Former Lafayette City Court Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr., a visionary supporter of the city’s growth and a sitting judge for 40 years, has died.
According to a post on his son Kaliste Saloom III’s Facebook page, the longtime fixture of Lafayette’s judiciary passed away Saturday night at the age of 99.
“It is with a heavy heart to post that my father passed away peacefully this evening,” Saloom III wrote. “He lived a wonderful 99+ years, and leaves an indelible mark not only on his family but this community. I am proud he called me his son and I, my father, to carry his name. Love.”
Saloom served as a judge of the City Court of Lafayette from 1953 to 1993. In 1992, he temporarily sat on the Third Circuit of the Louisiana Court of Appeal.
In 1935 Saloom was Valedictorian of Cathedral High School in Lafayette. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette) in 1939 and Juris Doctor Degree from Tulane University School of Law in 1942.
“We have lost a community icon,” said UL President Joseph Savoie in a statement Sunday morning. “Judge Saloom was a walking encyclopedia of university and community history. He not only knew the facts of history, but the nuances behind the facts. He was an integral participant in the development and evolution of the university, and while his presence at university events will be missed, his legacy will be remembered and cherished.”
He was married for 59 years to Yvonne Adelle Nassar. The couple raised four children, eleven grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Saloom was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar in 1942 but delayed his practice of law until after his service in the United States Army during World War II. Prior to being elected city judge, he served as Lafayette’s city attorney and assisted in the development of the Lafayette Utility System (LUS) and the establishment of the Permanent Voter Registration Program in Lafayette Parish.
He has received numerous local, state and national awards and recognitions including honors from the U.S. Supreme Court; the Louisiana Supreme Court; the National Center of State Courts in Williamsburg, Virginia; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington, D.C.; the American Bar Association; the American Judges Association and the Louisiana Bar Foundation. He also received the National Distinguished Jurist Award from the Mississippi State University Pre-Law Society in 1987. He has served as lecturer in judicial seminars in the United States, Canada and England.
His family members first came to Lafayette more than 120 years ago and have been prominent in education, civic, charitable, commercial and religious activities. He received the Lafayette Civic Cup in 1965. He has reigned as both King Gabriel of the Lafayette Mardi Gras and King Lacassine I of the Krewe of Attakapas.
He is survived by his wife, Yvonne Adelle Nassar; four children: Kaliste III, Douglas James (Judge, Lafayette City Court Division “B”, m. Mary Margaret Bienvenu), Leanne Isabelle Saloom Howell (m. Evan Howell, III) and Gregory John (m. Shari Yount); eleven grandchildren: Bradley Marshall (m. Christina McNair), Kaliste Joseph IV (m. Bridget Ortte), Thomas Richardson (m. Dr. Angelle Trahan), Christopher Scott; Leslie Marcelle, Adam Douglas (m. Megan Jenkins), Ethan James; Alexandra Mary and John William Howell; and Katherine Ann and Jordan Adelle Saloom; five great grandchildren: Eli Joseph Saloom; Kaliste Joseph Saloom, V; Emma Kerr Saloom, Taylor Elizabeth Saloom and Minette Mae Saloom; two brothers-in-law, Emile A. Nassar and Dr. Maurice G. Nassar (m. Marilyn Anderson); and numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his father, Kaliste J. Saloom, Sr.; mother, Asma Boustany Saloom; three brothers, Joseph Saloom; Dr. Clarence Saloom (m. Pauline Womac, deceased) and Dr. Richard Saloom (m. Ruth Black); and four sisters, Alice Saloom; Agnes Saloom Azar (m. Dr. Paul Azar, Sr., deceased); Beatrice Saloom and Isabelle Saloom Haik (m. Dr. George M. Haik, Sr., deceased); daughter-in-law Leah Richardson Saloom (m. Kaliste III); in-laws Lee G. Nassar and Isabelle Nejam Nassar; and one brother-in-law, George Lee Nassar.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.