The Rev. Mark Melancon, pastor of St. Peter the Martyr Roman Catholic Church in Grand Prairie, officiated at the services. Readers were Brittany Billedeaux and Carmen Billedeaux. Gift bearers were Garland and Yvonne Young, and Stacy Richard.
Musical selections were provided by Karen Melancon, accompanied by the Sacred Heart Choir, Jay Riedl and Morgan Billedeaux. The songs were Amazing Grace, On Eagles Wings, The Old Rugged Cross, Go Rest High on the Mountain, and Be Not Afraid.
Sgt. Richard was a native of Grand Prairie and had been a resident of DeRidder for the past year. He was a graduate of Sacred Heart High School in Ville Platte, Class of 1999. He also attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he was pursuing a bachelor degree in public relations. Joseph had been a parishioner of St. Peter The Martyr Roman Catholic Church in Grand Prairie, where he was an altar server for six years and served as Altar Server Coordinator, and later became a parishioner of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in DeRidder. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Joseph enlisted in the U. S. Army, Combat Engineers, on Jan. 2, 2003, and completed basic and advanced individual training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. His first tour of duty, May 2003 - April 2004, was with the 588th Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Division in Fort Hood, Texas. His second tour, December 2005 – November 2006, was with Echo Company, 1-67 Armor Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas. He was reassigned to Alpha Company, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Polk, in March 2007. In November 2007, he was sent to serve his third tour in Iraq.
Joseph Richard III was a recipient of Distinguished Service medals, including the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Proficiency Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, 2nd Consecutive Tour, and the Combat Action Badge.
Survivors include his loving wife of six years, Monique Green Richard of St Martinville; his parents, Joseph A. Richard Jr. and Elaine Montgomery Richard of Grand Prairie; one sister, Carmen Billedeaux and her husband Frederick “Dickie” of Lafayette; maternal grandmother, Vela Soileau Montgomery of Washington; five nieces, Brittany, Morgan, Claudia, Isabelle and Marissa Billedeaux; and three nephews, Joshua, Nathaniel, and Isaac Billedeaux.
He was preceded in death by one brother, Tracy Scott; maternal grandfather, W. J. “Bubba” Montgomery Jr.; paternal grandparents, Joseph Avie Richard Sr. and Josephine Lalonde Richard; and one nephew, Caleb Joseph Billedeaux.
A rosary was prayed at 7 p.m. Monday in the funeral home.
Pallbearers were the U. S. Army Honor Guard. Honorary pallbearers were Dustin Fontenot, Blake Patout, Brock Boudreaux, Christopher Wooley, Andrew Deranger and Airman 1st Class Nicholas Richard.
View the obituary and guestbook online at www.melanconfuneralhome.net. Melancon Funeral Home of Opelousas was in charge of arrangements.