VILLE PLATTE -A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 19, 2020 at Our Lady Queen of All Saints Catholic Church for James Cecil Bert Colligan, 93, who passed away peacefully on Saturday, November 7, 2020 surrounded by his family and wife, Barbara Dupre Colligan.
Mr. Colligan will be fondly remembered by many for his dedication to providing healthcare to the Ville Platte community. He enjoyed a forty-year career in healthcare management which began as the hospital administrator of Dr. R. E. Dupre Hospital in 1953. The highlight of his tenure as administrator of Ville Platte Medical Center was his role in the inception and construction of the new hospital campus at 800 Main Street dedicated in 1974 (presently Mercy Regional Medical Center). While serving as Assistant Regional Manager for Humana Inc., Mr. Colligan was incredibly effective in recruiting physicians to hospital staffs throughout the region. He retired as Chief Executive Officer of his beloved Ville Platte Medical Center in 1995.
A World War II veteran, he served aboard the U.S.S. GAGE as a Gunners Mate, earning combat action citations and service medals as part of the Naval Amphibious Forces. Born in Church Point, Louisiana, Mr. Colligan made his home in Ville Platte following his graduation from SLI in 1950 while employed by the Louisiana State Soil and Water Conservation Commission. After studying pre-medical courses at LSU, he began his career in hospital administration. His civic involvement included his elected position on the Evangeline Parish School Board, American Hospital Association, Louisiana Hospital Association, Southwest Council of LHA, (serving as its president), Evangeline Parish Farm Bureau, Evangeline Parish Cattleman Association, Knights of Columbus, and American Legion. While serving as president of Our Lady Queen of All Saints Catholic Church Council, he facilitated the construction of the new church building dedicated in 1973.
He became an active member of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3803, where he served as its commander for 14 years. In addition to organizing the recognition ceremonies for local veterans, he actively recruited newly discharged veterans of the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan to membership. Serving to educate the elementary and high school students on patriotism, “Mr. Cecil” could often be sighted in our local schools as guest speaker to history classes, veteran’s day programs, flag folding instructions, and chairman of patriotic essay contests. In recent years, he has assisted many journalists and students acquire military research with his plentiful notes, journals, and detailed recollection of his time in service.
An avid outdoorsman, Mr. Colligan’s most cherished moments were duck and deer hunting, camping with his sons, nephews, and grandsons. His passion was traveling with his wife, often joining his siblings or children on the open road out west. Reuniting with his WWII shipmates provided additional travel opportunities. His children and grandchildren delighted in accompanying “Dedad” on tours of the National World War II museum while he recounted his experiences in the Pacific. He loved gardening of all kinds; seasonal vegetables, herbs, and fruit were always plentiful for his family to pick as were landscape beds and container gardens of annuals and perennials. His family members and friends were given hand-crafted wood items that he built himself. His retirement years were filled with taking orders for his sister’s Mardi Gras balls, school fundraisers, and grandchildren’s furniture.
He is survived by his loving spouse of 68 years, Barbara Dupre Colligan; sons; James “Jim” Colligan, Jr. and wife Janice, Robert Colligan and wife Rachel, Ted Colligan and wife Kim, Kelly Colligan and wife Lisa; daughters, Barbara Bayard and husband William, Patrice Hemmi and husband Randy, Connie Buller and husband Mark, 13 grandchildren 10 great grandchildren; sisters, Norma Colligan Goff, Theresa Colligan Michaels and husband Richard, Carol Ann Colligan Portier and husband Troy.
He is preceded in death by daughter, Mary Catherine Colligan, his father; Joseph Bertrand Colligan, Sr., mother; Louisiana Higginbotham Colligan, brothers; Joseph Bertrand Colligan, Jr., James Harold Colligan, and sister; Josephine Colligan.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of James C. Colligan to the Sacred Heart School Foundation, Miles Perret Cancer Services, or The National WWII Museum.