Howard James “HJ” Desselle, Jr., 93, Marksville

Long time defender of equal rights in Avoyelles.

Howard Desselle, a long time defender of the underprivileged citizens of Avoyelles, has died.

A Mass of Christian Burial for Mr. Howard James “HJ” Desselle, Jr. will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, November 10, 2018 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marksville with Father Rusty Rabalais officiating. Interment will be in St. Joseph Mausoleum #2 in Marksville with reception following at the D. A. Jordan Sports & Recreation Complex, 551 Martin Luther King Blvd., Marksville, Louisiana 71351. Arrangements are under the direction of Hixson Brothers Funeral Home of Marksville.

Mr. H J Deselle, Jr., age 93, of Marksville, was reunited with his ancestors on November 3, 2018. He ended his earthly journey peacefully in the comforts of his home with Joyce, his loving wife and companion of more than 60 years at his side. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Clara; his brother, Cunningham; one grandson, Daniel and niece, Frances “Frankye”.

Howard was born on November 20, 1924 in Marksville, Louisiana to the late Howard Sr. and Anntee Cunningham Desselle He served as a contributor to the community as an entrepreneur and an educator. His parents prepared him for life with Christian beliefs and a value for commitment to community service which lead him to become a political and social advocate throughout his life. He is credited with working tirelessly with the NAACP in securing voting rights for African American residents of Avoyelles Parish in the 1960’s.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from Tuskegee Institute of Alabama and returned to Louisiana to serve in this field as an employee at Southern University. During his tenure at Southern he met and married Joyce, his wife and best friend of 61 years. Howard and Joyce continued to promote education, faithfulness and service to others as they raised their children. He served on numerous community and civic committees; was an active member and support of Holy Ghost Catholic Church. He took great pride, while giving credit to God, that “all three of his children” were providers of service to others in their careers.

As the Assistant Director of Avoyelles Parish Action Committee, Howard worked towards making life better for underprivileged residents of Avoyelles Parish. Upon completion of that position he returned to his love for farming, political advocacy and other entrepreneurial opportunities

He believed in the importance of an education; advising others to “let your brain be your strongest muscle”. His constant encouragement was that one must endeavor to work hard and a make a difference.

In the end he was pleased with his journey; his ups and downs, and the many lessons he learned, and valued. He was always there to share his knowledge and experiences to inspire others especially, his children, nieces and grandchildren. He rejoiced, daily, that he was “Blessed” to have his wife, children, and a successful and abundant life!

Howard is survived by his wife, Joyce; two sons, Howard Desselle, III (Janice) and Trent Desselle (Amy); one daughter, Gladys Smith Desselle; nine grandchildren, Rosetta, Christian, Howard IV, Grant, Alexis, Beata Dillon, Raeven and Jemihl; four neices, Cyrille Ann, Melody, Joy, Glenda; great and great-great nieces and nephews

Pallbearers honored to serve will be Howard Desselle, IV, Grant Desselle, Dillon Desselle, John Johnson, Allen Holmes and Jemihl Thomas.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, November 10, 2018 in the chapel of Hixson Brothers from 10:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.


105 N Main St
Marksville, LA 71351
(318) 253-9247