Bunkie icon and former State Senate President, Dr. Donald Elliott Hines, passed away surrounded by his family on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at age 85. Born on November 14, 1933, in Bunkie, Hines was a lifelong resident of the community. He practiced as a family physician in Bunkie and was known throughout his career for his intense desire to help others. From 1993 to 2008, he was a member of the Louisiana State Senate for District 28. During his last term in office, from 2004 to 2008, he served as the Senate President under his political ally and friend, Democratic former Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. A Christian funeral service will be held Friday, June 21st at 2:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Bunkie with Pastor Mark Robinson officiating. Burial will follow at Pythian Cemetery in Bunkie under the direction of Hixson-Ducote Funeral Home. Visitation will be held on Thursday June 20, 2019 from 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm with a special Memorial service at 6:00 p.m. at the Haas Auditorium and on Friday from 10:00 am until 1:45 p.m. at Hixson-Ducote Funeral Home of Bunkie. Hines completed his undergraduate studies at Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute (SLI) in Lafayette and received his Doctor of Medicine from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. He served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Navy from 1959 to 1963. He was awarded the Commendation Medal by the United States Navy in 1963 for bravely jumping out of a helicopter into the swamps south of New Iberia to save fellow military servicemen who were stranded and in need of medical attention following the crash of an aircraft. After completing his military service, Hines began his medical practice in Bunkie in 1966. During his years of practice, he was a member of the Louisiana Medical Society and the Avoyelles Parish Medical Society. His great interest in education led him to begin serving on the Avoyelles Parish School Board in 1972 and continue to serve until he was elected to the State Senate. A true outdoorsman, Hines was appointed by Governor Edwin Edwards to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission from 1984 to 1990 where he ultimately served as Chairman. He championed efforts to preserve wildlife and public lands for future generations to enjoy. While in the State Senate, Hines was one of leading members in helping with the recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. He was also instrumental in securing funding to transform the Haas Auditorium in Bunkie, Louisiana, into a hurricane evacuation and civic center. He was grateful that the facility would be available to assist Louisianans during future times of disaster. His love for people and his passion for quality medical care was evident as he chaired the task force that created the Louisiana Children's Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP). He also authored the Rural Hospital Preservation Act, the Senior Prescription Program, and helped to establish the Gene Therapy Research Initiative. In his later years, Dr. Hines fostered a strong relationship with the Casa Aleluya Orphanage in Guatemala. His love for the children inspired him to initiate several projects such telemedicine and new dialysis equipment to ensure that the children had access to medical care. He also was instrumental in the purchase of a portable X-Ray and Film Reader, as well as the addition to CBC and Chemistry analyzing lab services for the medical clinic at the orphanage. He was honored by the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth for his contributions in Guatemala. They recognized Dr. Hines as the Global (International) Champion of the Year 2013. In 2006, Hines was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield. In the announcement of his induction, the Hall of Fame referred to him as "a country doctor ... who became one of the Senate's most articulate spokesmen for the needs of the working class and poor people." Hines was also the recipient of Avoyellean of the Year by the Avoyelles Journal in 1995. He was deeply honored to receive these awards. Despite all of the many accomplishments made by Dr. Hines as a physician, politician, and community leader, nothing brought him greater joy than spending time with his family. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He felt blessed to have a large family and his great love for them was shown in many ways. One of his favorite traditions was to present his family with an exciting fireworks display at every family event. Hines is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, the former Jacqueline Ewing of Marksville; six children, Donna Louise Newton (Jordan) of Bunkie, Richard Arvie Hines (Andrea) of Lafayette, Christopher Arthur Hines (Deidre) of Bunkie, Henry Arthur Hines of Bunkie, Scott Alan Hines (Laura) of Lafayette, and Virginia Marie Long (Chase) of Bunkie; 21 grandchildren and 9 great- grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents Arvie and Vivian Hines and his sister Barbara Hines Fletcher. Pallbearers will be Richard Hines, Jr., Jade Lambert, Donald Newton, Derrick Hines, James Newton, Adam Hines, Nicholas Hines, Devin Long, Ethan Hines, Christian Hines, and Jack Elliott Hines. Honorary pallbearers will be his lifelong friends Leonard Rachal, Coach Gene Britton, and Jim Porche. Dr. Hines was a devoted family man who continually looked for ways to help and serve others. His spirit will continue to be an inspiration to all. Flowers are welcome or donations may be made to Dr. Donald Hines Scholarship fund at Sabine Bank or Casa Aleyua -Build your House on the Rock Ministries, PO Box 12764 – Lake Charles, LA 70612 or another charity of choice
Published by The Advocate from Jun. 19 to Jun. 21, 2019.