Ninth Generation: Texas and Return

Walter Joseph Primeaux, Sr. was born January 24, 1906. He died October 8, 1976, at the age of 70. He married Nola Ledet on April 19, 1927.

Walter did not remain on the farm at Prarie Gregg. He took a job as a carpenter with the Texaco plant in Port Arthur, Texas, where he remained until 1945.

While Walter was living in Texas, the nation experienced the Great Depression. Jobs were nearly impossible to find, and starvation was never entirely out of the question for many Americans. Walter, Nola and their children were fortunate that Walter had steady work and a pay check. They were not rich by any measure, but they had a home, food on the table, and all of the necessities.

When Walter returned to Abbeville, he first owned and operated a bakery, which he later sold and purchased a grocery that he ran until he opened a retail appliance business that he operated with his son and son-in-law until he retired. The appliance business was known as Primeaux and Mouledous, and was located on South State Street across from the Rexall Pharmacy.

Walter had only a sixth-grade education, but he had a keen interest in current events, politics and history, and he stressed the importance of education to his children and grandchildren. He was beloved by his grandchildren, whom he took on outings to Laurence’s farm to visit Grandpa and Grandma Primeaux, hunt rabbits and to ride his Tennessee Walker horse “Beau.” He also enjoyed taking his grandchildren on long, meandering drives in the country in his old, red pickup truck he nicknamed the “fireball.” He smoked cigars for many years until the few years before he died, when Nola insisted that he stop. He managed to sneak a cigar smoke in every now and then while wandering around the countryside aboard his Fireball. He was a long-time member of the Lion’s Club and a Fourth-Degree Knight of Columbus.

Nola told of attending grade school in Abbeville at “the convent,” which was Mount Carmel school, then located to the north of Saint Mary Magdalen Church. The nuns were strict and would not allow the children to speak French on the school grounds. Any child caught speaking French was whipped and sent home. She said she got a whipping for speaking French on more than one occasion.

Walter and Nola had four children: Walter Joseph Primeaux, Jr., who is the next forefather in our line of descent; Elaine Ruth Primeaux, born September 5, 1930; Janice Marie Primeaux, born March 1, 1935; and Julie Ann Primeaux, born July 23, 1943. All of the children were born in Port Arthur, Texas.

Walter died suddenly on October 8, 1976, in Abbeville, of a heart attack. In the weeks before his death he had insisted that he and Nola travel around the country visiting relatives, and they went to Texas and Georgia. It was a fitting denouement to the life of a man who was so devoted to his family. During his funeral at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville, his first great-grand-child, Aimee Primeaux, who had been born August 23, was baptized.

Nola outlived Walter by nearly 30 years. By the time of her death, she was the undisputed matriarch of the family, holding sway by force of her unselfishness, easy grace, humor and unremitting love showered freely on all.

 

 

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