A daily presence at Ocean Springs' St. Alphonsus Catholic Church for decades was missed Wednesday when Fabin Ladnier, 87, died at his home next door.
Ladnier was a dynamo, always out in the community and involved in charitable organizations.
He rarely missed a morning Mass, though, until his health declined, said the Rev. Henry McInerney, who was at St. Alphonsus for 12 years until he moved to Our Lady of Fatima in Biloxi in January.
Ladnier was also a member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul for more than 50 years, and helped found its pharmacy in the 1990s. He also founded the St. Joseph's Community Meal Service and helped develop the Twelve Baskets Food Bank and The Lord Is My Help soup kitchen.
Biloxi even named a day after him in 2009. Feb. 10 was declared Fabian Joseph Ladnier Day.
"He was always very concerned about the poor," McInerney said.
Susan Wilson, one of his six daughters, said he worked as a postman for 34 years but retired as soon as possible to do charitable work.
"He would give you the shirt off his back," she said.
Theresa Pavlov, director of St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy, said he met a lot of people during his daily mail routes.
"I think Fabin probably knew every single person who lived in Biloxi and probably most of the people who lived in Ocean Springs," she said.
As active and outgoing as he was, Ladnier was not outspoken.
"He was a quiet, dynamic leader," said Gwen Gollotte, who was his friend for more than 60 years. "It doesn't go together, quiet and dynamic, but it did for him."
Gollotte's husband, Wilfred, grew up with Ladnier in Biloxi's Back Bay and the two couples would go on double dates in the '40s.
"With Fabin there was always a sense of at-ease, of comfort whenever you were with him," she said.
Pavlov worked with Ladnier for about 15 years at the pharmacy. She said his devotion to his faith and serving others is inspirational.
"I would worry and fret over things and he just didn't," she said. "He offered all those worries up and had absolute conviction that the Lord was going to provide."
Even after Hurricane Katrina, she said, he was unflappable.
"He just never hesitated," she said. "We came back together, he figured out what we needed to do and, you know, we just got down to the business of rebuilding."
Fabin and Doris Ladnier were married for more than 60 years, and lived most of that time on Washington Avenue next to St. Alphonsus. They have seven children and many more grandchildren.
Wilson said her father thoroughly enjoyed their large family get-togethers and playing with the grandkids.
He also loved salt water and would spend at least an hour in the water on trips to various beaches. She said he loved Dauphin Island, Ala., and Destin, Fla., but they had also traveled to more exotic locations such as Tahiti and Cozumel, Mexico.
"He would say if heaven doesn't look like Destin, I don't want to go," she said.