Wilbert L. ‘Bill’ Argus Jr., 78, of New Orleans, died November 27, 2018 in the home he designed and built for his family in Lakeview. Mr. Argus was a renowned architect, mentor, and designer of numerous churches and other structures for the Roman Catholic Archdioceses of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Biloxi, and Mobile, as well as schools for the St. Tammany Parish School Board. Born August 3, 1940 in New Orleans, Bill spent his formative years in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi where he was Valedictorian of the Class of 1957 at St. Stanislaus High School. He attended Tulane University, where he was student body president and received his Master of Architecture Degree in 1962. He served on active duty as Lieutenant and architect with the Civil Engineer Corps in the U.S. Navy 1962-1966, based in Indian Head and Bethesda, Maryland, as well as Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After leaving the Navy, Bill became a partner and designer with J. Buchanan Blitch & Associates, where he helped to rebuild churches and other structures along the Gulf Coast destroyed in Hurricane Camille in 1969. Later he formed his own firm, Argus Architecture and Engineering, where together with his father and brother – structural engineers Bill Argus Sr. and Ballard Argus – he helped to rebuild churches and other structures destroyed in Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Bill’s significant design projects included: Outdoor Altar on campus of UNO for Pope John Paul II’s mass during visit to New Orleans in 1987; Christ Episcopal Church, Bay St. Louis, MS; St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Robertsdale, AL; St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Gulfport, MS; St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, Mobile AL; St. Joseph Catholic Church, Ponchatoula, LA; Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Belle Chasse, LA; Resurrection of Our Lord Parish Center, New Orleans East; Our Lady of the Gulf Parish Center, Bay St. Louis, MS; St. Genevieve Catholic Church, Slidell, LA; Holy Family Catholic Church, Luling, LA; Woodlake Elementary School, Mandeville, LA; Multiple Renovations at Slidell High School. Mr. Argus was a man of great character and deep faith in God. In the mid-1970s, he was instrumental in encouraging his church community in New Orleans East to sponsor some of the first Vietnamese refugees to come to the United States after the fall of Saigon in 1975. He and his wife Tucky have been long time members of the People of Praise, an ecumenical, charismatic, covenant Christian community in 22 locations in the US, Canada and the Caribbean, including New Orleans. They have also been active members of Our Lady of the Gulf Parish in Bay St. Louis, as well as Resurrection of Our Lord and St. Dominic Parishes in New Orleans. Bill was active in the American Institute of Architects, the Lakeview Civic Association, and the President’s Council of Cabrini High School. He was a lifelong sailor and member of both the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans and Bay-Waveland Yacht Club in Bay St. Louis. He was also an avid model railroad, chocolate malt, and opera enthusiast, sang barbershop quartet, and played guitar and banjo with the music ministry at Resurrection of Our Lord Church and the People of Praise. Mr. Argus was preceded in death by his parents Wilbert L. ‘Bill’ Argus Sr. and Caroline (Ballard) Argus. He is survived by his wife of 56 years Elizabeth (Moss) of Lake Charles; children Elizabeth (John), Bill III (Kim), Mary, Caroline (Jerry), and Anne (Bill); brother Ballard (Patricia); and 12 grandchildren. Fair winds and following seas, Pop.
Published by The New Orleans Advocate from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, 2018.