J OSEPH O. MISSHORE JR.
Joseph O. Misshore Jr. (Wydell) was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on December 15, 1932 to Joseph O. Misshore Sr. and Maude Vandage Misshore. He was the grand nephew of the late Mrs. Gertrude Geddes Willis. Baptized at Holy Ghost Catholic Church he attended Blessed Sacrament and Holy Ghost Elementary Schools. He was a proud graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, attended Xavier University of New Orleans and graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago.
As an award winning photographer, Mr. Misshore entered into a career of professional photograph from the late 1940’s to the 1990’s. He was well known for taking pictures for weddings, proms, and baby pictures.
While pursuing his dreams as a professional photographer Mr. Misshore entered into the family business. He was a licensed embalmer and funeral director and an insurance agent for the family businesses Gertrude Geddes Willis Funeral Home and Life Insurance Company.
While at Xavier University Wydell met the love of his life, Marjorie Martel, a beautiful country girl from Opelousas, Louisiana, and on October 2, 1954 they were married. From this union were born four children Belva Misshore Pichon, Joseph O. Misshore III, Wydell Michael Misshore and the Late Cathy Elizabeth Misshore.
After the death of his brother Willis J. Misshore and Mrs. Gertrude Geddes Willis, Mr. Misshore became the Owner, President and Chairman of the Board of Gertrude Geddes Willis Life Insurance Company and Funeral Home. During this time the Terrebonne Funeral Home was acquired and the G. G. W. Credit Union was established for the employees of the businesses.
Along with his wife Marjorie, until her death in 2002, and their children Joseph, Mike, and Belva the businesses continue the services that the Geddes Family has provided for over 170 years to the communities in both the Greater New Orleans and Houma, Louisiana areas, and since Hurricane Katrina many parts of the United States.
Mr. Misshore nearly a lifelong member of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club was King Zulu in 1979 following in the footsteps of his father, the late Joseph O. Misshore Sr. and uncle, the late Clem Vandage. He took great pride and enjoyment in the club that the late Mrs. Gertrude Geddes Willis aided in the early years, with a present continuous fellowship with the Carnival Club.
Mr. Misshore was a member of many carnival and social clubs during his lifetime, such as the Studs Club, the Bunch Club, and The Original Illinois Club where he and his daughter Belva were King and Queen in 1973.
In the early 1970’s Mr. Misshore along with a group of business and community leaders, including the late Mayor Ernest “Dutch” Morial and Xavier University President Dr. Norman Francis, established Liberty Bank and Trust Co., a minority bank in the city of New Orleans. Proud of the choice for President, Alden McDonald exceeded all expectations.
As with the family businesses Mr. Misshore cherished his affiliation with the bank and was deeply committed to it’s success.
Besides being Chairman of the Board and President of Gertrude Geddes Willis Life Insurance Company and Funeral Homes and a Board Member of Liberty Bank and Trust Company he held directorships with the National Insurance Association (NIA), where he was president in 1976 thru 1977, the Louisiana Insurers Conference, where he was president from 1988 thru 1989, Grambling State University Foundation, inc., Good Will Industries of New Orleans, Inc., Past Vice-President of the Greater New Orleans Tourist and Convention Commission, Interracial Council for Business Opportunity, and Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.
Mr. Misshore was a member of the Louisiana Insurers Conference, New Orleans Insurance Executives Council, Chamber of Commerce of Greater New Orleans, New Orleans Embalmers Association, Crescent City Funeral Directors, Louisiana Funeral Diectors and Morticians Association, National Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association, N.A.A.C.P., Urban League, E. O. Moss Grand Assembly #4 (Fourth Degree), Knights of Peter Claver, Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, Honorary Member of the Young Men Olympians, and Chairman of the 1976 Telethon, New Orleans Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation.
Joseph O. Misshore Jr. passed away on Monday March 3, 2008 doing what he did best, running the family businesses. A loving and caring father and a proud and loving grandfather of five, he was in love with his family and his extended families of Gertrude Geddes Willis Life Insurance Company and Funeral Home and Liberty Bank and Trust Company. His generosity and service in the community was outstanding and he was quite well known for this.
Affectionally known as “Daddy Wy” to his grandchildren, he was also known to many young and old as just “Daddy Wy”.
He leaves to cherish his memory three children, Belva Misshore Pichon, Joseph O. Misshore III, Wydell Michael Misshore; five grandchildren, Kathleen Elizabeth Pichon, Kristine Marie Pichon, Matthew Gabriel Pichon, Stephen Paul Martel Pichon, and Michael Alan Misshore; one son-in-law Walter Gabriel Pichon III; one sister-in-law Dorothy Martel Labat, Cousins Cecelia and Joe Hardin, Jacqueline Kendall, Lynn Foster, Julia and Iris Ford, and Maralise and the Gertrude Geddes Willis Family, Alvin and Cheryl Phoenix, Michael Peterson and Family, Diane Leslie, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Taplett, Rev. and Mrs. Isaac Riley, Carolyn Taplett, Rochelle Cannon, Versie Morris, Barbara Starwood, Sabrina Smith, Stephen Bastian, Alvin Tillman, Harry Tillman, Mabel Wilson, Clarence Phoenix, Elizabeth Square, Marion Spencer, Robert Booth, Kevin Joseph, Carnell Taplett, Wilbert Thompson, Diane Martin, Van Johnson, Linda Phoenix, Altra Nicholson, Michael Lewis, Lee Jackson, Wilbert Cornia, John Knox, Darlene Dunnaway and the late Romalis Pye. Devoted friends Delores Francis, June Marshall, Raymond and Marguerite Lassie, Hank and Florence Lucas, Gwen and Gus Grass, Mr. and Mrs. Albert St. Cyr, Mr. and Mrs. Allen Green, Leon and Alma Fulton, Bertha and Karen Pichon, Nell Rose Lapierre, Diana Bajoie, Renee Gill Pratt, Niles and Dardanella Hamilton, Beverly Gray, Robert and Aloha Collins, Hank Lucas, Fran and Joseph McManus, Karen and Terrence Humphrey, Alden and Rhesa McDonald, Norman and Blanche Francis, Joseph and Deidra Labat, Sybil Morial, Lydia Sindoz Adams, Betty and Blaise Duhe, Congressman and Mrs. William Jefferson, Dr. and Mrs. Elliot Willard and FamilY.