The Southern Author and Humorist Who Once Resided In Rayville
Podcast #4 – Southern Writer, Humorist, and Former Rayville Native Harry W. Addison Tells The Story of His Days In Rayville
Recorded as part of a collection created for the first annual Pickin’ and Ginnin’ Festival, entitled “A Great Place to Call Home” (Originally compiled by Amelia Grace Jordan)
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Harry Wayne Addison (September 8, 1920 – August 24, 2003) was a Southern author and humorist whose works painted vivid portraits of his experiences growing up as a poor boy in Depression-era rural Louisiana. While he never received much recognition on a national level, Addison enjoyed modest success, not only from his writings, but also his frequent public speaking appearances throughout Louisiana and much of the South. He was a favorite orator at college and high school graduations, as well as meetings of regional civic organizations. A veteran of World War II, Addison received the Bronze Star for bravery in combat while serving on Iwo Jima. He moved to Rayville, La in 1945, where he resided until 1957. He was a longtime resident of Monroe, La. His works include Write That Down For Me Daddy (1974) ISBN 0-88289-116-2, RFD #3 (1977) ISBN 1-56554-114-6, and Mama Was a Con Man, Papa Was a Christian (1989) ISBN 1-56554-547-8.
HARRY WAYNE ADDISON – Monroe, Harry Wayne Addison, 82, passed away Sunday, August 24, 2003, in Monroe, Louisiana after a lengthy illness. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Lillian Coates Addison, who as he put it, …”deciphered my hastily scribbled recollections of yesteryear and did it patiently at an indifferent typewriter.” He is also survived by his three children, Kathy Addison Schendle and her husband Robert Nathan Schendle, Judy Addison Moore and her husband Richard Keith Moore, and Mark Todd Addison and his wife Angela Ratcliff Addison; seven grandchildren, Addison Coates Moore, Taylor Charles Moore and his wife Amanda Steelman Moore, Margaret Schendlp Derry and her husband Joel Brian Derry, Robert Fenner Schendle, John William Addison, Meredith Kathleen Addison, and Daniel Gregory Addison; a great-grandchild, Robert Fenner Derry; a brother, Carl Addison and a sister, Betty Reid, as well as numerous other family and friends. The family would also like to recognize Loretha Alexander for her unending love and compassion to “Mr. Harry” during his illness and Mr. Jerry Hightower for his continuing support and friendship. His son, Harry Wayne Addison, Jr. preceded him in death. Mr. Addison was a wonderful husband, father, and friend. Everyone who met him was instantly taken in by his piercing blue eyes and wide smile.
The family often joked that going anywhere with “Pa” would take ‘ forever because he would stop and talk to everyone he saw. But that was part of Harry’s charm. A noted and gifted writer, Mr. Addison authored three great books, Write that Down for Me Daddy, RFD 3, and Mama Was a Con Man, Papa Was a Christian. He also spent many years traveling the south as a guest speaker. Hearing Harry speak was a treat; his humor and wit will go unmatched.
Before his literary fame, Harry served his country in the United States Marine Corp, where he was a member of the 4th Infantry Division fighting on Iwo Jima in World War II as a forward observer and field sergeant. He was a witness to the raising of the American flag that historical day and was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery. After the war, Harry came back to Louisiana to raise his family and start his career. For many years he was employed by People’s Homestead Bank as Branch Manager where he received recognition for his service. He also spent many years in real estate and was the co-owner of Addison-Moore Realty. Harry loved to buy and sell houses, an obsession that would find his family often packing their bags for another move.
His family often jokes that they have lived on every street corner in Northeast Louisiana. He also was a member of the famous ROMEO club(Retired Old Men Eating Out), which still meets today and where he will be deeply missed. “Pa” was also an incredible gourmet cook. His homemade pizzas and chili were favorites not only at home, but also at hunting camps all over the south. An avid fitness buff, Harry was often seen pumping iron and hitting the streets for a jog. He was a lover of life and of God. A devout Christian, he was a member of Parkview Baptist church for 40 years where he served as a deacon. Harry was a frequent contributor to the church bulletin, where his words of faith would inspire many. He served as a member of the Monroe Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, Lotus Club, Louisiana Real Estate Commission, Northeast Louisiana Realtors Association, Northeast Louisiana Board of Realtors, and Tuesday Morning Prayer Group. He was also recipient of numerous awards and recognitions.
To know Harry Addison was to love him. Many of his charitable gifts were anonymous. He was known to give money to strangers, never asking for anything in return. Anything someone admired of Harry’s often became theirs without a word. An eccentric, Harry lived life to the fullest. His energy, his strength, and most importantly his stories will be truly missed. We love you, Pa. Thanks for writing it all down. The funeral services will be held at 3 PM, Tuesday, at Parkview Baptist Church, with Dr. Mike Hamilton officiating. Burial will be in Mulhearn Memorial Park Cemetery under the direction of Mulhearn Funeral Home, Sterlington Road, Monroe. Visitation will be from 5 PM until 7 PM, Monday at the funeral home. Pallbearers will be grandsons: Addison Moore, Robert Schendle, Taylor Moore, John Addison, and Daniel Addison.The News-Star, Monroe, Louisiana. 25 Aug 2003, Mon • Page 8