Robert L. ‘Bob’ Fournet
Lafayette – Funeral services will be held at a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008, at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church for Robert L. “Bob” Fournet, 80, who passed away on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008, at Lafayette General Medical Center.
His Excellence The Most Reverend Glen Provost, Bishop of Lake Charles, will be celebrant of the Mass and will conduct the funeral services.
Interment will take place in Lafayette Memorial Park.
He is survived by his sons, J. Jacques Fournet II and Alana Lackey of Fort Collins, Colorado, Robert McClelland Fournet and Kelly Dupre of Hemphill, Texas, and Henri Labbe Fournet and Tara Ann Fournet of Granby, Colorado; his four brothers, Howard L. Fournet, Thomas R. Fournet, Frederick A. Fournet and Daniel J. Fournet; and his two sisters, Anna Louise Fournet and Nell Fournet Comeaux.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Joan Ellen McClelland Fournet; two brothers, Paul A. Fournet and James A. Fournet; and one sister, Marie Jeanne Fournet Holly.
Born in 1928, Bob was the sixth of Jean Jacques and Ann Aurore Fournet’s ten children. He was raised on the Fournet dairy farm located where the Autumnwood Place Shopping Center stands today. His life would parrallel the growth of modern day Lafayette; his childhood shaped by the Great Depression and WWII, his education and love of community allowed him first to benefit from, then contribute to Louisiana’s burgeoning oil and gas industry and to the growth of our great University.
Bob lived all of his 80 years on the family property, often referred to as Fournetville. Bob’s early years were shaped by life on a dairy farm, where milking cows and delivering milk to area homes came hours before classes began at Cathedral school. After graduating high school in 1945, Bob’s goals to serve his country and to further his education would coincide as he entered college. Bob joined the Naval Reserve while enrolled at Southwestern Louisiana Institute, or SLI (now UL), and pursued a degree in geology. Bob also managed to earn athletic letters playing football for the SLI Bulldogs. Those early years on the playing field innaugurated what would become a lifetime passion supporting UL athletics.
Bob’s career in the oil and gas industry began soon after graduating from SLI in 1952, first with Hycalog and later with Eastman Directional Drilling. In 1953, the Department of the Navy awarded Bob the American Spirit Honor Award. In 1954 Bob married the love of his life, Joan Ellen McClelland, and together they raised three sons and helped change the face of the community. Bob and Joanie formed The Bob Fournet Company in 1972, a downhole directional surveying company. The Bob Fournet Company (BFC) would eventually employ over 140 people worldwide. Known for its innovation, the company would go on to develop an industry changing directional surveying downhole tool.
Retirement years for Bob were anything but retiring. After the sale of BFC in 1997, Bob’s second career began. Since its inception in the early 70s, Bob has served as managing partner for Anse Berluchaud Land Company, developers of Autumnwood Place Shopping Center. The proximity of the shopping center to both the UL Athletic Department and to Johnston Street would provide Bob with ample opportunities to share his boundless energy and intellect. As a member of the “Dirty Dozen and a Half,” a dedicated group of stalwart UL fans, Bob was a vocal fixture at UL football, baseball and basketball games for many years.
In 2001, Bob and other property owners along Johnston Street joined Lafayette Consolidated Government to further the cause of The Johnston Street Corridor Re-Development Team, a group pledged to formulate a master plan for the redevelopment of the venerable thoroughfare, one that Bob had witnessed its transformation from a dirt-to gravel-to blacktop-to five lane commercial artery.
The names of the organizations, clubs, civic groups and committees through which Bob contributed to his community are too numerous to list. In its place, lines from a prayer written by his father, Jean-Jacques Fournet, for his bride on their wedding night in 1921 better illuminate Bob’s dedication to returning the gifts he’d been given,
“ … Almighty God, this is our wedding night and we are before Thee in our bridal chamber, look down on us and hear our prayer. Bless our union …Make and keep us worthy of a family of fine little children who will be worthy of Thee and a credit to the community …”
For 80 years, Bob Fournet strived to answer his father’s prayer. All those who’s lives Bob touched felt his worthiness to Thee and remain grateful recipients of the community he so enriched.
The family requests that visiting hours be observed on Wednesday from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. and continue on Thursday from 8 a.m. until time of service.
A rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the funeral home.
Pallbearers will be Bob’s sons, J. Jacques Fournet II, Robert M. Fournet, Henri L. Fournet, James S. Comeaux, Brian P. Fournet, Charles H. Fournet, Steven McClelland, James J. Adams and Michael Donovan. Honorary pallbearers will be his brothers, Howard L. Fournet, Thomas R. Fournet, Frederick A. Fournet, Daniel J. Fournet, Don Beadle, George Starr, Jerry Daigle and Dave Alderman.
In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to remember the UL Lafayette Foundation, P.O. Box 44290, Lafayette, LA 70504 in memory of Bob Fournet, Fullfilling the Fatima Capital Campaign, Our Lady of Fatima Church, 2319 Johnston St., Lafayette, LA 70503, or St. Joseph Abbey and Seminary College, 75376 River Road, Saint Benedict, LA 70457.
Personal condolences may be sent to the Fournet family at www.delhommefuneralhome.com.
Delhomme Funeral Home, 1011 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette, is in charge of funeral arrangements.