Stephen Oats, 63, a Lafayette attorney who served as the township’s assistant attorney, died at his home on Tuesday.
Oats was a founding partner of the law firm Oats and Marino and a past President of the University of Louisiana of the Lafayette Alumni Association. He received his law degree from Tulane University School of Law in 1983 and his undergraduate degree from UL.
“His dedication to the University of Louisiana athletics – baseball in particular – was evident,” his obituary said. “At home games, Steve could be seen in the seating area near the first base with a group of friends and other fans cheering for his Ragin Cajuns.”
Township attorney Greg Logan said on Wednesday, “He was a dedicated husband to his wife Sylvia and a dedicated member of the Lafayette and ULL communities. We will miss his presence and contributions.”
Pat Magee von Lafayette, director of the Attorney General’s Criminal Division, described Oats as a friend and mentor to him and his wife Robin who had once worked for Oats.
“He’s probably taken me under his wing politically more than legally,” Magee said.
Hafer had extensive legal knowledge as his practice did not focus on one type of litigation.
“His legal knowledge was extremely extensive,” said Magee.
The two attorneys were defending the university in a lawsuit alleging former UL chief football coach Jerry Baldwin that he was fired in 2001 for being black. The university argued it was because of his 6-27 record.
“It was really a pleasure to watch him at work,” Magee said during the final trial. “He put me on hold because the subject of racing was so deeply rooted in this process. I just found him excited about the hard discussions about racing and perceptions, especially when dealing with this process.”
An appeals court ruled in favor of the university in October, and the state Supreme Court dismissed Baldwin’s appeal.
The funeral services will take place on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. during a Christian burial mass in the cathedral of the Catholic Church of St. John the Evangelist in Lafayette. The inurnition will be in St. John Cemetery. The downtown funeral home Martin and Castille is responsible for the organization.