Military Wiki
Frank Voelker Jr.
File:Frank Voelker, Jr., of LA.jpg
Born (1921-02-12)February 12, 1921
Lake Providence
East Carroll Parish
Louisiana, United States
Died January 29, 2002(2002-01-29) (aged 80)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Place of burial Lake Providence Cemetery
Alma mater

Louisiana Tech University
Tulane University Law School

Harvard Law School
Occupation Attorney; farmer; politician
Political party Democratic
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Virginia Wilson Voelker (married 1947–2002, his death)

Mullady Voelker Crigler
Dr. Frank Voelker, III
David Ransdell Voelker (1953–2013)
Mary V. Clauss
Kitty V. Mattesky

George W. Voelker
Parents Frank Voelker Sr. and Isabella Ransdell Voelker

Grandfather Francis Xavier Ransdell

Great-uncle, U.S. Senator Joseph E. Ransdell

Frank Voelker Jr. (February 12, 1921 – January 29, 2002),[1] from Lake Providence in East Carroll Parish in far northeastern Louisiana, was an attorney, chairman of the former Louisiana Sovereignty Commission, and. briefly, a candidate for governor of Louisiana in 1963.


Voelker was the second of five children born to Isabel Ransdell and Frank Voelker Sr., a Louisiana 6th Judicial District judge, both of Lake Providence.[2][better source needed] Isabel was the daughter of District Judge Francis Xavier Ransdell, who preceded Frank Voelker Sr. on the court.[2][better source needed]

Voelker's last surviving sibling, Flournoy Voelker Guenard (1924–2016), who was born in Texarkana, Arkansas, worked in the Northeast Louisiana Savings and Loan Association, a company founded in Lake Providence by their mother. "Flo," as she was known, was the widow of Stephen Hortaire Guenard (1918–2002),[3] whose uncle, James Hortaire Guenard (1893–1948), was the clerk of court for East Carroll Parish at the time of his death.[4]

Voelker Jr. graduated from the Roman Catholic St. Patrick Parochial School in Lake Providence and then received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. In 1943, he graduated from Tulane University Law School in New Orleans.[2][better source needed]

From 1943 to 1946, he was a first lieutenant and a pilot in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. Among his assignments, he trained pilots at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. After military service, he engaged in 1946 and 1947 in further study of corporations and taxes at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[5] Voelker is mentioned in the book, All Aboard: Lucky in War, Lucky in Peace, Lucky in Love by James Gobold, a war buddy.[6]

Legal career

After his year at Harvard, Voelker launched his law practice in Lake Providence; his partners included W. B. Ragland Jr., Charles Brackin, and James Carpenter Crigler Sr. In 1950, he was appointed city attorney,[5] a position that he filled until Governor Jimmie Davis named him to the Louisiana Sovereignty Commission,[7] a since defunct agency which monitored civil rights activists and alleged communist infiltrators within the state, much as the Federal Bureau of Investigation had done under J. Edgar Hoover. The agency was modeled after the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, which functioned from 1956 to 1977. Critics of the commission claimed that it was created to defend racial segregation, which soon was brought to an end through federal intervention. W. Spencer Myrick, then a former state representative from Oak Grove in West Carroll Parish, was an investigator for the commission.[8] When Voelker left the commission, so did Myrick, who was elected in 1963 to the Louisiana State Senate.[9]

After his gubernatorial race, the Voelkers relocated to New Orleans, where he was a partner in the law firm McGlinchey Stafford. Active in his state and national bar associations, Voelker in 1995 was named Distinguished Attorney by the Louisiana Bar Foundation. He was a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.[5]

Gubernatorial race

In 1963, Voelker resigned from the Sovereignty Commission to run for governor in the Democratic primary election in which Davis was ineligible to seek a third nonconsecutive term. In his campaign, Voelker urged the establishment of a cost-of-living formula for state employees and public welfare recipients.[10] A few weeks after Voelker entered the race, his father died of a heart attack.[11]

