Walter Whitefield Heard Jr.

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Oct. 23, 1922 – Feb. 4, 2017

NATCHEZ — Services for Walter Whitefield Heard Jr., 94, who died Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, in the company of his family, will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at the First Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Denny Read officiating.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. today at Laird Funeral Home and from 1 p.m. until service time Thursday at the church.
Mr. Heard was born on Oct. 23, 1922, in Bunkie, La., the son of Phebe Upton and Walter Whitefield Heard Sr.
He was a 1939 graduate of Byrd High School in Shreveport, La., and attended Centenary College until transferring to Louisiana State University to complete a degree in petroleum engineering. Before graduating from LSU in 1947, he served with the U.S. Navy as an officer and engineer aboard the LST 709. For a number of years he attended reunions with his former shipmates.
Mr. Heard came to the Miss-Lou area with the California Company, which became Chevron Oil Company. As an independent consulting petroleum engineer, he formed a partnership known as Gauthier and Heard in 1952. Later he was co-founder, co-owner and president of Miss-Lou Oil Producers Incorporated and Magnolia Oilfield Services Incorporated. He was active in oil exploration, drilling and production until his retirement.
He served his church faithfully as a deacon and volunteering in various other capacities, especially enjoying the Presbyterian Men’s Prayer Breakfast Group.  He was a member of the Natchez Rotary Club for more than 50 years and served as a commissioner and president of the Natchez-Adams County Port Commission from  1975 to 1990. As a loyal supporter of the Santa Claus Committee, he served on the steering committee and as Santa in 1969. For a number of years he served as director of the annual COI Golf Tournament, which brought participants from all over the U.S. to Natchez. He was a Mason, a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Woodlawn Hunting Club and a charter member of Cedar Grove Hunting Club.
Walter loved his family, friends and the LSU Tigers. He was an enthusiastic cook, avid salt water fisherman and master of organized fun, such as the Blue Cats Scuba Diving and Rescue Team. He was true to his faith and known by all as a man of his word. He leaves many friends who loved him dearly.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife of 46 years, Jean Junkin Heard.
Survivors include his wife, Wessye Byrd Heard; four children, Phebe Heard Winters and husband, Gerry, Walt W. Heard III and wife, Carolyn, of Natchez, David Junkin Heard and wife, Debra, of Monroe, La., and Samuel P. Gore and wife, Carla, of Livingston, Texas; one brother, Dr. Jerry L. Heard and wife, Lucy, of San Diego, Calif.; one sister-in-law, Patsy Junkin Armstrong; one brother-in-law, Francis Martin; a special daughter, Mel Duke Ford and husband, Tom, of Huntsville, Ala.; seven grandchildren who knew him as BoomBoom, Hicks Winters and wife, Drue, Phebe Clare Westbrook and husband, Jonas, David J. Heard Jr., Daniel Heard, Fleming Gore Havard, Peyton Gore and Liza Gore; and one great-grandchild, John Parker “Jack” Winters; and a number of nieces and nephews to whom he was Uncle Walt.
The family wishes to thank the nurses and caregivers of Adams County Nursing Home and Compassus Hospice for their dedicated and compassionate care.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Natchez or to a charity of choice.
Online condolences may be sent to

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