Steven J. LeBlanc who was born on July 3, 1946 in Napoleonville, Louisiana, sadly passed away in his sleep into the loving arms of his wife of 42 years, Fadua Roedan LeBlanc, on October 14, 2012 at the age of 66. He died of kidney and heart failure while resting in his second home in the Dominican Republic, where his wife’s family comes from, a country that he adored and a place where he always wanted to live his final days. He was considered a brother by his wife’s family, the Roedans, and had enormous respect and love for them.
Steve was preceded in death by his parents, Lee LeBlanc and Yvonne Boudreaux LeBlanc and his brother Lionel. He is survived by his brothers, Donald and Charles and his sister, Mary; as well as his two children, Michael and Cher and his two grandchildren Brett and Sean.
After graduating from Glenn Oaks High School in Baton Rouge in 1965, Steve served in the Navy and was a Veteran. After the Navy in Norfolk, Virginia, he met his future bride on a blind date in New York City and they soon married in 1970. After word that he was going to be a father, he needed better financial stability as the only job he could get in New York City was parking cars in a garage. Steve moved back to Baton Rouge and with the help of his brothers and others, got a job as an independent inspector in the oil, chemical and gas industry along the lower Mississippi River. An overseas competitor soon offered him an opportunity to open locations in the USA and the Americas, as the company was only located in Europe at the time. Steve and his close friend Lloyd Rhinehart made the move and took the lead and quickly gathered a good team and began to grow the company. They started as 5 employees in 1972 and quickly grew to over 5,000 employees in the 1980s and the company, Caleb Brett, became the market leader. Steve went on to open 47 locations in the Americas, including 17 countries. Lloyd is still a Vice President in the company and was considered by Steve as a brother for life.
As Caleb Brett continued to grow, they eventually were called Intertek – Caleb Brett and after Intertek became a public company on the London Stock Exchange, Steve retired after 30 years with the company. Referred to as one of the company’s “founding fathers”, just as Lloyd, he developed so many strong relationships with so many industry friends that the list is literally hundreds of people in length. Obviously, some relationships were more special than others, but none stronger than Steve’s assistant of 20 years, Susan Hinds-Brenner. Susan and her husband Bruce Brenner were literally “with him until the end” and he absolutely cherished the loyalty, true friendship, hard work and great times that he shared with Susan. Today, Intertek has over 25,000 employees and continues to grow at a strong pace.
First and foremost, Steve was a Christian. He went to church religiously and was a proud member of the Knights of Columbus in Friendswood, Texas. He always had a “work hard – play hard” attitude. He was a mentor to many and he said what was on his mind, for better or worse. He was a master at using “tough love”, but for those who really knew him, he was always more loving than tough – and he had a heart of gold.
At the end of a blessed and brilliant career, the dollars and cents meant less as days went by, but those phone calls and visits from people who he was fortunate enough to “open a door for” – and actually made it – were the best for him, as they always put a smile on his face and a sparkle in his eyes. He would be the first to admit that he made many mistakes, but he always did his best. One of his golden rules was to make sure you do your very best each day, and if you did, then rest in peace each night; and when you wake up – be unafraid. When his number was called, he was at peace with God, he gave forgiveness where it was needed and he did “his job” for his family, which is best captured in a Conway Twitty song shared between Steve and his son Michael since it was released in 1987. He powered through many tough times with the help of family, friends and his Faith. His only daughter, Cher, had a brain tumor since birth and she suffered through 9 surgeries, the first one when she was only 4 years old and the last one in 2012, at the age of 39, where the doctors finally gave her an “all clear”. Cher was left handicapped for the past 22 years, but continues to work hard in physical therapy 5 days a week to hopefully be able to walk on her own one day.
Steve was able to enjoy 10 years of retirement, thanks in a large part by Jay Gutierrez, Intertek’s current President. During his retirement, Steve did some consulting work, but he spent most of his time “helping people” in a very anonymous fashion. As a result of his very giving nature, an organization was formalized in 2010 by Steve, his son Michael and his grandchildren Brett and Sean; a not for profit Foundation called Purple Patriots – “People Helping People” www.purplepatriots.net.
Steve’s wishes were respected and his viewing, funeral and burial were all done at a rapid pace in the Dominican Republic, just 2 weeks after he returned from his home in Friendswood, Texas. He always told people that he never really wanted a sad funeral, he wanted a party where there was live music and family and friends talking about “the good times”. In respect of his final wishes, a website has been created as a platform for friends and family to communicate and properly plan this event. Please visit www.leblanclifememorial.com for more information.