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Louisiana Hall of Fame builder John Harry Hebert, a founder and charter member of the Acadian Home Builders Association in Lafayette, La., died at the Lafayette General Medical Center on April 22. He was 81.
Hebert, known to all as Harry, began working in his father's restaurant, the Aggie Land Inn near the University of Lafayette, at a young age. He then worked at Lafco Boats before starting his first construction company in 1948 and embarking on a career as home builder, general contractor and developer that spanned more than a half-century.
Hebert created some of the most well-known subdivisions in Lafayette and Acadia, building nearly 3,000 single-family homes, numerous commercial buildings and various other projects. He also was a driving force for the industry and for the economic growth of the area.
In addition to founding the Acadian HBA, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, Hebert served as the association’s president five times and held every officer position and served on every standing committee of the association numerous times.
He also was a charter member of the association’s Home Builders Self Insurance Fund and served as a trustee for many years. He spearheaded the implementation of the HBA’s first home show, now called the "Blueprints Home and Garden Show," one of the area’s largest locally-sponsored trade shows of any kind.
Hebert was a member of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and served on the City of Lafayette Planning Commission for several years, including as chairman. In addition, Hebert served on the City of Lafayette Board of Zoning and Adjustments for several years as well as on the city’s 1-49 Advisory Committee.
Hebert served as a member of the boards of directors of both the Louisiana Home Builders Association and NAHB. He also held every officer’s position at the state HBA, including president in 1967. He served as an area vice president to NAHB.
For his ongoing service to the industry, Hebert was named a life director of his local and state associations, as well as NAHB. He was selected as the first Acadian HBA "Builder of the Year" and was similarly honored by the Louisiana HBA before eventually being inducted in the state’s builder hall of fame.
Hebert devoted as much energy to serving his community as he did to the industry. He helped rehabilitate the St. Joseph's Shelter for Men for the Diocese of Lafayette. He organized the construction of the Lafayette Community Health Care Clinic, which provides services to the uninsured. And he visited Honduras twice to help build medical clinics there. For his service, he was honored at the Bishop's Charity Ball in Lafayette.
Hebert is survived by his wife, Marie Elise Lemoine Hebert, of Lafayette; two daughters, Lynne Ann Hebert and her partner, Lisa Cope, of Austin, Texas, and Mundy Marie Hebert and her partner, Jane Murphy, of Austin, Texas; two sons, Michael James Hebert and his wife, Ginger, of Lafayette, and Steven Paul Hebert and his wife, Cindy, of Lafayette; five grandchildren; and a sister, Hazel Clark. He was preceded in death by another sister, Ruby Gass.