Longtime teacher remembered fondly

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 16, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / February 16, 2000

NEW SARPY – To generations of fourth-graders at St. Charles BorromeoElementary School, Therese Hebert was the teacher who never gave homework on the weekends.

Mrs. Hebert died Saturday at the age of 72, marking the conclusion of yearsof teaching that went far beyond the classroom.

Born Therese Waguespack, she was the wife of the late Murray Hebert and mother of Michael J. and Gary S. Hebert, Barbara H. Fonseca and David C.Hebert. She taught at St. Charles Borromeo for 33 years and retired in1997.

Her parents, Amedee and Elise Simon Waguespack, moved to New Sarpy from Vacherie to work at nearby Shell Oil. There, she was born in 1928 and raisedin the Catholic faith.

She was educated at St. Charles Borromeo School by nuns of the ImmaculateConception order until high school, finishing at Destrehan High School in 1945. She married World War II veteran Murray Hebert in 1947, but teachingwas in her blood.

After earning her teaching certification at Nicholls State University, Hebert started teaching in 1964 alongside the Sisters of the Most Blessed Sacrament, starting as a substitute but quickly graduating to full-time work.

Her son, Michael, remembers Therese Hebert as a loving mother and devoted Catholic with compassion for children.

“She never gave homework on the weekend because she had compassion for the kids,” he recalled.

“I could look back on her as a good mother, ironing our clothes, fixing our meals and making our beds. She was a very good, caring mother,” the sonremembered.

Therese Hebert was much more, though, touching thousands of lives through generations of students, their parents and their eventual children.

Her pleasures were simple – her love of music boxes and tea sets. Thenagain, there’s the 1999 red Chevrolet Camero she drove.

Michael tells the story of taking her to buy a new car. Her older car neededto be replaced and she said she was comfortable with anything, “just so it’s red!” At the dealership, she and Michael test-drove a Caprice and she thought that was OK. Then she drove the Camero and loved the deep-throated rumble ofthe engine.

Back at the dealership, she said her son “talked me into this one!” Her lessons to her family were countless. Devotion to the church was onlyone of these, which went to etiquette, consideration for others and leadership.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do without her,” her daughter-in-law, Janet, said. “She knew everything!”Janet added, “She was the potato-salad queen! Nobody could beat it!” Hebert’s husband died in 1979 after a lengthy illness, and though she was active with the Nifty Fifties social club, “Her family was her social life,” daughter Barbara Fonseca recalled.

However, at heart, her love for children made her special. “She was marriedfor 15 years before she bought her first coat,” her daughter said. “Shemade sure we were taken care of first.”Therese Hebert’s funeral was held Tuesday at St. Charles Borromeo CatholicChurch, with interment at the church mausoleum.

She is missed by her children, eight grandchildren and 12 great- grandchildren, and sister, Kathleen Sams.

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