Leonelle “Nan” Folse Melancon

Leonelle “Nan” Folse Melancon

April 21, 1921 — November 20, 2017
Leonelle “Nan” Folse Melancon, a resident of Raceland, Louisiana, passed away peacefully at the Morgan City Health Care Center at the age of 96, surrounded by her family on Nov. 20, 2017.
Nan, born on April 21, 1921, in Raceland, was the daughter of Emile Folse and Serillia Bourgeous Folse.
She will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered by her daughter, Donna Rae Melancon Conner and spouse Paul of Morgan City; one sister, Zefa Folse Penisson; one brother, Gatewood “Pot” Folse; a sister-in-law, Marlene Beauvais Folse, all of Raceland; and two brothers-in-law, Clifford “Boy” Zerangue of Lafayette and Connie Ulysess Melancon of Bayou Blue.
Nan is also survived by six grandchildren, Kimberly Conner Hernandez and husband Cecil, Gavin P. Conner and wife Cindy, both of Morgan City, Timothy Shane Melancon and wife Nancy of Niceville, Florida, Sherri Melancon Herrera of Texas, Kelly Melancon of Houma and Jason Melancon Tompkins of California.
She also leaves six great-grandchildren, Julianna Hernandez and Collin Paul Conner, both of Morgan City and Shane, Lauren, Devin and Michelle Melancon, all of Niceville, Florida.
She was well known among the townspeople as “Aunt Nan” because she had so many nieces and nephews with some of the closest being Laurie Folse Matherne who claimed “Aunt Nan” as her second mother; her fishing buddy and niece Carolyn Folse LeGendre; her nephew Hodges Folse who was her helpful handyman; and her nephew BooBoo Folse who always supplied her with many fresh vegetables from his garden.
Nan was a homemaker who kept an immaculate house, and was a wonderful cook. Her hobbies were reading, gardening (she could make a stick grow) and fishing. She was a devout Catholic and a conservative Republican who served as the Secretary in the Women’s Republican Club of LaFourche Parish in the 60’s.
Nan suffered from Rheumatic Fever during her childhood which eventually caused heart problems as a young mother in the early 1950’s. With only months to live and no hope for recovery, because heart surgery had never been attempted as yet, Dr. Phillip Robichaux Sr. submitted her name to a Dr. Glover in Philadelphia. He, at the time, was experimenting on canine hearts, trying to find a way to open a calcium-blocked mitral valve. When three of the five canines lived, he sent word that he would perform surgery and try to save her life. She was flown to Philadelphia on a gurney and made history by becoming one of the first 25 people to ever have heart surgery in the United States. He was assisted by Drs. Benton Cooley and Michael BeBakey who both went on to become renown heart surgeons. The operation was very successful, but the doctors gave her only eight more years to live. She defied all odds by living to be 96 years of age.
After recuperating for six months, she was like an energizer bunny and decided to become a beautician. Traveling every day to New Orleans on a bus, she obtained her license from Molar Beauty College and opened “Nan’s Beauty Shop” in 1957 which was highly successful for 16 years. She then retired, bought a bass boat with a 75 horsepower motor, and fished every bayou, lake and stream in and around Raceland, Houma and the Leesville area for the next 28 years. Nan was considered, in the hearts of those who loved her, to be a “True Steel Magnolia” who prevailed against unimaginable odds in her life.
She was preceded in death by her devoted and loving husband of 57 years, Wilbert “Casey” Melancon; her son, Timothy Lee Melancon; four brothers, Harold Folse Sr., Clayton Folse, Reed Folse and Hodges “DeeDee” Folse; one sister, Helen Folse Zerangue; five sisters-in-law, Adriel Zerangue Folse, Leota Breaux Folse, Sylvia Authement Folse, Lois Melancon and Hazel Theriot Melancon; one brother-in-law, Thomas Penisson II; two nephews, Thomas Penisson III and Tommy “Tom-toe” Zerangue; and one great-grandson, Ryan Herrera.
Nan’s family would like to give special thanks to her devoted sitters who watched over her with loving care, Gail Rogers, Pat Phillips, Lee Johnson, Barbara Johnson, Kelly Cavalier, Nicky Aucoin and Wanda Crappell.
Pallbearers will be Gavin Conner, Collin Conner, Tim Melancon, Shane Melancon, Devin Melancon, Jan Reed Folse, Dirk Matherne and Jason Melancon Tompkins.
Honorary pallbearers are Joe LeGendre, Matt Melancon, Hodges Folse, Emile Folse, BooBoo Folse, Cecil Hernandez and Paul Conner.
Visitation will be Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, at St. Mary Nativity Church in Raceland, Louisiana, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. with a Mass of Christian Burial to be held immediately following the visitation at 11 a.m. with Reverend Charlie Perkins officiating and Collin Conner as altar server.
Falgout Funeral Homes LLC, 3838 La. 1, Raceland, Louisiana 70394 (985-537-5261), is in charge of arrangements.

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