SHREVEPORT — Charles E. Roemer II, former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ first campaign manager and first top appointed official, has died.
He was 89.
Roemer’s son, former congressman and Gov. Charles E. “Buddy” Roemer III, ran this year for the Republican presidential nomination.
The younger Roemer started his career out as a Democrat, like his father.
The elder Roemer, known as “Charlie” and “Budgie,” died in his sleep Saturday after a 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease, the family’s obituary said.
Roemer was a U.S. Army Air Corps volunteer in World War II and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from LSU.
He married his high-school sweetheart, who nicknamed him after the little parakeet-like birds.
They worked with LSU to introduce a new cotton variety first grown at Scopena Plantation and the LSU Red River Valley Experiment Station and were early cultivators of large amounts of hybrid seed corn.
They also owned an International Harvester equipment dealership, two cotton gins and a dozen airplanes that they used for cropdusting their farm and their neighbors’ crops, and helped organize rural electric cooperatives, the family said.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Roemer was sometimes threatened because he welcomed black leaders to his home and encouraged them to run for office, and he backed Edwards as a civil rights candidate.
His campaign techniques during Edwards’ 1970-71 campaign included computer software for polling and get-out-the-vote telegrams sent to some registered voters, the obituary said.
He and reputed New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello were convicted in 1980 on racketeering charges in the “Brilab” sting aimed at bribing government officials.
The convictions involved insurance contracts signed while Roemer was commissioner of administration.
Both were overturned in 1989 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal racketeering law could not be used to prosecute someone for violating “the intangible right” of citizens to good government.
Roemer will be buried Tuesday, according to Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Funeral Homes.
Visitation will be Monday at Rose-Neath’s Marshall Street Funeral Home.