Daniel Wallace LeBlanc, a decorated Korean War veteran and Baton Rouge judge for more than three decades, died Sunday morning in his home after a bout with cancer.
He was 82.
A native of Baton Rouge, LeBlanc retired in 2002 after serving as judge for 32 years in Baton Rouge City Court, the 19th Judicial District Court and the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal.
After graduating from Spring Hill College in 1951 in Mobile, Ala., he joined the U.S. Army and was deployed to Korea for 13 months. He enrolled in law school at Loyola University in New Orleans after returning to Louisiana and received his law degree in 1956.
He practiced law for one year, spent about two years as an FBI field agent in Oklahoma City then returned to his law practice, his wife, Percival LeBlanc, said.
She said her husband always wanted to be a judge, because his father, Fred LeBlanc, had been a judge. She said the elder LeBlanc swore his son in as a district court judge — a high point in the careers of both men.
“I don’t know who was the proudest,” Percival LeBlanc said of her husband and father-in-law.
Before ascending to the 19th JDC, Daniel LeBlanc was elected a City Court judge. He later served as a judge on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal.
LeBlanc ran for a seat on the Louisiana Supreme Court in 1992, but lost to Judge Catherine “Kitty” Kimball, of New Roads.
After retiring in 2002, LeBlanc volunteered a lot of his time at Baton Rouge General Health Center, working at the front desk, greeting and helping people find where they were trying to go.
“I mean he’s old Baton Rouge,” LeBlanc’s daughter Emily Reech said. “When you’ve lived here your whole life, you know a lot of people.”
Reech said her father loved to read mystery novels, play tennis, travel, tell jokes and make people smile.
“He could tell very detailed jokes and if you heard it before, you would think you never heard it,” Reech said. “He tells a story and he always has all the details for it and every time he tells it, it gets longer.”
His favorite places to visit were Destin, Fla.; Reno, Nevada; and across the pond in Scotland.
In Reno, he would periodically attend and teach at the National Judicial College, a school for continuing law education.
“I just can’t put into words what the best thing I remember about him is except that he always took care of people,” Reech said. “You’re grateful he’s not suffering anymore because he suffered for a while.”