Ellis Stansel, like his father, was a pioneer. A graduate of Texas A&M and the shortest man ever to play basketball in the S.W. Conference. The founder of the gourmet/popcorn rice market in the U.S., as well as, the inventor of several patents on agricultural equipment. He was named Louisiana's Ambassador of rice in 1984 and has become famous in the food industry, as well as, in agriculture. But I want to try and introduce to you the Ellis Stansel that was so much more.
Customers called him the Rice Man, his grand kids called him "Popeye"; but, he asked for the whole world to just call him Ellis. He was a simple man that strived for excellence; everything he did had to be twice as good as anything he had done before, which earned him the nickname "Double or Nothing."
A nickname which he proudly shared with his summer camp in Grand Isle, LA. There with his family, he shared his love for fishing speckled trout every weekend, returning every Sunday night to run his business for another week. And run his business he did, like no one else could have, then or now.
To learn who Ellis Stansel was, a person only needs to travel to his home town of Gueydan, LA. There he would meet literally thousands of people who would share their love, their admiration, and more than likely their story. How he assisted them in a time of need or befriended someone because they had no one. How he donated what was needed to someone who lost everything and gave work to those who needed to support their families even though no work needed to be done. There a person would meet those who just met him and said, "My, that is a fine gentlemen."
Until his death in 1994, he was loved and honored by all that knew him. Now his memory is enshrined in our hearts forever. But, even in death, his words, his actions, his very life continues to make our community a better place. For he left us a great legacy to learn from. Not how it was, nor how it will be, but of how it should be.
If it sounds as though I knew him, it's because he was my grandfather and friend. He was my "Popeye."
-Travis Stansel Richard