Alan Ray Ater

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dec. 15, 1953 – May 21, 2017

NATCHEZ — Services for former Louisiana Secretary of State Alan Ray “Al”  Ater, 63, who died peacefully Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Houston, will be 11 a.m. Friday at Jefferson Street United Methodist Church with the Rev. John Kramer officiating.   

Burial will follow at the Natchez City Cemetery under the direction of Young’s Funeral Home in Ferriday.

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Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until service time Friday at the church.

Mr. Ater was born Dec. 15, 1953, in Decatur, Ill., the youngest of five children of Donald Edward Ater and the former Ruth Lavonne Chapman.

He was a 1971 graduate of Huntington High School in Ferriday and attended Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La. At age 29, Mr. Ater was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives, District 21, and served from 1984 to 1997. In 2001, he was named secretary of State Fox McKeithen’s first assistant. He then worked as first deputy in the Department of Insurance for a year before returning to the Secretary of State’s office. Following Mr. McKeithen’s death, Mr. Ater served his state as Secretary of State and in 2010, retired from statewide political office in order to focus on his primary passion of farming and family.

In addition to serving as Secretary of State, he was a longtime public servant and worked tirelessly for the betterment of Louisiana. Al had a number of business as well as political interests. First and foremost he was a farmer and steward of the land. His Lakeland Planting Company farmed corn, cotton, soybeans and rice in a number of parishes of northeast Louisiana.

In addition to his farming interests, he served on the boards of the Concordia Parish Farm Bureau, Catalyst Energy in Vidalia, Louisiana School Employees Retirement System, Louisiana Tourist Development Commission, Louisiana Workmen’s Compensation, Second Injury Board, Governor’s Advisory Council on Disability Affairs, International Association Corporation Administrators and the National Association of Secretaries of State. He was elected to the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in 2009.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Kay Ater Goeggle.

Survivors include his wife of 32 years, Susie Beard Ater; one daughter, Whitney Lauren Ater; two sons, Thomas Ater and wife, Rivers, and Elliott Ater; three grandsons, Soren Riker, Kai Riker and Benton Ater; two granddaughters, Maya Fuentes and Graciela Fuentes; two brothers, Doald Ater and Edward Ater and wife, Mignonne; one sister, Lynette Ater Tanner and husband, Buddy; and a number of nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers will be his nephews, John Goeggle, Jeff Goeggle, John Branton, Don Branton, Dan Ater, Lance Byrd, Alan Byrd and Preston Beard.

Memorials may be made to Jefferson Street United Methodist Church building fund, P.O. Box 862, Natchez, MS 39121.

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