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Oct 1, 2010 5:09 PM

Musician Antoine "Tony" Thibodeaux Dies at 72

Funeral services will be held Saturday, October 2, 2010 at a 2:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial in Evangeline Memorial Gardens Chapel in Carencro for Antoine "Tony" Thibodeaux, age 72, who passed away Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 1:35 a.m. at his residence in Lake Charles.
Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery in Lafayette.
Musical selections will be provided by Ron Moreau accompanied by Phyllis Simar on the organ. The songs will be Amazing Grace, J'Irai La Voir Un Joir, How Great Thou Art, Yahweh Is My Shepherd and The Old Rugged Cross will be played by Cheryl Cormier on the accordion and James Bearb on the fiddle.
Mr. Thibodeaux was a native and lifelong resident of Lafayette. He was a well-known musician and also an insurance salesman with Evangeline, Security and Melancon Life Insurance. He served in the U.S. Army National Guard. Mr. Thibodeaux was a former employee of the Abbeville Police Department in the late 1970's for about ten years.
Tony Thibodeaux, like many master fiddlers played with a package of impeccably clean intonation drawn with an equally smooth bow, which resulted in his Cajun/Country/swing style. He was noted in a January 20, 2007 interview, which appears in a book written by Ron Yule, Titled "Louisiana Fiddlers". Tony acknowledged local fiddlers who influenced him were Hector Duhon, Aldus "Popeye" Broussard, and Clopha Dugas.
Tony began playing his accordion in his first band in 1949 with David Roy. Soon he began playing in a three-piece band with Adam Maitre, and then played with Walter Mouton. In 1955, Mr. Thibodeaux joined Aldus Roger and the Lafayette Playboys and played with them for over thirteen years and had made several appearances on KLFY with the group.
By the mid sixties, Tony's musical abilities became more popular and in demand. He began a series of stints with many noted accordion players, sometimes playing single fiddle, twin and even triple fiddles. His career, which has spanned over fifty years, included playing at major festivals in the southern part of Louisiana.
In the late 1960's, he joined Belton Richard, recording three albums during this fifteen year period. He joined his cousins, Paul Daigle and Cajun Gold, and Doris Matte and the Lake Charles Ramblers; in which several LPs resulted, including at least two with Paul and Cajun Gold.
Tony was also continually present in the bands of many Cajun performers, including Rodney Miller and Vin Bruce.
Over the years, one of his prime associations was with his friend Rufus Thibodeaux, a fiddling legend who played with Jimmy C. Newman, Bob Wills, and Neil Young for over forty years. Tony and Rufus would played twin fiddles which resulted in their award-winning 1997 CD, Fiddlin' with Friends. This album highlights a twin-fiddle rendition of the beautiful "Fiddler's Waltz".
After semi-retirement, Tony fronted a new band, Tony Thibodeaux and the Cajun Five, which included members Reggie Matte, David Guidry, Joe Simon and Leon Thibodeaux.
The Thibodeaux family has been blessed with several other family members who have musical talent.
Tony's impact on younger fiddlers is a major part of his legacy. Several of his students have already affected the Cajun music scene. One of which was Travis Matte, who was chosen as CFMA Fiddler of the Year in 1997 and Jamie Bearb and Travis Benoit were each nominated for the prestigious award. Others included Hunter Hayes, Arthur J. Simon, Louis Dronet, Beau Thomas, Elodie St. Martin and Pat Savant.
With over twenty-four LP/Cassette/CD projects under his belt, Tony was a much sought after recorded fiddler, with musicians who became Hall of Fame musicians.
Not only has Tony been cited by fiddlers, he had been honored by fans of Cajun and country music. A partial list of awards included the Texas Longhorn Club Fiddler of the Year in 1988, Fred's Lounge Wall of Fame, Cajun French Music Association Fiddler of the Year in 2002, Louisiana Hall of Fame, and was the recipient of the Cajun French Music Association Award of Excellence in 1998. Tony had been inducted into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in both Eunice and Lake Charles, which had been the icing on his cake of a brilliant career.
Survivors include his wife of four years, Norma Jean Newman Thibodeaux, of Lake Charles; two daughters, Romona Thibodeaux and Linda Fontenot and her husband, Terrell, all of Scott; three sons, Ronald Thibodeaux and his wife, Karen, of Youngsville, Tony Thibodeaux and Kevin Thibodeaux and his wife, Donna, all of Lafayette; eleven grandchildren; thirteen great grandchildren; four brothers, Joseph "Joe" Thibodeaux and his wife, Nina, Leon "Leonce" Thibodeaux, all of Lafayette, Phillip Thibodeaux and his wife, Cindy, and Nestor Paul Thibodeaux, Jr., all of Moss Bluff; four sisters, Virgie Huval and her husband, Douglas, of Youngsville, Audrey Thibodeaux of Lafayette, Lee Suire of Abbeville and Jeannie Dillon and her husband, Ray, of Moss Bluff; his mother-in-law, Mary Elliott of Lake Charles; and his four step-children, Sammy Trude and his wife, Becky, of Welch, Kenneth Squibb and Brigette Squibb, both of Lake Charles and Rollin "Boo" Meaux and his wife, Jessie, of Moss Bluff; nine step grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Nestor Thibodeaux, Sr. and the former Mary Guidry both natives of Acadia Parish; his first wife and the mother of his children, Juliet Dugas Thibodeaux; two brothers, William "Bill" Thibodeaux and Dennis "James" Thibodeaux.
A rosary will be prayed at 7:00 p.m. Friday in the funeral home.
The family requests that visiting hours be observed from 10:00 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. Friday and will continue from 8:00 a.m. until service time on Saturday.
Pallbearers will be Tony Thibodeaux, Branden Thibodeaux, Colby Albert, Rollin "Boo" Meaux, Timothy Thibodeaux and Ronald Thibodeaux. Honorary pallbearers will be Romona Thibodeaux, Kevin Thibodeaux, Linda Fontenot, Joshua Castille and Colby Ward.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in the name of Antoine "Tony" Thibodeaux may be made to Melancon Funeral Home, P.O. Box 100, Carencro, LA 70520 to help defray funeral expenses.
View the obituary and guestbook online at www.melanconfuneralhome.net .
Melancon Funeral Home, Evangeline Memorial Gardens Chapel, 4117 N. University Ave., Carencro, (337) 896-3232, is in charge of arrangements.


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