Lady Marilyn ‘Cissie’ Qualls McLeod

Thursday, October 22, 2020
Lady Marilyn ‘Cissie’ Qualls McLeod

Lady Marilyn “Cissie” Qualls McLeod joined her beloved husband, Bill, in Heaven on Oct. 19, 2020, at the age of 83. Cissie was known to many family and friends as Mamma McLeod, Lady Cissie, Mimi and The Mimster.

Cissie was a fifth-generation resident and a member of the A.A. Nelson family, a founding family of our community. She was raised in First United Methodist Church and then married the Presbyterian preacher’s son. She was fond of saying she went into her wedding a Methodist and came out of the church a Presbyterian.

Growing up in Lake Charles, she was proud to have attended Fourth Ward, Central School and Lake Charles High. She especially loved her high school experience, particularly the Kilties and her outstanding teachers. From these she created lifelong friendships.

Cissie thrived at LSU. She was honored to serve as president of Mortar Board while realizing her passion for LSU football. As noted in the Lake Charles American Press earlier this year, Cissie was a senior when LSU won their first national football title. She enthusiastically attended the 2020 National Championship game with her childhood friend and LSU roommate, Angell Stockwell Wright, which was a highlight of her life. While at LSU, she joined Chi Omega, the sorority she loved dearly her whole life. Because of her passion for the cardinal and straw, her adult nickname was “Big Mama Owl.” She was delighted when her daughter, Ruth, joined her in the sorority, even if it was at Bama!

As a young woman, she taught seventh grade English at Central School. Nary a student of that age was not impacted by her infectious zest for life. They all remember her to this day.

She was recognized by the Junior League of Lake Charles as Sustainer of the Year for her service to the community. New Junior League members were inspired by hearing her own brand of the history of Lake Charles.

Cissie volunteered with her daughters’ schools including Oak Park Elementary, ICCS and St. Louis. From fundraising for air conditioners for Oak Park in the 70s to coordinating the Harvest Festival and being the Blues Mom at St. Louis in the 80s, she found ways to make a positive impact wherever she was involved. Long after her daughters were no longer in school, Cissie was still loving children through her volunteerism. Through her church, First Presbyterian, she was still volunteering as a lunch buddy and tutor with students at Oak Park until recently.

Cissie also brought many strengths to her role as a political wife, not the least of which was her excellent memory for names, relationships and people’s stories. Some people thought she knew everyone (and their family trees) in Lake Charles, maybe even the entire state. Cissie was a natural politician and she knew how to mobilize others to get things done. “Cissie was the politician behind the statesman,” once wrote Lanny Keller in The Times.

One of her favorite experiences was reigning as Queen Anna XLI of the Krewe of Mystique. She had a grand time celebrating as only Cissie knew how with her family and many friends.

Cissie and Bill dearly loved their camp at Big Lake, “Cissie By the Sea.” She enjoyed spending many happy days there, especially with her grandchildren, at “Camp Mimi.”

Cissie had many health challenges with two bypass surgeries, including one on the same day with Bill, 19 stents in the arteries to her heart, one code blue, breast cancer and other conditions too numerous to mention. She never let these difficulties slow her down or keep her from caring for others, or hinder her from enjoying the wonderful foods of Southwest Louisiana beyond doctors’ orders.

The family wishes to thank those who kept Cissie alive for so many years, in particular her incredible cardiology team, Dr. Richard Gilmore and Sharon Malone, RN, and the other medical professionals who loved her like family – she loved them right back. Additionally, the family has the utmost appreciation for those who cared for Cissie in her final days – the teams on 9A and 8B at UTMB in Galveston. These consummate professionals made Cissie and her daughters have the best experience during such challenging times.

Cissie was preceded in death by her parents, Carroll and Floy Nelson Allen; her brother, Kently Qualls; as well as her husband, The Hon. William Lasater McLeod, Jr.

She is survived by her three adoring daughters, Sara Nelson McLeod Judson (Mark) of Lake Charles, Martha Ellen McLeod Livanec (Scott) of Galveston, Texas, and Ruth McLeod Rohs (Stephen) of Denver, Colo. Cissie loved her grandchildren immensely: Rachel McLeod Judson, Marie Louise Livanec, William McLeod Livanec, Caroline Isabel Livanec, William McLeod Rohs and Katherine Elizabeth Rohs.

The family is grateful to First United Methodist Church for making their building available for the celebration of Cissie’s life while First Presbyterian’s new building at MorganField is in progress.

Visitation will be held at First United Methodist Church Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, from 3-6 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, from noon until time of service.

A Celebration of Life will be held at First United Methodist Church Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, at 2 p.m.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, mask and social distancing are required and requested by the family.

Pallbearers will be Ricky Chapman, James Dufrene, John Foret, Dr. Richard Gilmore, Gregg Gothreaux, Adam Knapp, William McLeod (Mac) Livanec, Paul Hart Miller, Luke Saucier, George Paret, William McLeod Rohs and Larry Turner.

In lieu of flowers, the McLeod sisters encourage gifts to the newly established Cissie and Bill McLeod Fund at the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana. The fund will continue Cissie and Bill’s commitment to the region by supporting causes important to them, such as the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Charles and the McNeese Foundation. (, PO Box 3125, Lake Charles, LA 70602).

The family plans to livestream the Celebration of Life provided internet service is restored in time (following Hurricanes Laura and Delta). A recording of the service will be posted to