Voelker ran considerable advertising, including television spots in his gubernatorial race.[12] However, he could not make inroads into the top tier of candidates and therefore withdrew from the race to become chairman of the campaign of former Governor Robert F. Kennon.[13] When Kennon finished in fourth place in the primary held on December 7, 1963, just fifteen days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Voelker supported another losing candidate, deLesseps Story Morrison, the former mayor of New Orleans who had led the primary balloting but then lost the runoff election to John McKeithen,[7] who then dispatched the Republican Charlton Lyons in the general election held on March 3, 1964.[14]

Personal life

In 1947, Voelker married Virginia Wilson (1921–2011), a native of Weston in Lewis County in northern West Virginia. They were married by a priest in Chatham, New Jersey. Virginia Voelker graduated from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland, and then attended acting school in New York City. She established the Good Shepherd Early Childhood Development Center, an early elementary Montessori school in Lake Providence.[15]

The couple had six children, one of whom, David Ransdell Voelker, was a New Orleans entrepreneur and community leader.[16] The eldest, Mullady Voelker Crigler of Monroe, married James Carpenter Crigler Jr., an attorney who was reared in St. Joseph in Tensas Parish. Crigler's father, J. C. Crigler Sr. (1919–2016), a Mississippi native who fought in World War II under General George S. Patton Jr., farmed the Sunnyside Plantation in St. Joseph and was a law partner of Frank Voelker Jr. The senior Crigler graduated from Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi School of Law.[17]

The other Voelker children are Frank Voelker, III, a physician from Franklinton in Washington Parish who specializes in cardiovascular disease,[18] and Mary V. Clauss, Kitty V. Mattesky, and George W. Voelker, all of New Orleans.[15][19]

Voelker was affiliated with the veterans organizations, the American Legion and the Forty and Eight, the Farm Bureau, Rotary International, and the executive board of the Ouachita Council for the Boy Scouts of America. He was a member of the board of governors of the Council of State Governments. The Voelkers were members of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Lake Providence prior to their move to New Orleans.[2][better source needed] Mrs. Voelker was a board member of the Arts Council of New Orleans and the Harper and the Mitchiner-Gittinger family foundations there.[15]

Death and legacy

Voelker died in New Orleans two weeks before his 81st birthday. He and his wife are interred at Lake Providence Cemetery.[1]

The Voelker Scholarship at Tulane Law School is awarded periodically to a student from North Louisiana who has demonstrated academic excellence and a commitment to the study of civil law.[20]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Frank Voelker Jr.". Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "East Carroll Parish, Louisiana, Genealogy, August 24, 2010". Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  3. "Flournoy Voelker Guenard". The Monroe News-Star. August 14, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2016. 
  4. "James Hortaire Guenard". Retrieved August 30, 2016. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "In Memoriam, 1940–1949". Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  6. James Godbold (August 1, 2003). All Aboard: Lucky in War, Lucky in Peace, Lucky in Love. iUniverse. pp. 287, 325. ISBN 978-0-595-28865-6. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Minden Press, Minden, Louisiana, September 23, 1963, p. 16; Minden Herald, January 9, 1964, p. 15
  8. "Jerry P. Shinley Archive: Origins of the Louisiana Un-American Activities Committee". Retrieved May 16, 2010. 
  9. "Membership in the Louisiana State Senate, 1880–2012". 16, 2010. Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. 
  10. Ruston Daily Leader, Ruston, Louisiana, May 30, 1963, p. 1
  11. "Death of Judge Frank Voelker Sr.". Lake Charles American Press, July 3, 1963. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  12. Minden Press, Minden, Louisiana, July 15, 1963, p. 7
  13. Minden Herald, September 10, 1963, p. 2
  14. Louisiana Secretary of State, General election returns, March 3, 1964
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "Virginia Wilson Voelker". Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  16. "David Ransdell Voelker". Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  17. "James Carpenter Crigler". The Monroe News-Star. August 9, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2016. 
  18. "Dr. Frank Voelker". Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  19. "David Voelker, 'one of the great saints of the recovery,' dies at 60". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 2, 2013. [dead link]
  20. "Frank Voelker Jr. Scholarship". Retrieved June 1, 2013. 

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