LAFAYETTE, La. — Longtime Lafayette philanthropist James "Jim" Moncus, 82, died Wednesday at his home.
Funeral arrangements for Moncus are pending at the Martin & Castille Funeral Home.
Jeigh Stipe, senior director of the Lourdes Foundation, released a statement in response to Moncus' death:
Jim was more than a generous benefactor to Our Lady of Lourdes, he was a very dear friend to us. He will be remembered as a successful, hard-working man with a tenacious yet gentle spirit.
He authentically embraced our mission to serve those in need. His gifts will impact thousands of Acadiana families for many years to come. Jim loved this community and it loved him. We stand in prayer with Ruth as we celebrate his beautiful legacy
According to our media partners at the Advocate, Moncus garnered his fortune after selling his company, Devin Rental Tools, in 2008, and since then he has donated millions to philanthropic causes throughout the Acadiana region through the James Devin Moncus Family Foundation.
Moncus' name can be seen on the theater at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Downtown Lafayette and an expansive public park, Moncus Park at the Horse Farm, that is currently being built along Johnston Street.
The Advocate reported that, in recent years, his capacity to manage his own affairs was the center of a bitter court battle pitting two of Moncus' former employees against his wife, Ruth Moncus.
The couple accuses the former employees, Jo Breaux and Lyle Girouard, of scheming with wealth advisory firms to illegally seize their $60 million fortune.
Below is a statement from Moncus Park on the passing of Philanthropist, Jim Moncus
We are deeply saddened to share that Moncus Park’s biggest supporter, Mr. Jim Moncus, passed away at the age of 82 today. Mr. Moncus invested in the park’s success very early on, as he understood the impact the park would have on our community, now and for many generations to come. It was obvious that Mr. Jim understood the famous quote from author Nelson Henderson, perhaps better than most: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
There are few who succeed in business to the level that Mr. Moncus did, but thanks to his generosity, he turned that incredible success into meaningful philanthropy toward important community projects like Moncus Park. Mr. Jim was the first donor approached with the park’s newly-completed master plan, and at the first meeting, immediately agreed to a large lead gift to get the park started, for which we named the park after him. He later gave a second large donation to the park to fund construction of a new bridge over the Coulee Mine.
“We should all strive to leave legacies of improvement in our communities like Mr. Moncus did. We will always appreciate his willingness to transform his wealth into a better future for Acadiana. He was truly one-of-akind,” said Mr. Lenny Lemoine, Moncus Park’s chairman of the board. Moncus Park’s Executive Director, Elizabeth “EB” Brooks, added, “If you had the pleasure of meeting him, you know that Mr. Moncus was larger than life in so many ways. From his incredibly successful business endeavors after starting from scratch, to his funny and gregarious personality, and now, to the huge projects and important programs that he generously funded through his foundation, the Acadiana region will benefit from his visionary leadership and investments in our community for many generations to come.”
Mr. Jim Moncus will be missed by all who knew him, and our condolences go out to his wife, Mrs. Ruth, and to the rest of his family and friends. Moncus Park will forever honor his legacy and always be a beautiful space in which to remember him.
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