Dr. Bill LaFont Jr.
Posted: Thursday, February 16, 2012 3:57 pm
The Messenger, February 16, 2012
A funeral mass for Dr. William “Bill” LaFont Jr., 80, of Jackson, formerly of Union City, will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Jackson.
Burial will follow there in Calvary Cemetery.
A visitation with the family will be held this evening from 5-8, with rosary beginning at 8, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. George A. Smith Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Dr. LaFont was born Dec. 27, 1931, in New Madrid, Mo., to the late Selma (Sharp) and William Lee LaFont Sr. In 1940, he moved to Union City, where he graduated from Union City High School in 1949.
He did his under graduate work at the University of Tennessee at Martin and went on to graduate from the University of Tennessee Dental School and obtained his DDS degree in 1954. After graduation, Dr. LaFont served in the U.S. Air Force and was honorably discharged in 1956 with the rank of captain.
He married the former Judy Caldwell, his high school sweetheart, in 1954 and in 1957 began his 42-year dental practice in Jackson.
He was a member of the Seventh District Dental Society, where he served as both secretary and president.
He was also a member of the Tennessee Dental Association and the American Dental Association and was a delegate to the ADA for 12 years.
He was chairman of the Sixth District Dental Caucus, Chairman of the ADA Reference Commit-tee at the national meeting, Fellow of the American College of Dentists and International College of Dentists, Fellow of Academy of General Practice and member of American Society of Preventative Dentistry, where he presided as the Tennessee president. He retired from his practice in the fall of 1996.
He joined the Knights of Columbus Counsel #1101 in December of 1956 and obtained Grand Knight in 1959, State Warden in 1961 and associate representative in 1962.
He was elected state deputy in 1965, serving two years, and joined fourth degree in 1960.
He was a devoted member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, where he served as lector, eucharistic minister, president of the parish counsel, chairman of new church building committee, co-chairman of “Building His Kingdom” fund-raising campaign and was on the committee of faith and future building campaign.
Dr. LaFont was ordained a permanent deacon in March of 2000, where he served in many areas including teaching scripture for 15 years, ministering to the sick, counseling marriage preparation, annulments and RCIA.
He was extremely active in the Haiti ministry, serving as a dentist on 15 mission trips.
He served three years on the board of directors for RIFA and Religious Education Advisory board of the diocese of Memphis and was a former member on the board of development for the diocese of Memphis. He also served on the board of directors for the Jackson Jaycees.
He was also a hobbyist who loved music and played the drums for a dance band.
He was an avid reader and so enjoyed bicycling, having ridden thousands of miles, that he served as past president of the Jackson Bicycle Club.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years; two daughters and sons-in-law, Teresa (LaFont) and Jim Rolleri of Collierville and Mary (LaFont) and Chuck Mount of Pensacola, Fla.; three sons and daughters-in-law, William Lee LaFont III and Angie LaFont and Donald and Amy LaFont, all of Jackson, and Christopher Thomas and Bambi LaFont of Nesbitt, Miss.; his sister and brother-in-law, Jayne and Tommy Sterling of Pittsburgh; his brother and sister-in-law, Dr. Don S. and Joyce LaFont of Jackson; 12 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.