Norman Melancon remembered for service to Ascension Parish

Staff Report

Norman Melancon, a longtime firefighter and assistant fire chief for the Gonzales Fire Department, passed away Oct. 23 at the age of 79.

Melancon, who was known as "Pappy" and "Kojak," served in the U.S. Army National Guard for 21 years, and retired as an E8. He also served as an Ascension Parish Sheriff's deputy.

Melancon was an avid cook who traveled the country with his wife, Dianne, competing in chili cookoffs. In 1977, he was the champion of the Gonzales Jambalaya Festival.

Norman Melancon

“'Pappy' touched a lot of lives in his 35 years in the Gonzales Fire Department and brought life to many residents as he was the first paid firefighter in the Gonzales community," St. Amant Fire Chief James LeBlanc stated.

"Many can remember for 25 years in the early stages of emergency response here in Ascension Parish, Gonzales Fire Department had the only vehicle rescue unit and this vehicle rescue unit would respond to every vehicle accident in Ascension Parish both on the east and west side of the river. 'Pappy' drove the Gonzales Rescue Unit to most of these calls and his knowledge of the rescue tools and how to get passengers out of these vehicles was one of his strongest traits."

Family and friends were invited to his wake, set for Oct. 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Ourso Funeral Home in Gonzales. Visitation continues Oct. 27 at the First United Methodist Church in Gonzales starting at 9 a.m. with a service to follow at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Hope Haven Garden of Memory in Gonzales.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Melancon family.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years. He was the father of Rene Lyon (David), Denise "Neicey" Melancon, Michele Babin (Anthony), Paulette Melancon (Travis West), Debbie Unbehagen and the late Barry Unbehagen. He was the grandfather of 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Son of the late Margaret Melancon and the late Carl Melancon. Brother of Pete Melancon, Dolores Acosta, the late Nella Sherman, the late Donnie Melancon and the late Larry Melancon. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews and family members.