The Vermilion acknowledges the recent passing of The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s First Lady Gail Heinbach Savoie, and we send out our deepest condolences to President Joseph Savoie and his family. 

On June 12, Gail Savoie passed away peacefully from a prolonged sickness. She was 67 years old and had been married to Joseph Savoie for 44 years. 

According to an email announcement sent by Savoie, they both attended Sulphur High School, where they first met, and built a friendship that lasted over half a century. It was her fun-filled and radiant aura that connected Savoie to her. 

“Many people find spouses, but finding a soulmate who offers strength and support is a true gift. She was mine,” Savoie wrote in the email announcement. 

Gail Savoie went to UL Lafayette where she studied elementary education and became a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority and a cheerleader, like in high school. She was still actively participating and supporting her sorority sisters- the “Delta Roses”- and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics.

When Savoie became the president of the university, Gail Savoie became an ambassador for the school and made sure to stay involved in school activities and events including Homecoming, holiday events such as Sneaux Day, and other events held at the President’s House hosted by herself. 

“And she was always the life of the party and ensured that participants felt welcomed and special,” Savoie said.

Along with her involvement, she possessed a passion for art and a love for animals, which led to her establishment of the university’s rescue organization Campus Cats. 

Gail Savoie also participated in local charity organizations such as the American Cancer Society. She ensured that everyone she encountered was given compassion and care, and it was reflected through her work and her family involvement. 

“Gail left everyone who knew her with so many memories to treasure, and thoughts of her smile, her laugh and her vitality will sustain – and cheer – us as we try to comprehend the passing of this extraordinary, irreplaceable figure in our lives,” Savoie wrote in the email announcement. 

Gail Savoie is survived by her husband Joseph Savoie; her children, Blaire Savoie and Adam Savoie; a granddaughter, Addison Marie Saulnier; a brother, Clay Heinbach and his wife, Paula; and other loved ones. 

On June 16 at 1 p.m., the university plans to have a memorial for Gail Savoie at Our Lady of Wisdom Church. The burial will be held afterwards at Holy Mary Mother of God Cemetery.

On June 15 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., family, friends and loved ones can visit at the Delhomme Chapel of the Flowers. There will be a rosary at 7 p.m. at the funeral home, and visiting hours will continue the next day from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

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