Cover photo for William Raleigh Caldwell, Jr.'s Obituary
William Raleigh Caldwell, Jr. Profile Photo

William Raleigh Caldwell, Jr.

November 4, 1947 — July 14, 2023

West Monroe

William Raleigh Caldwell, Jr.

William Raleigh “Bill” Caldwell was born November 4, 1947, in Athens, Texas, to Carrie Jean Caldwell and William Raleigh Caldwell and passed away on July 14, 2023, in West Monroe, LA.

Bill spent his childhood in Athens, Texas, traipsing through woods, playing sports, and learning everything there was to know about gardening from his parents.

Bill graduated from Athens High School and went on to get his bachelor's and master’s degree in Sociology from Stephen F. Austin State University. He also attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge where he received a Master of Social Work degree.

During summers while Bill was in college, he went to Edinburg, Texas, and various towns in Oklahoma where he loaded watermelons. He really enjoyed these activities as well as going home to Athens each year to help with the digging of fruit trees in his father’s nursery.

Bill met his wife, Bobbie, in Athens, Texas, while working for Child Protective Services. They were married on July 26, 1975. After marrying, they moved to Baton Rouge, LA, for graduate school. After graduation, Bill became the administrator of Baton Rouge Youth, a facility for boys and girls in Baton Rouge. In November 1981, Bill moved to Monroe to become the Treatment Program Manager at Louisiana Training Institute/ Swanson Correctional Center for Youth. He was later promoted to the position of warden. He worked at Swanson for twenty- four years. He also worked as a therapist at Johnny Robinson’s Boy’s Home for thirty-one years.

When Bill wasn’t working, you could usually find him in the garden, Bill loved gardening. From working at his family’s nursery as a young man to maintaining an immaculate garden at his home in West Monroe, LA. He took pride in his plants. He bred countless varieties of hybrid daylilies, collected and propagated seeds of plants that he found while vacationing with his family, and grew all sorts of fruits and vegetables. When he became unable to walk in later years, he still maintained a vegetable garden from his wheelchair. Bill also loved writing poetry, including song lyrics. He spent many hours playing his guitar and recording his songs.

Bill is survived by his wife of forty-seven years, Bobbie Bailey Caldwell of West Monroe, LA; daughters, Adrian Berkline and husband, Kevin, and Katie Hurst; three grandchildren, Tate Berkline, Briar Hurst, and Lydia Berkline; his sister, Mary Hortman; many nieces and nephews; Mrs. Ruby Oatis, his special friend and frequent caregiver.

He was preceded in death by his parents, William Raleigh Caldwell and Carrie Jean Dean Caldwell.

A private memorial service will be held in Athens, TX, at a later date. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Raleigh Caldwell, Jr., please visit our flower store.

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