The Life of Chantal Dowty

Funeral Services will be held at a 2:30 PM Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, September 7, 2012, at Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church in Lafayette, for Chantal Le Clère Dowty, who died peacefully on Saturday, September 1, 2012, in Lafayette, Louisiana. The Reverend Monsignor Robert Angelle will be Celebrant of the Funeral Mass and will conduct the funeral services. Lectors will be Kaye Herpin and Virginia Stuller. Giftbearers will be Lynne and Joey Durel. Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist will be Dan Bouligny; J.D. Morein will assist at the altar. The musical selections will be offered by Jodi Bollich, Dave Domingue, Kevin Martin and Lauren Baker, and will include "Amazing Grace", "Be Still My Soul", "Pie Jesu", "Panis Angelicus", "Ave Maria" and "J’irai la Voir un Jour". Interment will take place in the Lafayette Memorial Park, Lafayette, Louisiana. Mrs. Dowty was born in Arcachon, in the Gironde department of France, the daughter of Charles Rafael Loreano Le Clère, from Brive la Galliarde, in the Corrèze department of France, and the former Marie Louise de Royère, from Limoges, France, in the Haute Vienne. She is survived by four children, Régis Larue de Tournemine and his wife Brigitte, of Strasbourg, France; Michelle Larue de Tournemine of Biarritz, France; Jean Pierre Massart and his wife Rosine, of Saint-Martin-le-Noeud, France; and Catherine Gil (née Massart) of Rodez, France; eight grandchildren, Pierre, Sean, Bastien, Elsa, Caroline, Jessica, Valérie and Arthur; and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Forrest K. “Dick” Dowty, Sr.; by her parents and by one son, Hugues Larue de Tournemine. Chantal arrived in Louisiana in 1970. Her first few years in Lafayette were spent assisting former Louisiana State Legislator and U.S. Congressman James Domengeaux in establishing the Council of Development for French in Louisiana (CODOFIL). During that time, she worked very closely with the Rotary International and the Rotary Clubs in Lafayette and Saint Martinville, and with Dalton Herbert and his son, Raymond, to organize youth exchanges between France and Louisiana. Moreover, she worked with Father Jean Marie James to organize the stay of Louisiana youth groups in Marvejols, France, during the summer. Although she did not want to take the credit, she was most likely responsible for hundreds of exchanges between Louisiana teenagers and French teenagers during the early years. She was hired by President Ray Authement of the University of Southwestern Louisiana to direct the French House, located at the corner of Johnston Street and Saint Mary Boulevard. She was known by many as the “Châtelaine de la Maison Acadienne Francaise.” She organized numerous events, socials, and French conversation classes. In the 1980s, she hosted at the French House the French Cultural Services of the French Consulate General based in New Orleans. Under Mayor Dud Lastrapes, she served as “Goodwill Ambassador of Lafayette,” organizing and chairing the “Lafayette Allies” committee to support City Hall’s international activities; she served from 1977 to 1979 as President of the Association France-Amérique de la Louisiane Française; in 1984, she assisted with the organization of La Fête de Lafayette, the celebration of the city’s centennial anniversary; and she served on the Board of Directors for TIRAA, The International Relations Association of Acadiana, founded by the late Robert Angers. In 2005, Mrs. Dowty received TIRAA’s Citizen of the Year award. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the CODOFIL Foundation, and was a strong supporter and benefactor of the year-long 2007 Lafayette, Louisiana celebrations honoring the Marquis de La Fayette and the ties between France and Louisiana. Mrs. Dowty joined her husband in his enthusiastic support of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In addition to creating several endowments for the university, Chantal and Dick established funding for the construction of the University of Louisiana Lafayette Foundation building, named in their honor as The Forrest K. “Dick” and Chantal Dowty Foundation Center for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The Dowtys were active in a number of Mardi Gras, arts and educational organizations and were known for their generosity and support. As a result of her lifelong, selfless dedication to the developmental and educational ties between her native country and Lafayette, Louisiana, she was presented with France’s highest award of civil merit, the Croix de Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor. Mrs. Dowty was selected for contributions spanning many years to French in Louisiana by supporting the creation and the continued progress of organizations like CODOFIL. The Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon Bonaparte 200 years ago to recognize military and civilian recipients who made exceptional contributions to humankind, both in France and abroad. The award presentation was conducted by Mr. Guy Wildenstein, President of the American Society of French Legion of Honor, on March 20, 2001, in the presence of the Consul General of France to the United States Bernard Maizeret, and an assembly of municipal, parochial and state officials. The ceremony was held at Le Centre International de Lafayette, an organization she actively supported throughout the remainder of her life. The family requests that visitation be observed in Martin & Castille's DOWNTOWN Lafayette location on Thursday, September 6, 2012 from 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM, with a rosary recited at 7:00 PM. Visitation will continue on Friday from noon until the time of the services. Those wishing to make a donation in lieu of flowers may do so to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation, 705 East St. Mary Boulevard/P. O. Box 44290, Lafayette, Louisiana 70504-4290, or website: Pallbearers will be Philippe Gustin, Chris Marks, Steve Brignac, Patrick Poupart, Mike Skinner and Tommy Kreamer. Honorary Pallbearers will be Dr. Ray Authement, Dr. Harold Jacobs, Lionel Robin, Andrew Landry, Joey Hebert, Ricky Veron and Dr. Steve Abshire. Martin & Castille-DOWNTOWN-330 St. Landry St., Lafayette, LA 70506, 337-234-2311

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