Dr. Tony LoBue: Central’s 2011 Man of the Year

Dr. Tony LoBue: Central’s 2011 Man of the Year

‘I Don’t Want to Take Any Credit.  Central Is About A Lot of People Pulling Together’ — Dr. Tony LoBue

CENTRAL — If Central has a Tim Tebow, it is certainly Dr. Tony LoBue — a quiet, humble quarterback who makes big things happen while trying to make certain he gets none of the credit.

A well-respected veterinarian and family man, leader of the business community, director of the annual prayer banquet, and dedicated City Councilman, Dr. Tony LoBue is Central’s 2011 Man of the Year.

Shortly after moving his veterinary practice to Central in 2003, Dr. LoBue got active in the Central Area Business Association.  Soon afterwards, he was drafted to be president.  Over the next two years, he helped reorganize CABA and converted it to the City of Central Chamber of Commerce.  With Tony at the helm, the Chamber became a more vital and active institution in the Central community.

About that same time, Central Fire Chief Bill Porche, who had organized Central’s annual Prayer Banquet for many years, passed on the responsibility to Tony and his wife Judy.  Under their leadership, the prayer banquet grew larger and larger, involving nearly 1,000 students from Central area schools every August.  Adult leaders of the prayer banquet vowed never to use their names in publicity about the Prayer Banquet.  So most people in Central never knew how much time and effort the LoBues were devoting to organizing the effort.

Central’s Prayer Banquet has undoubtedly had a major effect on the Central community.  It helps young people start the school year off with the right attitude and keep their Christian walk uppermost in mind.

In early 2010, Dr. Tony LoBue decided to run for the Central City Council.  Nine candidates were on the ballot for five at-large seats.  A spirited campaign ensued, and all nine candidates were very competitive.  Yet, when the votes were counted, Tony LoBue won 71 percent of the vote.  He was supported in all parts of the city by every faction.

Four years before, Ralph Washington was the top vote-getter and was subsequently chosen by the five-member City Council to be Mayor Pro-Tem.  But when it was suggested that Tony LoBue should be named Mayor Pro-Tem after this 71 percent showing, Dr. LoBue just laughed it off and said that Ralph Washington had done a good job and he would be supporting Ralph’s reelection.


Tony LoBue’s favorite quote is, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!” and also, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!”

Despite his mild manner, Dr. Tony LoBue is a man with an iron will.  He epitomizes the principles in the book, Man of Steel and Velvet by Aubrey Andelin.  The book holds that a Christian man must be kind and loving, epitomized by the velvet touch.  Yet, at the same time, he must use the iron fist if necessary to protect his country, home, family, and the principles essential to a free society.

Insight into the character of Tony LoBue comes from his mentor, Dr. John Rust of Shreveport of Summer Grove Animal Hospital, who was named Louisiana’s Veterinarian of the Year.

“I first met Tony when he was a boy in grade school.  I was a veterinarian in Shreveport and went to his school to talk to the students about my work.  Tony was excited and told me he wanted to be a vet.  We never lost contact after that and by the time he was 15, he was working in my office, taking care of the kennels part-time.  Unlike most young people, he was very serious and kept his mind on his business.”

“He was very responsible and also very sensitive.  One day we weren’t very busy and I sent him home.  He got very upset and down in the dumps.  He didn’t want to leave.  He went on to Louisiana Tech and studied Animal Husbandry.  After graduation, he applied to go to the LSU Veterinary School, and I wrote a letter for him.”

“After completing vet school, Tony started a practice in Hallsville, Texas, where he lived for 17 years and was very successful.  Just the other day, I met a man from Hallsville who is the superintendent of schools, and he asked about Tony.  He told me how well respected Tony was over there. Among other things, he served as President of the Chamber of Commerce.”

“When Tony introduced me to Judy, I was so impressed.  I told him he would be crazy if he didn’t marry her!  And he did!  She’s a wonderful person, just as he is.  They are quite a combination!”

