MONROE, La. – Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, who recently died of complications from Covid-19, was remembered on Saturday as a man who loved people and felt a calling to serve others.
“This is a gentleman who only cares about others,” said former Republican US Representative Ralph Abraham, who hired Letlow as chief of staff during his tenure in Washington and later supported Letlow’s offer to Congress. “He was a true servant. We never want to forget what he did for our state, what he did for me and my family.”
Letlow, a new Republican member of the US House, died on Tuesday John Bel Edwards on Saturday commanded flags hoisted at half-cast for Letlow, who is survived by his wife Julia Letlow and their children Jeremiah, 3, and Jacqueline, 1.
More than 200 people gathered at the North Monroe Baptist Church for the memorial. Abraham acknowledged the presence of other members of the state’s Congressional Delegation in attendance, including US Representatives Clay Higgins and Garret Graves.
Abraham noted that Letlow was known for the relationships he made.
“Luke loved Louisiana. He loved driving on country roads with potholes, going to Lea in Lecompte to get cake and milk and talking to the locals, ”he said.
Abraham asked friends and family to plant a tree in Letlow’s memory.
“Plant a tree that you need to water, care for and watch grow. And every time you pass this tree you will remember Luke and smile and embrace that warm feeling that comes to your mind as your day progresses. He wants us to be happy, brave, and strong. We honor and remember Luke Letlow by building this type of life. “
Letlow, of the small town of Start, Richland Township, was elected in a December runoff election for the sprawling U.S. House of Representatives seat in the 5th District, which represents the central and northeastern regions of the state, including the cities of Monroe and Alexandria. He was to occupy the place vacated by Abraham.
Jonathan S. Wagner, pastor of the Covenant Presbyterian Church, said the number of people in attendance and the live-stream watching of the service was “evidence of Luke’s influence during his 41 years on this earth.”
“The awards speak for his authenticity, his work ethic, his playful spirit, his love for Louisiana and his love for people. He was a great man and it was a great privilege to have known him, ”said Wagner.
Wagner said Letlow was very interested in public service.
“People knew that he wasn’t just trying to get his name out,” Wagner said during his campaign trips. “He was really interested in meeting people and hearing their stories. He wanted to know what formed them and made them what they were. These stories shaped him and changed his way of life. He went into politics to be a civil servant in the purest sense. He wanted to help others because he loved them deeply and sincerely and was driven by his faith. “
Jeffrey Thomas, a friend of Letlow’s and senior pastor at Start Baptist Church, described Letlow as “God’s special possession.”
“The love of God flowed through Luke,” said Thomas. “Julia, he loved you and he loved these babies. … Whatever memories you have of him, whatever words he said or whatever service he did to you, he did it out of love. God gave us a special gift in Luke. He took every opportunity to make sure you and I had the absolute best. “