Billie Ann “Babs” Bigler Prentice passed away peacefully at Ochsner LSU Medical in Shreveport on Friday May 17, 2020, at 11:04 a.m.
Babs was the best wife, mother, grandmother, godmother, sister, aunt, student, teacher, friend, traveler, gardener and person ever.
She was an outstanding student at New Iberia High School where she garnered Mu Sigma, Pelican Girl State, Louisiana Student Leadership, School Paper Editor, DAR Recognition, Cheerleader and 1957 Homecoming Queen status and awards.
At LSU she was a member of Phi Mu Sorority and carried a 3.85 GPA in spite of having given birth to her two oldest sons while in attendance there.
At USL she got her degree in elementary education and had 18 hours of additional credits in gifted education. She taught fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth grades at different times during her 25-year teaching career, during which she touched many lives in the most positive of ways. Babs taught at Edgar Martin Elementary in the Lafayette Parish School system, Our Lady of Fatima School in the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette System and at Belle Place Middle and Iberia Middle schools in the Iberia Parish school system. She was named “Teacher of the Year” in both Lafayette and Iberia Parishes. She taught several summer sessions at ULL in Gifted and Talented programs. Babs was always ready to provide interesting “hands on” materials to help her students identify with the subject at hand. When teaching geography, she had actual vials of water from the oceans, seas and rivers she had visited. In obtaining these samples she managed to slip or fall into the Nile, San Francisco Bay, Loch Ness and the fjord in Oslo, Norway. She didn’t mind any of that and would always simply say: “The adventure continues.”
She managed to visit every significant battlefield of the American Revolution and Civil War. “If you are going to teach American history, you can do it better if you can live it, even vicariously.” She crossed the Delaware in a row boat. She ran up Little Round Top at Gettysburg. She stood in The Hornet’s Nest at Shiloh. She was able to transport her students to these places in her telling of the event.
Babs spent hundreds of hours in baseball, basketball and football venues watching her boys and later her grandchildren’s athletic endeavors. She loved LSU football, but Tigers baseball was her true athletic passion. Trips to the “Box” and Omaha were some of her fondest sports memories. You couldn’t try to tell her Alex Lange was better than Louis Coleman.
Babs loved gardening and literally created full beds of gorgeous blooms from cuttings. One of her favorite sayings was “a weed is only a flower growing in the wrong place.” If you asked her if she needed help she would say “I’ve got this, go catch us some fish for supper.” That worked — and she was able to give some love to her yard without further interruption.
Better cooks might and probably do, exist but proof of this is unavailable. Her etouffeé, barbecue beans, white chicken soup and maque choux were the best. Leftovers were unknown. Literal herds of growing boys have left her table “filled to the gills.” When talking to her boys on the phone, she would ask “what can I cook for you?”
If you ever received a letter, card or package from Babs, you were always visually gifted with meaningful hand drawn pictures. Her artistic talent showed her love for life in yet another way. She was generous and giving and her little bees, bats or butterflies were another of her gifts to the recipient.
Babs never subscribed to the concept of someone being a stranger. She never met one. She could get on the tube in London or be in line at Walgreens in Many and in five minutes establish a relationship with the person on both sides of her, finding a common relative, acquaintance or at least, beliefs in common. People she met on plane trips or train rides or store queues, often maintained a lasting correspondence with her.
Babs Bigler Prentice is and will continue to be loved and remembered.
Babs is survived by her husband of 62 years, Charles Mark Prentice Sr.; her son William Scott “Bill” Prentice, his wife, Roxanne Elizabeth Wilson Prentice and her son, James Patrick “Jim” Prentice and his former wife, Lisa Dawn Harrison Prentice. She is also survived by her brother Karl James Bigler Jr. and his wife, Leona Boudreaux Bigler; and her grandchildren Anna Caroline Lavenue, Patrick Harrison Prentice and Harper Elizabeth Prentice; as well as her beloved godchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Karl James Bigler Sr. and Willamette Francis Aucoin Bigler; her eldest son Charles Mark Prentice Jr.; and her nephew Karl James Bigler III.
While Babs loved flowers and plants, her preference would be a gift to St. Jude’s, Wounded Warrior or Smile Train charities, if a remembrance is considered.
You may sign the guest registry book and/or send condolences at www.davidfuneralhome.org.
David Funeral Home of New Iberia, 1101 Trotter St., 229-8338, is in charge of the funeral arrangements.