Virginia Shehee

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Virginia Ruth Kilpatrick Shehee​​

Louisiana State Senator​ for
Caddo and DeSoto parishes​
In office
1976​​ – 1980​​
Preceded by Cecil Kay Carter, Jr. ​​
Succeeded by Richard G. Neeson​​

Born July 12, 1923​​
Houston, Texas, USA​​
Died July 26, 2015​ (aged 91)​
Shreveport, Louisiana​​
Resting place ​​
Political party Democrat​​-turned-Republican
Spouse(s) (1) John Andrew Guy (divorced)

(2) William Peyton Shehee, Jr.​​

Children From first marriage:

Ann Shane Shehee
Andrew Michael Shehee
Nell Elizabeth Sheehee, since Nell Kramer
From second marriage:
Margaret Scott Shehee Cole​

Alma mater Clifton Ellis Byrd High School

Stephens College
(Columbia, Missouri)
Centenary College of Louisiana
Southern Methodist University

Occupation Businesswoman
Religion Episcopalian​​

Virginia Ruth Kilpatrick Shehee (July 12, 1923 – July 6, 2015) was a businesswoman, civic leader, and patron of the arts from Shreveport, Louisiana. She was from 1976 to 1980 the state senator for District 38 in Caddo and DeSoto parishes. [6] Shehee won her seat in the 1975 general election by twenty-three votes over incumbent fellow Democrat, C. Kay Carter, Jr.] [7] [8] She was defeated in her bid for a second term in 1979 by another Democrat, Richard Grady Neeson, who retained the seat until 1992.

Sheehee was the first woman elected to the Louisiana Senate without succeeding a husband. Doris Rhodes Holland of St. Helena Parish in southeastern Louisiana, was appointed to the state Senate upon the death of her husband, Thomas Myers Holland. Thereafter, Doris Holland then won a special election for the seat. [9]

In 2015, Shehee was listed prior to her death by the Louisiana secretary of state's office in Baton Rouge as a registered Republican voter. [10]

Business success

Shehee was born in Houston, a descendant of the "OId 300" families who settled Texas in 1824 with Stephen F. Austin. She moved to Shreveport during the Great Depression with her parents, the former Nellie Mae Peters (1901-1971) and Lonnie Benjamin Kilpatrick (1892-1956). Upon her mother's death in an airplane crash, Shehee became president and CEO of Kilpatrick Life Insurance Company and the family-owned Rose-Neath Funeral Homes, founded in 1936 by her father, a personal friend of Louisiana Governor Jimmie Davis, who often visited in the Kirkpatrick home and took a special interest in Virginia. In later years, Shehee was heavily involved in the Davis birthday celebrations, the last of which was held in 2000, when the former two-term governor turned 101.10 When Shehee was a state senator, Davis lobbied her to make his trademark, "You Are My Sunshine," the official state song.[11]

Under Shehee's leadership, Kilpatrick Life Insurance Company increased in size to ten offices in Louisiana and Texas. Rose-Neath has twelve funeral homes and three Louisiana cemeteries. [11]

Shehee was for a time a partner with the pediatrician, Dr. Thomas E. Strain, Sr., and his son, Dr. Jimmy Strain, who served a term in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1968 to 1972, in the development of the Fountain Towers on Fairfield Avenue in Shreveport. [12] Shehee was the chair emeritus of the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, which was renamed in her honor in 1996. [13] She was also a member of the American Council of Life Insurance and chair of the Louisiana Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association.

"First Woman" designations

Shreveport Community Council "Special Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Service"

Clyde Edward Fant Memorial Award for Community Service

Designated "Mr. Shreveport" by the Optimist Club; often called "The First Lady of Shreveport."

"Business Leader of the Year" by the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce.[15]

Louisiana's first elected female state senator, who did not follow a husband. Shehee served during the second administration of Governor Edwin Edwards. She also served on the higher education transition teams of Governors Buddy Roemer and Murphy James "Mike" Foster, Jr. [15] In 2007, she was named vice chair of the ethics team for Governor Bobby Jindal.

