Curt Eysink, who led the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) under Governor Bobby Jindal from 2009 to 2016 died Friday, April 28th, after suffering a stroke. Eysink, who had no known history of serious health problems, was driving to New Orleans last Monday when he suddenly fell unconscious. Eysink spent last week in intensive care at Our Lady of the Lake after being revived by paramedics, but ultimately passed away surrounded by family and friends.
Patrick Robinson, who worked under Eysink as Director of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA) until Governor John Bel Edwards’ administration took over in 2016, said that Eysink’s loss would be felt in many ways.
“Louisiana is a better place because of Curt Eysink,” Robinson said. “He had an uncanny ability to inspire a diverse group towards a common goal. Curt believed in Louisiana and he instilled that belief in his colleagues. He saw the potential in people. ‘We put people to work’ was not agency rhetoric to him, it was a moral obligation and a mission.”
Robinson added that Eysink was just as successful in his personal life. “It was an honor to work for him, but a greater privilege to count him as a friend,” Robinson explained. “I last saw him at my daughter’s wedding just a few weeks ago, laughing with a table full of people who were strangers five minutes earlier.”
According to an obituary published last week in The Advocate, Eysink was a native of South Africa and lived around the world as the family followed his father’s job in the petroleum industry. Eysink moved to New Orleans when he was 15 and studied at LSU, graduating in 1986 with a degree in journalism. He worked for the Advocate for years, in addition to other communications jobs, before joining the Workforce Commission. After leading the Workforce Commission, Eysink oversaw workforce policy for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.
Wayne Fontana, a veteran attorney in the Louisiana workers’ comp system, echoed Robinson’s admiration. “Curt was a public servant in the truest sense of the term, and he was a true believer in the agency’s mission to provide proper training for Louisiana citizens and to marry those citizens and their skills with meaningful, well-paying jobs,” Fontana said. “Tens of thousands of Louisianans can thank Curt Eysink not only for his global economic development contributions but also for their jobs and employment opportunities. We lost a good one,” he added.
Troy Prevot, Executive Vice President of LCTA Workers’ Comp and another friend and colleague of Eysink, said simply: “The loss of this man will be felt by many for a very long time. It was privilege to serve under his administration and call him a close friend. Rest in peace!”
Eysink is survived by his wife, Dianne Nodier Eysink; three children, Samantha, Maxwell and Adelaide, parents Ute and Billy Eysink; brothers Paul and Konrad, as well as many nephews and nieces.
Image Credit: The Advocate