Oct. 19, 1943-July 24, 2017
Millard Franklin Rutledge III, “Mr. Bill,” 74, of Natchitoches, plumber and volunteer firefighter, passed away after a four-year courageous battle from a rare and undiagnosed illness that complicated the neurological system. He died peacefully in his home Sunday morning, July 24, 2017. His loving wife, with the support of so many others including family, special caregivers and MF Rutledge Plumbing, Inc., 1539 Texas St., were by his side every step of the way. Mr. Bill, a lifelong resident of Natchitoches, was born Oct. 19, 1943, in Orange, Texas. He developed a boundless zest for plumbing as a young lad who would run away from school to find his dad, M. F. Rutledge II, and join him on a job-site. Mr. Bill took over Rutledge Plumbing upon his father’s retirement and “took it where it had never been before” as he built it into one of the most reputable commercial mechanical contracting operations in the state of Louisiana. He was described by professional peers as a “genius job estimator,” “best in the business in outside utility world and sewer lines to plants,” and “the master of master plumbing.” Mr. Bill was ranked and awarded “Southern Pipes Top 20,” (out of seven states), twice. Many aspiring mechanical contractors and plumbers began their careers and later opened their own businesses through the mentorship of Mr. Bill Rutledge. Each of their successes brought him a selfless sense of joy. Mr. Bill was committed to family, faith and community. He honored God in everything he did. He was humble, and never boastful. He was slow to anger and always believed in turning the other cheek. He never said an unkind word about anyone. He was loving, predictable, kind, generous, honest, hard-working and dependable. He loved the City of Natchitoches and all the citizens within. Whether it was a plumbing issue, a fire, an injured animal or a person with car issues, he would rescue those in distress. He was John Wayne, Andy Griffith and Matt Dillon all-in-one, a truly honorable man. Millard Rutledge was predeceased by his father, Millard F. Rutledge II; his mother, Otho Gilliam Rutledge; and his loving spouse, Noreen Bennett Rutledge. He is survived by his beloved wife of 14 years, Mozelle Cobbs Rutledge who nursed him to the very end; his sister, Sue Norsworthy and brother-in-law, Norman Norsworthy; children, Mignona Cote and husband David Rodriguez, Renee Cote, Millard Rutledge IV and wife Nancy, Lisa Cote and J. Bruce Bryant, Shawn Rutledge and wife Bonnie; his grand-children, LeeAnn Rutledge Albert and husband Phillip, Meaghan Clark, Mallory Fuller, Millard F. Rutledge V, Hayden Rutledge and Kort Rutledge: great-grandchildren, Kevin Albert and Addison Albert; and honorary grandchildren, John Bryant, Jacob Bryant and Jenna Bryant. He had many nieces and nephews including Tad Norsworthy, Alan Norsworthy, Marla McDonald and Dana Norsworthy and a very special nurturing niece, Jan Kelly Posey. Service will be at Faith Family Christian Church, 131 Sorgee Road, Thursday, July 27 at 11 a.m. with Pastor Steve Ciacco officiating. Burial will be at Fern Park Cemetery on Texas St in Natchitoches following the service. Pallbearers will be Joe Robinson, Joseph Robinson, Charles McGaskey, Derek Jones, Joe Taber, Matthew Scott, Gary Green, Shane Litton and Curtis Logan. Honorary pallbearers will be Charles LaCaze, Matt Robinson, Donald Williams, Billy Fair and members of Fire District 6. The Rutledge family wishes to thank our caregivers, helpers, pastors and friends for all of their gracious comfort, support, love and prayers over the past several months. The family is grateful to the staff members of Heart of Hospice of Alexandria who were so supportive during these final weeks. Special thanks to the entire MF Rutledge Plumbing family, Joe Bienvenu, LaSonia Phanor and Cynthia Smith. He will be sadly missed but never forgotten.