Longtime Ascension assessor Dies after battle with cancer

John Dupont

Ascension Parish Assessor Rene Mire Michel remembered Gerald McCrory as more than just her employer.

"He was my mentor and teacher," Michel said. 

McCrory, who served more than 20 years as Ascension Parish Assessor, died Friday from lung cancer. He succumbed four days before his 79th birthday.

"Gerald was just a sweetheart," Michel said. "What was so great was that he was so smart, he knew the assessment business so well and taught me so much.

"He was a wonderful teacher and very easygoing," she recalled. "He treated us all like family."

McCrory worked as assessor from 1981 until he retired due to health reasons. 

McCrory worked as chief deputy under Michel's father, Pegram Mire, who served as assessor from 1952-80. 

Then-Chief Deputy Emile Spano took over the assessor's post Feb. 1, 2003 upon McCory's retirement. Spano held that position until Michel defeated Jeff Smith in the second primary. She took office Dec. 1, 2003.

"I never could've run against Gerald," Michel said. "I was his office manager, and it was when he decided to retire that I decided I'd run."

McCrory served as assessor during the start of the growth boom on the Eastbank, which began in the 1980s.

The tax rolls were $26 million when he went to work at the tax office in 1966. By the time he left office, that amount ballooned to $544 million.

James H. "Jimmy" Dupont, who served 36 years Iberville Parish assessor, worked closely with McCrory. He recalled the challenges McCrory faced during Ascension's upswing in growth.

"It was a rough time for him with the growth," Dupont said. "He was a very honest, dedicated person and handled everything very well."

Dupont served with several years on the Board of Directors for the Louisiana Assessor's Association.

He recalled McCrory's no-nonsense approach.

"Gerald was kind of a quiet person, the type who did his job and did it right," Dupont said.

McCrory was a lifelong resident of Gonzales, a graduate of Gonzales High School and Southeastern Louisiana University. He was also a veteran of the Korean War.

He died three days before the 58th anniversary of his marriage to the former Mary Brunson. They had three children – Candace Butler, of Biloxi; Douglas McCrory and 21st Judicial District Court Judge Jessie LeBlanc, both of Gonzales.

Gerald McCrory lived long enough to see his daughter Jessie win the judge’s seat.

“Daddy’s word was his honor,” she said. “He was the type who’d give someone the shirt off his back.”

His son Douglas remembers him as a “fair, compassionate man.”

Gerald McCrory served 15 years as chief deputy assessor before he succeed Mire.

Prior to his work with the Assessor’s Office, he worked as a bookkeeper for Daigle Pontiac.

He was also survived by nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.