avelie Gautreaux, on December 16, 1912; here, in 1919, under the ministry of Rev. Eugene N. Barrios, both united with The Methodist Church as converts from the Roman Catholic Church. As a result of the close friendship that followed with the Barrios family (which included a fifteen year old daughter, Edna), Brother Thibodeaux was licensed as a Local Preacher in July, 1922, and at the following Annual Conference was appointed a~ a Supply to a French Mission Church. The greater part of his thirty-seven-year ministry was spent in the French Mission Area.
Spiritual fellowship and communion between the Thibodeaux and Barrios families had grown into a beautiful friendship throughout their ministerial years. When Mrs. Avelie Gautreaux Thibodeaux joined that High Company of the Church Triumphant on January 28, 1960, Brother Thibodeaux asked for and was granted retirement status and built his home in Labadieville. Two and one-half years later, on June 18, 1962, Brother Thibodeaux was married to Edna Barrios (the daughter of Rev. Eugene Barrios), who was to be a spiritual and physical bulwark in his last year.
It was at his retired home in Labadieville where he crossed the earthly portals, leaving these survivors: his wife, Mrs. Edna Barrios Thibodeaux; two sons, Harry J. Thibodeaux of St. Martinville, C. I. Thibodeaux of Hawthorne, California; one daughter, Mrs. J. C. (Fern) Payfer of Indian Head, Maryland; 14 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren; one brother, Leonard Thibodeaux; and four sisters, Mrs. Marie Fremin, Mrs. Anatole Talbot, Mrs. Eniile Richard, Sr., and Mrs. A. J. LeBlanc, Sr.
Our friend was one of those staunch soldiers of Christ whom the world could ill afford to lose. To lose life, we must; to lose worth, never! Brother Thibodeaux emphasized the importance of righteous living by his practices, for he leaves a rich and priceless heritage to all who knew him— his rare and radiant spirit will be a lasting benediction; his faith, firm with convictions dear, will never cease to be a blessing to the church he loved; his unusual understanding, harnessed to his keen insight, is of inestimable worth. Selfish seeking for preferment was foreign to his nature.
He approached the end of this earthly career as he had lived—with calmness, courage, and confidence. He knew where he was going. He had been traveling a long time toward that heavenly city, and he had no misgivings on the last mile of the way.
“0 city, dreamed in early youth,
0 city, loved till day was late,
No purer pilgrim of the truth
Has entered through thy shining gate.”
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, Pages 215-217, 1968 by Lael S. Jones.|