Joann Richard Villadsen, a resident of Pinehurst and Orange for more than 60 years went to join her husband and five of her sons in heaven Sunday morning, April 29.

She was born Joann Delta Richard in Rayne LA., on June 18, 1923, the youngest of 13 children of Martical Martial Richard and Elia Marie Martin. She was a direct descendant of Amand Richard and his wife Marie Breaux who settled in St-Gabriel d’Iberville, Louisiana in 1767.

Joann married Reno Skov “Buddy” Villadsen of Birmingham and settled in Orange in the 1940s, living in Gilmer Homes. They had 13 children before Buddy passed away from cancer in 1968, leaving 11 children at home.

That family of 13 children has grown to encompass more than eighty descendants today, including spouses. Most of the family lives in Southeast Texas, but some have moved to other states and as far away as Ukraine in Eastern Europe.

Her Texas family and friends knew her as Joann or “Granny”, while all of her Louisiana relatives knew her only as Aunt Delta.

After her husband died, Mrs. Villadsen went to work at Griffin’s Men’s Store in Orange. She also worked at The Hamlet and for the Edgar Brown family where she attended Mrs. Brown in her final days.

Much of her life was centered around St Mary’s Catholic Church in Orange. All of her 13 children attended St Mary’s School, some through four years of high school until the high school was closed.

She was a volunteer with Southeast Texas Hospice during its early years. As a volunteer at St Mary’s she quietly worked in the background at events and helping around the church, visiting the sick, and sharing her love with others.

After her home was destroyed by Hurricane Rita in 2005, she lived in a FEMA trailer in front of the home in Pinehurst where she raised her children. She later moved to a nice apartment at Optimist Village; when the building burned down she moved in with family. Since 2009 she lived at The Meadows nursing home in Orange.

For many years Mrs. Villadsen traveled annually to visit family in Oklahoma, California, Florida, the American Northeast, Canada, and Europe. A courageous traveler, she once traveled with 10 of her children in a station wagon from Orange to Massachusetts, camping in tents along the way. She most especially enjoyed using her Cajun-French to speak with people in France, Belgium, and Québec.

Throughout her life her vibrant personality created strong friendships wherever she went. Her family and those others she had touched will miss her deeply.

Special thanks are sent by the family for Granny’s care at The Meadows Nursing Home. Special thanks also go out to Southeast Texas Hospice that so ably made her life more comfortable in the final months. She was there for hospice as a volunteer when they started; hospice was there for her as her life on earth ended.

She was preceded in death by her husband Reno Skov Villadsen Jr. and by five of her eight sons: Reno Skov III, Maurice, Peter, Marshall, and Rodney. She was also preceded in death by her grandson Daniel Derosier.

She is survived by her remaining children Telisa Derosier, Mary Ann McDaniel, Paulette Howington, and Michael Villadsen of Orange, Robert Villadsen of Beaumont, Karl Villadsen of Tulsa OK, and Denise Scheele of Baytown and their spouses, Monica Baldwin of Houston and her sons’ widows. Mrs. Villadsen also leaves behind 27 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, and numerous relatives in Louisiana.

Visitation hours will be at Claybar Funeral Home at 504 N Fifth Street in downtown Orange on Wednesday May 2 from 4:00 – 8:00 pm. A rosary will be recited at 7:00 pm.

A funeral mass will be held at St Mary’s Catholic Church at 912 W. Cherry Street in Orange at 10:00 am on Thursday May 3. Burial will follow at St Mary’s Cemetery.