Judge Denald A. ‘Denny’ Beslin
Beslin rites set for Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 11 a.m.
A mass of Christian burial will be held on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Rayne to celebrate the life of Judge Denald A. “Denny” Beslin, 88, who died peacefully at his home on October 29, 2017 surrounded by his loving wife and family. Fr. Kevin Bordelon, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Rayne, will be officiating for the services. Fr. Richard Wagner, pastor of Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church will concelebrate the Mass assisted by Deacon Tim Ledet.
Visitation was held on Monday, October 30 from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. and will resume on Tuesday, October 31, from 8 a.m. until the time of service. A rosary was led by the Knights of Columbus and Court Rayne Catholic Daughters was recited at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.
Judge Beslin was born in Rayne, Louisiana on October 17, 1929 at the home of his parents, Walter J. and Fabiola Halphen Beslin, just one block from Rayne City Court where he presided as City Court Judge for 32 years. His years of judicial service along with the four years he served as a member of the Rayne Board of Aldermen made Judge Beslin the longest serving public official in the City of Rayne.
Judge Beslin is survived by his wife of 65 years, the former Claire Arceneaux. He is also survived by his children Anne B. Credeur and husband Stephen Credeur of Lafayette, Denise B. Trahan and husband John W. Trahan of Rayne, Jeanne B. Walk and husband Frank “Woody” Walk, Jr. of New Orleans, Matthew G. Beslin and wife Christine Higginbotham Beslin of Rayne, Judge Marie Elise “M’Elise” B. Trahan and husband Judge John D. Trahan of Crowley, John Jude Beslin and wife Cynthia Bullock Beslin of Rayne, Luke A. Beslin and wife Dr. Charina “Chary” Tan Beslin of Rayne and daughter-in-law Renee Buller Beslin of Rayne.
He is also survived by his 13 grandchildren Nicole Credeur, John William “Bill” Trahan, Jr., Jennifer Beslin Richard, Anthony J. Beslin, Dr. Claire Trahan Ronkartz, Mark Frederick “Rick” Beslin II, Dr. Daniel Beslin Walk, Adrienne Trahan Catalano, Travis J. Beslin, Andre’ P. Trahan, Caroline E. Beslin, Margaret E. Beslin and Mary Frances Beslin. He is also survived by 13 great-grandchildren Alec Arceneaux, Ainsley Trahan, Anna Trahan, Dallas Beslin, Addi Beslin, Avery Beslin, Charlotte Richard, Elizabeth Richard, Amie Beslin, Ty Beslin, Beau-Michael Beslin, Allie Ronkartz and Catherine Ronkartz. Judge Beslin is also survived by his sister-in-law Anna Joyce Arceneaux, his niece Wendy Hebert Holmetoft, longtime family friend Bertha Jones and trusted legal secretary of 37 years Margaret Bergeron.
He was preceded in death by his son Mark Frederick Beslin; his parents Walter J. and Fabiola Halphen Beslin, his in-laws Ulysse J. and Maxime Hebert Arceneaux; and his brothers-in-law Ivan J. Arceneaux and Antoine Hebert III.
Judge Beslin was a devout Catholic and lifelong member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Rayne. In his youth he was an altar server to Monsignor Hubert Lerschen, and in his adult life he served as a lector and as a Trustee for the Parish Council. He faithfully supported St. Joseph’s as well as Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church. Judge Beslin attended St. Joseph Seminary at St. Benedict, Louisiana for one year before returning to complete his high school studies at St. Joseph High School in Rayne. He received his B. A. degree from Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now University of Louisiana Lafayette), and obtained his Juris Doctorate at Loyola University Law School in 1952.
While at SLI, he was a member of Blue Key Honor Society and a member and officer of the National Honor Society. He was honored with inclusion in “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities”. He was president of the Pre-law Fraternity at SLI and also served as an officer in Pi Gamma Mu social studies honor society. During the time he studied at Loyola Law School, he was a member of the Law Review and also served on the Student Council. He returned to Rayne in 1952 and entered the practice of law with Judge James C. Arceneaux in the law firm of Arceneaux & Beslin, where he practiced for the next thirteen years. In 1958 he was elected to serve as a member of the Rayne Board of Aldermen and Mayor Pro Tem, serving until 1962, during the administration of Mayor Marcus D. Bordelon. Following the death of Judge Arceneaux in 1965, he was appointed to complete the unexpired term of office as City Judge of the City Court of Rayne. He was elected to an additional five full terms, serving a total of 32 years. Judge Beslin also established a partnership with Charles W. Chappuis in 1965 under the firm name of Chappuis & Beslin. He later formed the partnership of Beslin & Cunningham with James M. Cunningham III, and practiced there until his retirement in 2006.
He was joined in the practice of law by two of his children, M’elise who practiced with him from 1987 to 1999, and Luke, who has been with the firm since 1997. By appointment of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, Judge Beslin served as Judge Ad Hoc on the Fifteenth Judicial District Court in all three parishes, Acadia, Lafayette and Vermilion. The Supreme Court also appointed him to serve as Judge Ad Hoc of the Breaux Bridge City Court for a period of six months. Judge Beslin was an active member of the community, having held all offices, including the presidency, of the Rayne Lions Club. He was also a member of Acadian Council #1897 of the Knights of Columbus where he served as Grand Knight, and a member of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus. In 1977 he was honored as the Grand Marshal of the Rayne Frog Festival. Judge Beslin was a member and past president of the Acadia Parish Bar Association, a member of the Fifteenth Judicial District Bar Association, a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, a member and past president of the Louisiana City Judges’ Association, a member and past president of the Louisiana Juvenile Court Judges’ Association and a member and past District Governor of the American Judges Association and a member of the House of Delegates of the American Judges Association. In 2012 Judge Beslin was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Evangeline Area Council Boys Scouts of America. That same year he was recognized by the Louisiana State Bar Association as a 60 year member. Judge Beslin was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed fishing, hunting and playing golf with his sons. More important than any of his civic or professional accomplishments, Judge Beslin was an extraordinarily devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend.
The family would like to thank his wonderful caregivers during the last year of his life and the staff at Louisiana Hospice and Palliative Care.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Rayne Catholic Elementary, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Rayne or Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Rayne.