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Breaux Bridge woman defined involved

When Virginia Yongue died Oct. 5 in Breaux Bridge, one of the tributes to her suggested that she is now heading a committee in heaven.
That’s probably not quite right. She is surely heading at least three committees, sitting on a handful of others, and working quietly in the background for a few causes that as yet have no committee — all the while making everyone around her think that they are the most important people in the room.
If juggling a dozen things didn’t come naturally to her, she learned to do it quickly — as a mother who was much involved in the lives of her 10 children; wife of a busy doctor and manager of his practice; church, school, and community volunteer; or helper in fun events such as the Lafayette Mardi Gras or Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival.
She was recognized with the Lafayette Civic Cup in 1997; Breaux Bridge’s Distinguished Community Service Award in 1998; Our Lady of Lourdes’ Franciscan Spirit Award in 2007; The Bishop’s Service Award in 2009; and a Leader in Philanthropy Award by the Community Foundation of Acadiana in 2014.
The honors were richly deserved, but she never sought any of them. As often as not she was genuinely surprised that she should even be considered for them. “Darlin’,” she’d say when congratulated for them (everyone was darling to her), “I was just helping out.”
She helped everywhere: president of the Breaux Bridge Chamber of Commerce and of the Crawfish Festival, chair of the campaign to put up a statue of Breaux Bridge founder Scholastique Picou Breaux, and was as a member of the Breaux Bridge Historical Society and of Les Vingt-Quatre, the organization that restored the Alexandre Mouton house in Lafayette. She served on the boards of the UL Foundation and the Acadiana Symphony and was a member of the Lafayette Parish Medical Auxiliary, Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, Southwest Louisiana Rehabilitation Center, Acadiana Opera Society, Fine Arts Foundation, Friends of Humanities, Lafayette Natural History Museum, Grief Center, Vita Program, and Faith House, and that’s not the whole list.
She was a lecturer and eucharistic minister at St. Bernard Church, sat on the parish council and was active in the prison ministry, Catholic Daughters, and the Altar Society, and, according to her obituary, spent her spare (!) time “learning, entertaining, dancing, baking, gardening, reading, needlepointing, playing bridge, genealogy … traveling… [and] spending time with her extended family and friends.”
Amazingly, she never seemed busy or rushed or abrupt. She was always gracious. She lways had time to visit a bit, to ask about how things are going, to share a smile.
Several of the tributes to her remarked on her generosity not only with material things but also her time, talents, spirit. She said that came from her mother, who had “a warm and giving nature.”
That may have been part of her inspiration, but the biggest part was simply that she loved her family, her church, her community, and practically everyone she met, and was able to pass her inspiration on to them.
When Virginia came to you and said, “Darlin’, I need you to help me with this,” it was impossible to say no — as several celestial committees are now finding out.
A collection of Jim Bradshaw’s columns, Cajuns and Other Characters, is now available from Pelican Publishing. You can contact him at or P.O. Box 1121, Washington LA 70589.

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