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Monday, October 23, 2023
6:00 - 8:00pm (Central time)
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
11:00am - 12:00pm (Central time)
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Starts at 12:15pm (Central time)
Retired U.S. Army Major General and Retired Nicholls State University Professor Gary Joseph Whipple passed away from heart complications on October 17, 2023, at the age of 82 years old. Gary was surrounded by his family when he died – a family who will continue to honor a great man’s legacy by living life to the fullest.
Gary was born in Bourg, Louisiana, during WW2. With a humble upbringing that included picking okra and selling ducks along the bayou to assist his family, Gary enlisted in the Louisiana Army National Guard in 1958. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry upon completion of Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1961.
After tragically losing his father in his early 20s, Gary supported his mother and put himself through college as the first in his family to ever do so. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in history and a master's degree in psychology from Nicholls State University, where he began a career as a college professor. Throughout his 30+ years at Nicholls, Gary cultivated many lifelong friendships and helped countless students achieve their goals. It was also at Nicholls where Gary would meet the love of his life, Patricia; the two were married for 50 years as of February 2023. Gary continued his education in the 1970s and earned a Doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1977.
In the Army, Gary graduated the Infantry Officer Basic and Advance Courses, the Combat Intelligence Staff Officer and Installation Intelligence Courses, the Command and General Staff College, the National Security Management Course, and the U.S. Army War College. Gary was promoted to Brigadier General in September 1987 and assumed command of the 256th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized). After five years in command, which included the mobilization of the Brigade for Operation Desert Storm, Gary was promoted to Major General. He was reassigned to his final Army assignment on the Boldshift Task Force, U.S. Army Forces Command culminating in 38 years of total service to the state and our nation.
Gary also held professional and civic memberships in the National Guard Association of the United States, National Guard Association of Louisiana, Association of the U.S. Army, Louisiana Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, Phi Delta Kappa, Kappa Delta Pi, Chi Sigma Iota, served as President of the Terrebonne Mental Health and Substance Abuse Clinic Board of Directors, and he founded and served as President of the Bayou Country Coin Club.
Gary had a servant’s heart. Much of his time was spent selflessly serving the citizens of his state through the Louisiana National Guard and during several state and federal emergencies. He cared immensely and worked with students at Nicholls, and spent time volunteering in church and the community. In church, he was a Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus St. Anthony Council and a Eucharistic Minister. He also sang in the Music Ministry and served in Ministry to the Homebound by bringing the Eucharist to people that could not attend mass. In the family, he was a supportive baseball, basketball, dance, and music dad who always encouraged his children to work hard and succeed in whatever they do. He was a firm, but very loving, present, and wonderful father and husband.
Gary is preceded by his father, Houston Whipple, and his mother, Maude Bouquet Whipple. He is survived by his loving wife, Patricia Hernandez Whipple. Gary was the very proud father of four children: three sons, Lieutenant Commander (retired) Cory James Whipple, U.S. Navy (and Kim); Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Gary Joseph Whipple II, U.S. Army; Lieutenant Colonel Brant Frederick Whipple, U.S. Air Force (and Krista), and one daughter, Dr. Trisha Whipple Kemerly (and Tony). He was the grandfather to seven: Josh, Chase, Parke, Parrish, Noah, Bennett, Madeline, and great grandfather to one, Amelia.
Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend a visitation in honor of Gary on Monday, October 23, 2023 from 6:00p.m. until 8:00p.m. at Chauvin Funeral Home in Magnolia Chapel. The Funeral Service will be held the following day, Tuesday, October 24, 2023 at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral at 11:00a.m. Interment will follow at St. Ann Cemetery in Bourg, La.
Chauvin Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Gary J. Whipple.