Judge Leland Homer Coltharp Jr. died Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019, at his home. He was born in Maringouin but lived in DeRidder since 1935.
Services were held at the First United Methodist Church of DeRidder on Monday, Dec. 30. A private family burial was held at Beauregard Cemetery under the direction of Labby Funeral Home.
He graduated from DeRidder High School in 1943 and attended LSU for six months. In February 1944 just before his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, trained as a radarman and served aboard a minesweeper in the Central and South Pacific. He received his discharge in June 1946.
Following his discharge from the Navy he attended McNeese for one year and entered the LSU Law School in September 1947. He received his law degree in February 1950 and was admitted to practice law in Louisiana. In Law School he was selected to be a member of the staff of the LSU Law Review and was inducted into the Order of the Coif, a national legal honor society, which is considered to be the highest honor a law student can attain. He was elected president of his graduating class and after graduation he continued to serve in that capacity for numerous class reunions, scholarship fund drives and other class activities, including the establishment of the Law Class of 1950 Endowed Professorship of Law in 1997. In 1987 he was inducted as a charter member into the LSU Law School Hall of Fame.
He actively practiced law from 1950 until 1976, when he was elected as district judge for the 30th Judicial District for Beauregard and Vernon Parishes. From 1951 to 1953 he was Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana in Shreveport. In 1953 he returned to DeRidder and became a member of the firm of LeCompte, Hall and Coltharp where he remained until his election as district judge. In addition to the general practice of law, he served as assistant district attorney for the 30th Judicial District from 1955 to 1964 and he served as City Attorney of DeRidder from 1960 to 1970. While practicing law he was a member and past president of the 30th Judicial District Bar Association and served in the House of Delegates of the State Bar Association. He was also member of American Bar Association, the 36th Judicial District Bar Association and Southwest Louisiana Bar Association.
On Jan. 1, 1979, the 36th Judicial District Court was created to serve Beauregard Parish and he became the first judge of that court and served continuously until he retired on Dec. 31, 1990. While service as judge, he attended and graduated from the National Judicial College, he was member of the National Conference of State Judges, American Judges Association, National Council of Juvenile Judges, Louisiana District Judges Association and Louisiana Council of Juvenile Judges.
He served as president of the DeRidder Junior Chamber of Commerce, the DeRidder P.T.A., DeRidder High School Alumni Association and the DeRidder Lions Club. He was a trustee of Beauregard Memorial Baptist Hospital for many years and served as chairman 1958-59. He was a member of the Board of Control of the Beauregard Parish Library 1964-1976 and served as Chairman 1968-1976. He was a member of the Louisiana Library Association and was chairman of the Louisiana Library Development Committee 1970-73. He also served as a member of the American Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee 1972-75. In 1972, he received the Louisiana Library Association Modisette Award for Outstanding Trustee of Louisiana. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church.
Survivors include his wife, Laura Ray Coltharp; three daughters, Karen Coltharp Catalano and husband George Catalano of Binghamton, N.Y., Debra Coltharp of Maringouin and Pamela Coltharp and husband Rex Rainach of Baton Rouge; three grandsons; and one greatgranddaughter.
He was preceded in death by his father, Leland Homer Coltharp Sr.; mother, Una Mae Lefeaux Coltharp; and one brother,
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the First United Methodist Church in DeRidder, 406 Shirley St., DeRidder LA 70634.