Flags at Half-Staff--Honorable J. Kenneth Leithman
WHEREAS, the Honorable J. Kenneth Leithman died on July 10, 2017, at the age of 86;
WHEREAS, inspired to serve his country, he was recognized as a distinguished military graduate by Loyola and served in the Pusan Perimeter as a lieutenant in the 91st M.P. Bn. in 1953;
WHEREAS, he was 33 when he first ran for elected office, winning a seat on the Jefferson Parish School Board in 1963, and dedicated much of his life to civic, community, and religious service;
WHEREAS, first elected to serve in the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1968, and then re-elected three successive terms, Representative Leithman represented District 85 and Jefferson Parish with integrity and pride;
WHEREAS, in 1972, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as the first speaker pro tempore in Louisiana’s history and was re-elected in 1976;
WHEREAS, after his retirement from politics in 1984, he served as the founding head coach at the University of New Orleans for the men’s and women’s track programs;
WHEREAS, although he was influential in important legislation to build the second Mississippi River bridge at New Orleans and the West Bank elevated expressway, he was especially proud for his role in the passage of Act 754 of the 1977 Regular Session, which served as model legislation for other states, updating outdated education policy and allowing exceptional children to receive a better education;
WHEREAS, he was known by many for his love of sports; before being awarded the St. Sebastian Award by Loyola in 2005, he was inducted twice into the Loyola Sports Hall of Fame, in 1995 as one of Loyola’s greatest sprinters and again in 2002 as a member of the school’s 1951 and 1952 track teams, which won back-to-back Gulf States Conference championships; and
WHEREAS, while he will be affectionally remembered for being one of the influential Young Turks pushing for reform during his time at the legislature, he was treasured by those closest to him for his compassion, the sincerity and genuineness with which he sought to help those in need, and his loyalty.
NOW THEREFORE, I, JOHN BEL EDWARDS, Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: As an expression of respect and to honor the Honorable J. Kenneth Leithman, the flags of the United States and the State of Louisiana shall be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.
SECTION 2: This Order is effective upon signature and shall remain in effect until sunset, Tuesday, July 18, 2017.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the City of Baton Rouge, on this 18th day of July, 2017.
John Bel Edwards
Secretary of State