Forest groups honor loggers at Festival events
Louisiana Loggers Association/SIF at Winnfield, Zolle Festival group pick winners

Remedes will be honored as Oldest Logger
at the 20th annual Zwolle Loggers and
Forestry Festival May 9-10
In a career spanning almost 50 years, Raymond Remedes of Zwolle has seen the complete transformation of the forest industry in North Louisiana and nationwide, from the methods of growing trees, to the shift from back-breaking hand labor to total mechanization in the harvest.

Mr. Remedes was born June 9, 1941, to Joe and Elidia Remedes of Zwolle. He was the last born of the 12 children of the couple, with six boys and six girls. Growing up in Zwolle, he attended St. Joseph Catholic School for six years, and Zwolle High School for six years, graduating in 1959.

He went into the woods at age 13, working for his father, Joe Remedes and Emmett Meshell, cutting pulpwood and making crossties.

By the time of his retirement at age 62 in 2003, he had gone from that early woods job as a young teenager, to senior woods management positions with Sabine Lumber Company, Boise Cascade, Willamette, and finally, as Contract Administrator, supervising logging jobs for Weyerhaeuser Company in North Louisiana.

Raymond Remedes will be honored as the Oldest Logger at the 15th annual Zwolle Loggers and Forestry Festival on May 9-10, as usual at the City Recreation park across the railroad track from the down town area.

The annual Festival also recognizes local officials, makes awards for community service, and introduces the new Festival Queen and her Court. A midway features a variety of souvenirs for sale, food booths, exhibits of logging equipment, contests, and a parade through the downtown. The entire event is about forestry and logging, the major industry that provides the jobs and economic underpinning of the community, and of most of North Louisiana.

His lifetime of work in the forest industry and in community service make Raymond Remedes well deserving of the honor focused on him.

The Oldest Logger began working in the woods at age 13, cutting pulpwood and making ties for his father and Emmitt Meshell. He continued with various jobs in the woods until his graduation in 1959, when he went to work for Sabine Lumber Company May of that year. He began as an hourly utility worker, and in February started training in forestry management. He went on to rain as a logging superintendent, and held that position until Boise took over Sabine Lumber Company. With Boise, his title was Area Supervisor, and with this came the responsibility if supervising logging jobs and forestry management jobs. He was assistant to the district manager of Boise and held this position until October 1973, when he took a job with Willamette Industries as logging superintendent. In May 1980 he was promoted to logging manager, in charge of all logging jobs the company produced. He held this position until Weyerhaeuser Company purchased Willamette in 2002. With Weyerhaeuser, his title was Contract administrator, where he supervised logging jobs. He remained in this position until his retirement in November 2003.

Mr. Remedes gives credit for his training and success to Garret Wash, Bill Palmer, Dewy Crag, and Bob Asses.

In addition to his work in the logging woods, Mr. Remedes has strong and continuing ties to his family, his community, and his church, which is St. Joseph Catholic Church of Zwolle. He grew up in Zwolle attending St. Joseph Catholic Church school for six years, and Zwolle High School for six years, where he graduated in 1959.

He remains an active member of St. Joseph, serving in a variety of responsible positions for many years. He is a Eucharistic Minister and an usher. From 1981-1993 he served as a member of the Pastoral Council, serving one term as its president. He has served as a member of the Finance Council since 1993, and for 23 years has served as Spring Festival chairman for the church’s annual fundraiser. He has been a member of the cemetery committee and has helped with the CCD Religion program for many years. He is also a charter member of the Knights of Columbus ad is the Monday night Bingo chairman, a job he has held since 1983.

In other community affairs, Mr. Remedes was a charter member of the Zwolle Jaycees, and served as club secretary for one term. He was a Tamale Fiesta board member for three years, and was the first president of the Zwolle Loggers and Forestry Festival. He is a member of the Louisiana Forestry Association and the Piney Woods Forestry Group.
Raymond Remedes is married to Barbara Gatheright, who he met and courted while serving as baseball coach for the Zwolle Jaycees boys’ team. With a smile, he said relatives of both him and his future wife worked to put them together, and they courted while he worked with the Jaycees. They have been married 47 years, and are the parents of two daughters, Tina Starks, and husband Marty, and Staci Anderson.They are the proud grandparents of seven grandchildren, Misty Remedes Junkin, Kyle Remedes, Brandon Starks, Courtney Starks, Chanse Malmay, Larisa Malmay, and Masen Starks. He is also a proud Great “Papa” to Kelton and Kalen Sepulvado’s Riley Starks, and anxiously awaiting another in September.

although he is no longer physically working in the woods, Mr. Remedes still sits on his front porch, on the family’s comfortable bungalow beside US 171 just a mile or so from the Zwolle town limits, “cuts, hauls, and processes” a lot of loads that pass by the home on their way to mills in the area. He also attends the monthly meetings of the Piney Woods Group to keep up with the logging and forestry industry.

The Raymond Remedes family dedicated the 2006 annual Loggers and Forestry Poster in honor of his 49 years of work and dedication to the forest industry in Sabine Parish.