For Immediate Release
Contact: Cynthia Duhon
LA House of Representatives
Phone: (225) 342-0349
October 14, 1999
Public Servant Elias "Bo" Ackal, Jr. Succumbs to Cancer
Former longtime member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and Special Assistant for Budget and Taxation to Governor Murphy J. "Mike" Foster, Elias "Bo" Ackal, Jr. passed away today after a battle with cancer. He was 64.
A member of the House from 1972 until August 1996, Bo will be remembered for his tireless demeanor and for the gift he had in breaking down complicated budget issues into simple terms that everyone could understand.
He resigned from the House in 1996 to assume the special assistant's position with the Governor's Office. Prior to 1972, he served as a member of the Iberia Parish School Board beginning in 1964. He served continuously until he was elected state representative of District 48, which includes portions of Iberia and St. Martin parishes.
Speaker of the House Hunt Downer said, "Although he is gone, Bo Ackal will always be an icon in Louisiana politics. He is a perfect example of the sacrifice and untiring work public servants do, and that we hear so little about. Bo was a giving person who genuinely cared about our state and her citizens. He always had his fellow man's interest at heart. He will live forever in our memories and we will certainly feel his loss."
Longtime friend and former House Speaker John A. Alario, Jr. said he would remember Bo as a friend first.
"Most people will remember Bo Ackal as a state official -- I will remember him not only as a dedicated public servant, but as a dear friend. Bo always had the state's best interest at heart, and he worked tirelessly for his constituents and all citizens of Louisiana. Bo Ackal touched many lives during his lifetime, and I am so grateful that he touched mine. He will be sorely missed."
During his legislative career, Ackal served on numerous legislative committees, particularly those dealing with budget and fiscal matters. He was a member of the Appropriations Committee for 10 years, serving as chairman from 1992 until 1996 and vice chairman from 1988-1996. He served as vice chairman of the Joint Committee on the Budget for four years of his 20-year term. He also served as chairman and vice chairman of the Interim Emergency Board and chairman of the House Legislative Services Committee and Acadiana Legislative Delegation. He was a member of the Joint Capital Outlay Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, State Bond Commission and Board of Trustees for the State Employees Group Benefits Program.
Ackal was the recipient of numerous awards and honors during his public service tenure. Most recently, he was honored for his untiring public service and accomplishments for the people of Louisiana. In August, the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism named the main road and conference center at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park in his honor. In September, the city of New Iberia honored him by naming a newly constructed gazebo/bandstand and meditation garden at City Park the "Elias 'Bo' Ackal, Jr. Meditation Garden and Gazebo."
Over the years he was honored by the Louisiana Association for Retarded Citizens, Louisiana Association of Educators, Louisiana Hospital Association, Louisiana Older American Volunteers, Louisiana Association of Deputy Sheriffs, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Louisiana Preservation Alliance, and the Iberia Parish Airport Authority, among others.
Ackal was manager of his family's businesses, Ackal's General Store and Ackal's Real Estate, from 1955-1972. He served as Public Relations Officer and Bank Director of the Bank of Iberia from 1979-1988.
He was a member of the Louisiana Army National Guard from 1953-1969. In 1981, they awarded him the "Distinguished Civilian Service Award."
Ackal was a member of various organizations, including the Woodmen of the World, Knights of Columbus and the Optimist Club.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, the former Dalel Helo of Crowley; five sons, Camille, Paul, Kalil, John and Elias III; one daughter, Rosemary Ackal Peters; and a sister, Edna Ackal Brower. He had nine grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elias and Mary Peters Ackal; a brother, Camille Peter Ackal; and a sister, Jeanette Catherine Ackal.
Visitation will be held at St. Peter Catholic Church, 108 St. Peter Street East, New Iberia, from 6:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Friday, October 15. Recitation of the Rosary will be that evening at 8:00 p.m.
Visitation will resume at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 16, until the burial mass at 12:00 noon. The principal celebrant will be The Reverend Steve Hymel and The Reverend Monsignor Guy Lemoine will concelebrate. Interment will be in Holy Family Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Alfred Ackal, Anthony Ackal, Dr. J. L. Comeaux, William J. "Billy" Dore, Clyde W. Kimball and James "Jim" Sandoz.
Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. James Falterman, Jr., Theodore "Ted" Brower, John A. Alario, Jr., M. L. "Bud" Mapes, Martin Cancienne, Charles J. Melancon, Randy K. Haynie, Wallace A. Walker, Eddie Ackal, Richard Johnson, Dr. Gerald Elias, Jr., William "Billy" Lohr, Kermit Helo, Henry Helo, Louis Ackal, Jr., Joseph Dow, Herman Gesser, and Tommy Brice.
Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of Acadiana, 2600 Johnston Street, Suite 200, Lafayette, LA 70503.