William G. Gauthier, Jr. (Billy) passed away peacefully on Ash Wednesday, February 26 at Ollie Steele Burden Nursing Home surrounded by his loving family, after a long and courageous struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 78 years young. Billy was born on March 28, 1941 in Thibodeaux, La. Whether you knew him as Billy, Goat, Poppa Stoppa, Daddy, or Papa, consider yourself truly blessed to have known this very special man. Billy was truly one of a kind and will never be forgotten by anyone who met him. Billy grew up in Plaquemine, La. He attended St. John Catholic High School. Billy was a gifted, natural athlete. He played sports from a very young age, football and basketball being his favorites. He was the quarterback on the football team, and the shooting guard on the basketball team. He graduated in 1959, receiving many academic, athletic, and social honors including the “Mr. St. John” award. He then attended LSU in Baton Rouge, where he earned a BS degree in Business and graduated in 1963. He was a 4 year member of Sigma Nu Fraternity where he served as president for 3 years. He also served on the Inter Fraternity Council at LSU. While at LSU, he met the love of his life, Anita Jane McKinney, in a Microbiology class and it was love at first sight. Upon both graduating from LSU, Nita and Billy married on June 15, 1963. Billy’s first job out of college was working for Louisiana National Bank in Baton Rouge, where he was quickly promoted and became the youngest branch manager in the city. He also worked later as a stockbroker with Merrill Lynch. Later in life, Billy became an avid entrepreneur having started many businesses including a commodities stock exchange, a costume jewelry store, Protocall Answering Service, a business brokerage and real estate firm, and a business appraisal company. He served on many boards of directors including the Council on Aging, Bocage Racket Club, Baton RougeĀ Rotary Club, Jefferson Place /Bocage Subdivision President, Country Club View Subdivision President. Billy served 27 years on the East Baton Rouge Mortgage Finance Authority, where he was president for 4 years. Billy was active in the U.S. Golf Association, U.S. Tennis Association, Baton Rouge Roundtable, St. John High School Alumni Association, CHS Men’s Club, First Tee Golf Charity, Achilles Ball Society, St. Aloysius Church, Our Lady of Mercy Church, and Ducks Unlimited. Billy was twice selected to the Best Dressed List of Baton Rouge which benefited cancer research. He and his wife, Nita, enjoyed their longtime association in many dance clubs and charity associations, including Bal Societe and Les Saisons. Billy enjoyed going to church and singing church hymns. He was a longtime member of St. Aloysius church and Our Lady of Mercy church. A natural athlete and avid outdoorsman, Billy enjoyed duck hunting, fishing, tennis, and golf. He especially loved golf, which he played most every weekend as a longtime member of the Baton Rouge Country Club. He was a longtime member of Bocage Racket club where he was an excellent tennis player, specifically known for his looping, spin serve that many could never figure out how to return. One of Billy’s favorite tennis accomplishments was competing with his wife and tennis partner, Nita, in the National Mixed Doubles Tennis Championships in Palm Springs, California where they finished runners up. Skiing in Colorado, with his family and friends, was one of Billy’s favorite vacation destinations. Billy was an avid LSU football and basketball fan holding season tickets for many years near his good friends. He was a very devoted father to his son, Billy and daughter, Jenny. He truly loved spending time with his kids. He enjoyed the family competitive ping pong and tennis matches starring Big Billy and Jenny versus Little Billy and Nita. It was war, but it created great family bonding and a little crying too. Billy also loved to play cards with his kids, especially Bourre and Oh Hell. He was always there to give love and advice to his kids. Billy loved to spend time duck hunting and fishing the fresh and saltwater marshes of Louisiana with his son, Billy. He especially loved bass fishing in the Atchafalaya Spillway, Lake Verret and Toledo Bend. He was a 35-year founding member of the Poul Du Queen Duck camp in Gibson, La. with his best hunting, fishing, and card playing buddies, Clark Taylor, Dr. Jerry Stone, Denny Carlton, and Louie Barcelona. He spent much of his time teaching his son and grandsons fishing and hunting techniques. Billy’s favorite meal to cook for his family and friends