'Known as hero': 'June' Blanchard Day held in Iberville Parish

Deidre Cruse
HONORING AN IBERVILLE VET...The Iberville Parish Council last week declared December 23 as Theophile “June” Blanchard Jr. day in Iberville Parish. Parish Councilman Timothy J. “Tim” Vallet of Rosedale presents a copy to Blanchard, joined by family members at last week's council meeting. 
Photo courtesy of John J. Clark

The Iberville Parish Council used the 98th birthday to honor decorated World War II veteran Theophile “June” Blanchard Jr. – “known as a hero to many” – for his outstanding citizenship and years of service to his family, friends, community and country.”

As a member of the U. S. Army, the Plaquemine native and lifelong Iberville resident, endured 511 days of combat in five major battles during World War II, and received numerous service medals, including a purple heart.

His war years were the only time he lived away from his home in Bayou Blue.

He is the widower of Mary Alice Berry, the father of four, grandfather of nine and great-grandfather of 10.

Blanchard was graduated from Shady Grove High School in 1932, a time when school attendance required days of paddling his boat up Bayou Blue to ride a Model-T school bus, driven by his father.

Following in his father's footsteps, Blanchard drove a school bus for Iberville Parish for 26 years. During that time he worked as a contractor for Bayou Blue oil field.

For many years, he and his family maintained a farm and a large garden, sharing their bounty with friends and neighbors.