“I’ll be 85 in January and I’m still practicing.  For years, Tony has referred to me as his mentor but the truth is the roles have reversed.  I’ve been out of school for 53 years.  Today Tony is my mentor.  He teaches me so many things.  He’s been such a blessing to my life.  You know, everyone you meet is somewhere between toxic and nourishing.  When someone is toxic, stay away from them.  When they are nourishing, get as close as you can to them.  That’s why I’m sorry Tony is so far away.  I wish I could see him everyday!’


Just as Tim Tebow needs a whole team to be successful, Dr. Tony LoBue says we all need a team.

LoBue says everything great in his life has come as a gift from God, and everything good he’s been able to do is a result of the wonderful people God has put in his path.  At the top of his list is his mother and father and then Dr. John Rust, but there is also a lady outside his family who is very special — Miss Clara Kessler, now 101.

“When I arrived in Hallsville, Miss Clara took me under her wing, even watering the flowers in front of my office,” he said.  A scrapbook she prepared in the 1980’s recounts Tony’s many accomplishments in Hallsville and Miss Clara was there helping him throughout.  “I love her so much,” he said.  “She means everything to me.”


After Central’s municipal election in the spring of 2010, the newly-elected City Council went through a difficult period.  The Council was dissatisfied with the City Attorney, and Councilman  LoBue objected to her reappointment.  Shortly thereafter, the City Attorney refused to produce copies of her bills to the City as a result of Public Records requests.  Councilman LoBue strongly supported a resolution directing her to produce the requested Public Records.

By then, supporters of the Mayor began a campaign against Councilman LoBue.  He was invited by some to resign from the Council and “get out of town.”  Some threatened to boycott his veterinary practice.

It was a difficult time for a Christian whose motives appeared pure and in the public interest.

Despite it all, Dr. LoBue maintained his gentlemanly demeanor and refused to hit back at his opposition — much as Tim Tebow refuses to criticize his detractors.

Not much later, Councilman LoBue and a majority of the Council made it clear they wanted to consider a replacement for CH2MHILL, the $6 billion company that had the privatization contract for the City of Central.  Many people thought their efforts would be in vain.  But, ultimately, the Mayor’s committee recommended another private firm, and the City of Central is now saving $500,000 a year as a result.

Then the Mayor appointed Councilman LoBue to chair the Mayor’s Committee on Legal Services. When Chairman LoBue distributed copies of the City Attorney’s legal bills to committee members, the Mayor angrily demanded that LoBue resign.

The Councilman said the bills were public records, and that committee members charged with recommending how legal services should be provided should be able to review the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by the city on legal services.  LoBue refused to resign and the Mayor refused to allow the committee to continue meeting.

For the shy and humble veterinarian, controversy is something very unpleasant.  But he knows that he has to be willing to take a stand on important principles, whether he is in elective office, running a business, or being a husband and father.

Dr. LoBue and his wife Judy have five children and a blended family.  Tony and Judy have separate businesses in the same building.  His veterinary practice, Crossroads Animal, is located at 13933 Greenwell Springs Rd.  Judy’s Heavenly Hair & Skin is at the same address.

“It’s a dream for Judy and me to be able to be in business right next door to each other,” he said.  Judy LoBue is Tony’s biggest supporter.

Tony said, “I believe life is all about determining God’s direction for your life and about passing on your blessings to others, so that they can carry on.”

He passes the blessings along in so many ways.  Every day, he works to pay back those who have given so much to him.

Not long ago, he had the chance to pay back Dr. John Rust for his years of mentorship.  Tony said, “A young teacher named April Fitzgerald came to see me.  She said she wanted to become a veterinarian and asked if she could come to work with me and learn more.  I told her if she would work two years with me, I would teach her everything I know.  She did that and then went to vet school.  It was very gratifying when she graduated from LSU Vet School at the top of her class!  She is now Dr. April Fitzgerald and is practicing in Tennessee.”

Dr. LoBue has been very busy for many years passing out his blessings in Central, and now he is Central’s 2011 Man of the Year.

By Woody Jenkins

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