A private service celebrating the life of Laura Jean Smith Duco, 90, was held Friday, April 24, 2020 at 2:00pm at First Baptist Church of Coushatta with Dr. Nathan Davis officiating. Interment followed at Springville Cemetery under the direction of Rose Neath Funeral Home.
Laura Jean passed away Monday, April 20, 2020 at Willis-Knighton Bossier Health Center following a short illness due to complications from heart disease.
She was the oldest child born to William Wimberly “Rod” Smith and Pluma Stevens Smith on January 11, 1930 on the family farm in Red River Parish. Laura graduated from Coushatta High School in 1946 at the age of 16, as there were only 11 grades at that time. Laura Jean’s mother was a teacher and education was an integral part of their daily lives. She continued her education at Northwestern State University, where she was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority, earning a BA in Business Education in 3 years, graduating in 1949 at age 19. Immediately after graduating, she began her work career as a social worker at the Red River Parish Welfare Office. She continued in this office working her way through the ranks to the position of Office Administrator for the Department of Family Services, retiring after 35 years.
Laura married the love of her life, John Duco, Jr. on August 5, 1950 enjoying 67 years together. They were blessed with two loving daughters, Diana and Laura. She and Johnny built a life around devotion to family and friends, hard work and a mutual respect for each other. She enjoyed reading, watching the sun set at their camp on Black Lake and she never missed a Riverdale Academy basketball or football game that involved her girls. She was also a dedicated member of the American Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary. Laura Jean and Johnny were also blessed with two devoted son-in-laws, John Eberhard and Lewis Sams. Known as “Granny” to her four grandchildren, she cherished her time with them and instilled strong values that helped shape their lives today.
After retiring, she and Johnny enjoyed many adventures traveling with her sister and brother-in-law, Betty Lou and Harry Moore. Holidays were always a celebration revolving around food and family, with many memories of July 4th at the lake, Thanksgiving and Christmas. She adored her grandchildren and great grandson, nieces and nephews.
Laura came to know the Lord later in life and was a devoted member of First Baptist Church of Coushatta. She loved her church family and was a loyal member of her Sunday School Class.
From our hearts, the family would like to thank Dr. Wyche T. Coleman for a lifetime of love and friendship along with her caring neighbors, friends and sitters.
She is preceded in death by her husband, John Duco, Jr.; brother-in-laws, Harry B. Moore, Eugene Booth Duco, and sister-in-law, Ann Ruthledge Duco; and nephew, Eugene B. Duco, Jr.
She is survived by daughters Diana Duco Eberhard and husband John of Midland, Texas and Laura Duco Sams and husband Lewis of Coushatta, Louisiana, grandchildren, Erin Eberhard Erger and husband Rob of Spring, Texas, Rachel Eberhard of Dallas, Texas, Hanna Sams of Columbia, South Carolina, John Lewis Sams and wife Hannah Johnson Sams of Haughton, Louisiana, great grandson, Robby Erger of Spring, Texas. She is also survived by sister, Betty Lou Moore of Shreveport, three nieces, Lydia Duco Baillio, Kay Lynn Duco, Melissa Moore Dellocono, nephew, Clay Moore and their spouses, children and grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be given to First Baptist Church of Coushatta, PO Box 465, Coushatta, LA 71019, the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home, 7200 Desiard Street, Monroe, LA 71203, Springville Cemetery Association, PO Box 1023, Coushatta, LA 71019.