J.C. Gilbert

Published 12:05 am Sunday, November 23, 2014

SICILY ISLAND — Funeral services for J.C. “Sonny” Gilbert, of Sicily Island, who died Friday, Nov. 21 at his home, will be 11 a.m. Monday at Sicily Island United Methodist Church.

Burial services will follow at Oakley Cemetery in Gilbert, La., under the direction of Young’s Funeral Home.



Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Young’s Funeral Home in Ferriday.

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Mr. Gilbert was a graduate of Wisner High School and Northeast Junior College, now known as the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and attended Louisiana State University. During World War II, he left LSU to voluntarily enlist in the United States Army and served with a B-24 bomber unit in England and Africa. After his military service, he settle in Sicily Island, married Barbara Jane Peck in 1946 and began a career of public service that would span twenty-six years with his election to the Catahoula Parish Police Jury, followed by three terms in the Louisiana Senate from 1960 to 1972 and on term in the Louisiana House of representatives from 1972 to 1976. He served as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and member of the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. Her served with distinction under four governors, Earl K. Long, Jimmie H. Davis, John J. McKeithen and Edwin W. Edwards. Following his service in legislature, Mr. Gilbert served on the Louisiana Wildlife and Fishers Commission from 1976 to 1982 and as its Chairman during his last two years of service. An avid lifetime hunter, he hunted deer, turkey, bear and elk and served on the National Wild Turkey Federation Board of Directors from 1980 to 1987, as president from 1983 to 1985 and Chairman of the Board from 1985 to 1987.

Mr. Gilbert made many contributions to the local economic landscape as a cotton and rice farmer, rancher and founding director of the Jonesville Bank and Trust, now known as the Southern Heritage State Bank, which has grown to nine branches that serve the parishes of Catahoula, LaSalle and Rapides.

Mr. Gilbert possessed a variety of broad interests that included membership in the LSU Athletic foundation, Rotary International, American Legion, Farm Bureau, the National Wild Turkey Federation and as a Freemason. He was recognized for his outstanding public service, his many accomplishments, his tireless spirit and his unwavering dedication to the public good.

Mr. Gilbert is preceded in death by his parents, Jess and Fannie Adams Gilbert; his first wife, Barbara Jane Peck Gilbert; and second wife, Delman Fulmer Gilbert.

Survivors include his daughter, Barbara Peck Gilbert Haigh and husband, Thomas David Haigh of Natchez; his son Jess Gilbert Jr. and wife, Marilyn Sinkewicz of Madison, WI; four grandchildren, Thomas L. Enright Jr. and wife, Virginia Middleton Enright of Baton Rouge, David Walker Gilbert and Maia Surdam of Asheville, NC, Jessica Katherine Gilbert and husband, Aaron Kaio of Madison, Elizabeth Jane Gilbert and Evan Hewlett of San Francisco; and five great-grandchildren, Eleanor Jane Enright, William Thomas Enright and Patrick Bernard Enright of Baton Rouge, Sal Kaio of Madison and Gus Hewlett of San Francisco.

Donations can be made to the Sicily Island United Methodist Church or the LSU Athletic Foundation. To leave an online condolence, visit youngsfh.com.