Published 4:22 pm Friday, February 15, 2019
JoAl Evans Fornea Holcomb was born on September 13, 1931 in Franklinton, La. to Mr. and Mrs. John Aldon Fornea. She grew up in the Varn-ado area where she was surrounded, by not only her brother, Don, but a great many cousins, as both her mother and her father came from very large families. She would often remark that she really didn’t need any extra friends — she had so many cousins to pal around with. She attended Varnado High School, then Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, LA where she was a double major in music (emphasis piano) and languages (French). In 1954 she married Gary Holcomb, Jr. and celebrated over 50 years of marriage with him until his death in 2008.
She began her teaching career in Bayou Lacombe, teaching first and second grade at Martin Elementary. In 1953-54 she made the change to Bogalusa Junior High School, where she remained until 1969-70. She then moved to Bogalusa High School where she taught until her retirement in 1984. Although she taught several subjects when she first started her teaching career, it was her French classes that she became known for. She believed students should not only learn the French language but should also experience the French culture first-hand, and in 1972 the first student trip to France was begun. Over the years there would be many other trips (adding not only students and chaperones but countries as well!) She always said not a day passed that she wasn’t excited to get to school — she often remarked how lucky she was that she worked in a profession that she loved.
JoAl also had a great love for piano, teaching after her retirement from the school system. A member of ESM United Methodist Church for over 60 years, she was seated at the piano nearly every Sunday morning. And no one can forget her love of animals — her Pekingese dogs in particular.
She is survived by her daughter Jodi (Richard) Oliver of Sabillasville, Md., son Gary (Shemain) Holcomb of Downsville, La., as well as grandsons Colby and Canon Holcomb. She was preceded in death by husband Gary and daughter Alison.
Visitation will be held at Poole-Ritchie Funeral Home from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019 and the Funeral Service will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial Methodist Church and the visitation will begin at 9 a.m. at the church until service time. Burial will follow in Hillview Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers the family is asking that donations be made to the Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial United Methodist Church.