Service and philanthropy

Shehee served on the Louisiana Committee of 100 (for economic development), Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal, and the Louisiana Board of Regents Foundation. She graduated from Clifton Ellis Byrd High School and attended Stephens College, an all-female institute in Columbia, Missouri, where one of her classmates was the later socialite Susybelle Lyons, also a Byrd alumnae, and later the daughter-in-law of GOP pioneer Charlton Lyons. Shehee's father begged her to return to Shreveport, [11] where she finished her bachelor's degree at the United Methodist Centenary College of Louisiana, of which she years later served as a trustee. Many of her family members graduated from Centenary as well.[15]

Shehee subsequently studied for the Master of Social Work at Southern Methodist University in University Park, near Dallas, Texas. She is a former chairman of the orchestra board of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra and worked with other community figures, such as journalist Jim Montgomery of The Shreveport Times' [11] to restore the historic Strand Theatre in downtown Shreveport. She was active in other downtown renewal projects as well. [15] Shehee was a member of Beta Iota Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha soroity and supported the collegiate chapter, as well as the national organization. She was a loyal and active Centenary alumnae. She was also a member of the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors and a booster of LSU sports.[11]

Her multiple honors include:

1989: "Benemerenti Medal" for outstanding community service [15]

Humanitarian Award from the Arthritis Foundation

Liberty Bell Award from the Shreveport Bar Association

Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews

1994: Shreveport Medical Society "Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of Medicine in Shreveport" for support for the biomedical institute. [15]

1994: Induction into the Louisiana Center for Women and Government Hall of Fame at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux in Lafourche Parish.[16]

1994: Junior Achievement's North Louisiana Business Hall of Fame [15]

Alumni halls of fame of Centenary College and Byrd High School.[15]

2002: Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations

2004: Induction into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield

2009: Louisiana 4-H Club Hall of Fame.


After World War II, Shehee went to Germany at the time of the Berlin Airlift to visit friends and began working for the Red Cross. She married John Andrew Guy, and the couple moved to Washington, D.C. After their divorce, she returned to Shreveport with their three children, Ann Shane Shehee, Andrew Michael Shehee, and Nell Elizabeth Sheehee, since Nell Kramer, wife of Graham Kramer, to resume work in the family businesses as a funeral director and insurance agent. She later married William Peyton Shehee, Jr., who died in 2004. The couple had a daughter, Margaret Scott Shehee Cole, wife of David Cole. [11]

Shehee's younger sister, Ann Kilpatrick Peters (1937–2011), was co-owner and a director of both Kilpatrick Life Insurance Company and Rose-Neath Funeral Homes. Ann also had a professional career as a mezzo-sopranto in New York City, having appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center and the New York City Opera. On her return to Shreveport, Ann like her sister became a devotee of the arts. [17]

Shehee's self-published autobiography, Virginia Kilpatrict Shehee: First Lady of Shreveport, was released in 2010, five years before her death..

Death and legacy

Shehee died in Shreveport of a lengthy illness just six days before her 92nd birthday. Services were held on July 10 at St. Paul Episcopal Church in Shreveport, where she was an active member. Interment is at Forest Park East Cemetery in Shreveport. Then Mayor Ollie Tyler of Shreveport issued this statement upon Shehee's death: The City of Shreveport has lost a servant leader with the death of Mrs. Shehee. She was a true friend and supporter who not only touched my life, but the lives of so many in this city and state. She had a strong vision of what Shreveport could become and she was not afraid to get knee-deep in the trenches to make this city a better place for everyone. I will miss her generous heart and ability to connect people from all walks of life. My prayers are with her family and all those who were touched by her life.” [18]

Former U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., a Shreveport native, said of Shehee: "Everybody wanted to be with her. She was charismatic. She was warm. She had everything people looked for in a leader, but there was not a sharp edge in her personality.... She was so convincing, so self-effacing. There was not a deceptive bone in her body." [2]

The "Virginia K. Shehee Most Influential Woman" award is presented annually in her honor in Shreveport.[3]

Shehee was not related to state Senator K. D. Kilpatrick of Ruston, who also operated a chain of funeral homes in the Ruston and Monroe market.


[1] The original version of this page is from Wikipedia, which deleted the article in the summer of 2019; one may edit the page on Conservapedia. Jul 26, 2016 5:10 PM.

[2] "Virginia Shehee, ex-state senator from Shreveport, dies" Jul 26, 2016 5:10 PM.

[3] "Virginia K. Shehee Most Influential Woman named" Jul 26, 2016 5:10 PM.

[4] Kilpatrick Life Insurance Co. building on Marshall Street in Shreveport Jul 26, 2016 5:10 PM..

[5] Shehee Stadium at Centenary College in Shreveport is named for William Peyton Shehee, Jr. Jul 26, 2016 5:10 PM.

[6] "Civic leader Virginia Shehee dies at 91" Jul 26, 2016 5:10 PM.

[7] Inductees of the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame Jul 26, 2016 5:10 PM.

[8] "Membership in the Louisiana State Senate, 1880-2008" Jul 26, 2016 5:10 PM.

[9] "James Ronald Skains, Political Hall of Fame induction in Winnfield will honor eight, January 2004" Jul 26, 2016 5:10 PM.

[10] [1], voter registration site covers only living persons.​​