Audrey Mier Darcé

Friday, September 1, 2023
Audrey Mier Darcé

JENNINGS — Audrey Mier Darcé, 87, a long-time resident of Jennings, died Aug. 28, 2023, at Calcutta House hospice in Lafayette, surrounded by her three children who had helped to care for her in recent years.

Audrey moved to Jennings in 1967 when her husband, Richard Darcé, began working at Zigler Shipyard. She was a mother and homemaker and worked for the Jefferson Davis Parish School System for 23 years.

Audrey was born Aug. 10, 1936, in Rayne, to Camile Mier and Edes Landry Mier. She grew up in a large Catholic family that was struck by tragedy early in her life when her oldest brother was killed in combat while serving as a Marine in Guam during World War II. Her father worked for a farm equipment business while her mother managed the home, growing much of their food next to their house. As a student at St. Joseph High School, she played on the basketball team that earned her a spot in the state championship tournament at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston during her senior year. That experience helped fuel a life-long passion for following women’s sports, including tennis, gymnastics and ice skating in addition to basketball.

After her two oldest sisters entered the Mount Carmel order of Catholic nuns, joining two aunts who also were in the order, Audrey resisted pressure from many around her to follow in their footsteps and instead forged her own path to a family and career.

Following high school graduation, she worked for J.C. Wilfert Co., a jewelry store in Crowley. Her time in retail was highlighted by a several-month stint living in New Orleans where she worked at a downtown jewelry shop. While the experience might have left others infatuated with life in the big city, Audrey happily returned to the small-town world that forever kept her close to family and her roots.

She met her future husband, Richard, on a blind double date after he had returned from service as a Marine in Korea. It was love at first sight for Richard, but Audrey wasn’t one to act impulsively, so she stretched the courtship out over the next seven years before finally accepting an engagement ring that had been offered unsuccessfully so many times that Richard kept it in the glove box of his car.

After their marriage on Sept. 10, 1960, their first daughter, Michele, arrived in late 1961 while the couple was living in Thibodaux, where Richard worked as a draftsman for a nearby shipyard. In 1967, with Audrey pregnant for twins, the growing family moved to Jennings after Richard accepted a position at Zigler Shipyard. The twins, Keith and Kristina, arrived just a few months following completion of the house they would occupy for the next 52 years.

The kids kept Audrey and Richard busy with sports games, gymnastics classes, scouting events and marching band booster parents’ activities.

While her culinary skills were pedestrian, Audrey’s Cajun cooking roots were most apparent when her pots were bubbling with shrimp stew or white gravy to serve with steak and the oven was baking a meatloaf.

She re-entered the workforce in 1976 when she became a math teacher’s aide at Central Elementary School in Jennings. As an aid, she worked with second graders who needed extra help outside of their regular instruction. The work satisfied Audrey’s childhood wish to be a teacher and it introduced her to a sisterhood of strong and vibrant coworkers who became her life-long friends and confidants.

In the mid-1970s, Audrey started jogging to lose weight and was quickly bitten by the long-distance running craze then sweeping the country. Over the next several years, she took home several trophies in her age group for 5k and 10k road races.

She was a devout Catholic and an active member of Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church in Jennings for many years serving as a reader in masses, often alongside Richard, and participating in a variety of church groups such as The Catholic Daughters.

After retiring from the school system, Audrey’s passion shifted to her two grandchildren, Elyssa Loewer Luke and Tyler Loewer. She and Richard showered them with attention and love, spending as much time with them as possible babysitting, taking trips, visiting local parks and zoos and even once riding a train.

Years later, Audrey rediscovered that same joy when Elyssa and husband Justin Luke and Tyler and wife Laura Loewer gave her her first great grandchildren, John and Mason Luke and William Loewer. And most recently, she was overjoyed to learn that a first great granddaughter, Rebecca Ann, would be born by the end of this year.

On July 15, 2019, Audrey’s world changed forever when Richard died following a battle with cancer. Though he was physically gone, their 66-year-long romance continued. Audrey surrounded herself with his images and memories of him and prayed every day for their heavenly reunion.

Audrey is survived by daughters Michele (husband Michael Conroy) of Lafayette and Kristina (husband Mike Loewer) of Denham Springs, son Keith (husband Tim Riley) of San Diego, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren, brother Richard “Dick” Mier (wife Joy Mier) of New Richmond, Wis., sister Roberta Guidry of Crowley and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Robert “Bobby” Mier and Camille Mier Jr., and sisters Sr. Robert Joseph (Myrtis) Mier and Sr. Elsie Mier.

Visitation is at Miguez Funeral Home in Jennings from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, followed by a funeral service at the funeral home and internment at Southwest Veteran’s Cemetery also in Jennings.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making contributions to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis,, by calling 800-822-6344 or mailing to 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.