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-   -   Maj Kenneth Leo Bourgeois USMC (ret), 81, Shreveport, LA (

GyBill 07-11-2011 23:01 PM

Maj Kenneth Leo Bourgeois USMC (ret), 81, Shreveport, LA
SHREVEPORT, LA - Retired U.S. Marine Corps Major Kenneth Leo Bourgeois died July 8, 2011, at home following a valiant battle with cancer. He was 81 years old.

A native of New Orleans, he was the middle of seven sons of Robert Mitchell Bourgeois Sr. and Elizabeth E. Clark Bourgeois. He joined the Marine Corps in 1947 in New Orleans and served 26 years, retiring in 1973. In that time he served 14 years in the enlisted ranks, serving in combat in Korea and working as a drill instructor and recruiter. He was drawn into the officer corps and served two tours in Vietnam.

Ken was wounded in September 1952 in Korea at Kanmubong Ridge in the final drive of the Battle for the Punchbowl. He was not evacuated but was treated at the front and returned to battle.

Later in the 1950s, he was part of a small but important cadre of Marine observers at atomic tests at Frenchman Flat at the Nevada Test Site, witnessing blasts that included PRISCILLA and DIABLO. His Marine Corps service took him to Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Puerto Rico, Panama, Cuba, Hawaii, Wake Island and Guam.

After retirement, Ken worked in private business, including work as an exterminator. He and Edwana, his wife of almost 59 years, moved to their native New Orleans area from California in the late 1990s, living in Slidell. They remained there until they were forced to evacuate by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They then moved to Shreveport where Ken was active in veterans affairs through such groups as the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Marine Corps League, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the 40 & 8, the American Legion and the Marine Corps Mustang Association. He also was a member of the board of the Northwest Louisiana War Veterans Home in Bossier City. Survivors include his widow, Edwana Bourgeois; sons Michael Bourgeois of Jacksonville, N.C. and Kerry Bourgeois of Laguna Woods, Calif.; daughters Yvonne Vandgriffe of St. Louis, Mo. and Susan Cagle of Atlanta, Ga.; brother Otis Bourgeois of New Orleans; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and countless recruits he brought into the Marine Corps and mentored as a recruiter and DI. He was preceded in death by his parents and five brothers: James Bourgeois, Clarence Bourgeois, Jerry Bourgeois, Rene Bourgeois and Robert Bourgeois Jr., bombardier of Doolittle Raider airplane No. 13.

Ken was a member of St. Luke's United Methodist Church and was presently serving as Lay Leader. A memorial service celebrating Ken's life will be held at St. Luke's, 6012 Youree Drive in Shreveport, at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 13, with Rev. Terry Love officiating. Interment will follow at the Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery near Keithville, with full military honors. Friends may visit Ken's family at St. Luke's UMC beginning at 9:30 a.m. before the service. In lieu of flowers, Ken asked that memorials in his name be made to St. Luke's United Methodist Church - Children's Playground Fund.

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