was fried fish, especially the ice chest of whole bream caught from Lake Verret with Nita, Little Billy, and Jenny. One of his favorite daily activities, as his disease progressed, was to collect golf balls from the BRCC course lakes. This satisfied his competitive spirit after he was no longer able to play golf and he was so proud to show us the amount and types of balls he had collected. Over a period of time, he donated over 3,000 golf balls to the First Tee Golf Charity which benefited minority golf players. Billy adored his wife, Nita. They were truly a match made in Heaven. They enjoyed watching the magnificent sunset over the BRCC golf course from their back porch every evening. They also loved traveling, socializing with their friends, and playing tennis together. Billy cherished spending time with his children, Billy and his wife Cindy, Jenny and her husband Randy, and his six beautiful grandchildren. He also loved his brothers, Will and Ron, and his sister, Jeanie. He had a regular monthly golf game for years with his two brothers at the BRCC. Billy was known for his superior golf skills and his competitive nature, but he was always fair to everyone. Before they would tee off, he would jokingly state to his brothers, “Since we don’t get along, let’s get it on!” It was true brotherly love. He cherished his 6 grandchildren and loved spending time with them, especially on vacations to the beach. He was a fun loving, caring, and involved grandfather. He will now be in Heaven with his beloved grandson, Jack. Billy loved duck hunting, fishing, and hitting golf balls with his grandsons. He enthusiastically attended all of his grandchildren’s school and athletic events, birthday parties, and piano and dance recitals. He was a constant personal presence in their lives, guiding them with kindness, generosity, and love. He loved spending holidays with his grandchildren, especially Halloween, where he would go trick or treating with them, and scare them at any opportunity. On Christmas Eve, he insisted on reading, “Twas the Night before Christmas” to all of his grandchildren as his personal tradition. He loved making his grandchildren laugh and was so proud of all of their accomplishments. Billy was happiest when surrounded by his adoring family and his many loyal and long-time friends, especially his best friend, Bobby Gaston. He was loved by all and never met a stranger. Billy had an infectious, fun and positive personality and loved nothing more than to make people laugh as he was always the life of the party. He was the eternal optimist and had a heart of gold. He would give you the shirt off of his back. Billy lived life to the fullest with his glass always half full attitude. He was truly one of a kind and he will forever be missed by all of his family and friends. The world has lost a truly great man that touched so many, but Heaven has gained another angel. Billy is preceded in death by his parents, William G. Gauthier Sr. and Mary Gertrude Wilbert Gauthier of Plaquemine, La. He is survived by his devoted wife, Anita Jane (Nita) McKinney; a son, William G. Gauthier III and wife Cindy; a daughter, Jennifer Gauthier Gray and husband Randy; his brothers, Charles Wilbert (Will) Gauthier and wife Michelle, Ronald Edward (Ron) Gauthier and wife Connie, and a sister Jeanie Gauthier. Six grandchildren, William Gauthier, Catherine Gauthier, Andrew Gauthier, Mary Elizabeth Gauthier, Jack Gray (deceased), and Melinda Gray. Nieces and nephews; Stephen Gauthier and wife Christy, Reagan Gauthier, Gigi Gauthier, Jennifer Bernbrock Hill and husband Hardy, and Kimberly Bernbrock. Great nieces and nephews; Austin Gauthier, Taylor Burrell (deceased), Emma Hill, and Gabby Hill. The Gauthier family wishes to sincerely thank all of Billy’s family and friends who supported and visited him throughout his illness and in his final days. We also want to thank Nurse Charlie and his staff with Baton Rouge Hospice, and the entire staff at Ollie Steele Burden Manor for their tireless care of Billy. A visitation will be held at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, 445 Marquette Ave., on Thursday, March 5, 2020 from 9:00 am to 10:30 am until the Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 am, to be officiated by Father Cleo Milano. A reception will follow in the OLOM Parish Activity Center across the street. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to Charlie’s Place, the Baton Rouge Hospice Foundation, and/or Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church.

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