Senator Felix Hebert, present representative of his State in the United States Senate, has been a prominent figure in Rhode Island life for many years. He was born at St. Guillaume, in the Province of Quebec, Canada, on December 11, 1874, a son of Edouard and Catherine (Vandale) Hebert. His parents, who were both natives of Canada, came to Rhode Island in childhood, and on returning to Canada for a visit in the interest of the mother’s health, their son was born there. Edouard Hebert was the son of a prosperous farmer in the Province of Quebec, and was engaged in agricultural pursuits before he came to the United States at the age of fifteen. After the arrival of the Hebert family at Coventry, Rhode Island, he worked for a time in the local mills and then became a custom bootmaker. Eventually he owned his own boot and shoe business at Anthony, in the town of Coventry. In 1870 he became one of the founders of St. Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic Church in that community, serving as a member of its board of trustees for thirty years. He and his wife were the parents of thirteen children.
Felix Hebert, of this record, received his preliminary education in the public schools of Coventry and at the parish school of the Church of St. John Baptiste, West Warwick. Subsequently he attended La Salle Academy at Providence, from which he was graduated in 1893. At this time he began his active career, securing employment as a stenographer in the freight office of the New York and New England Railroad Company, and within three years advancing to the position of chief billing clerk. For an equal period, he served as secretary to the late General Charles R. Brayton, after which he received an appointment as clerk in the office of the State Treasurer, Walter A. Read, where he remained for one year. At the end of this time, in 1899, Senator Hebert was appointed deputy insurance commissioner of the State of Rhode Island, holding this responsible post continuously until 1917. During a period of eighteen years he performed with a high degree of efficiency all the duties of his office, and also found occasion to begin and complete the study of law, being admitted to practice at the Rhode Island bar in 1907. Judge Hebert specialized in insurance law, of which he gained an unusually broad knowledge during his years of service with the State Insurance Department, and in which his opinions have long been regarded as authoritative. He did not limit himself solely to this phase of the law, however, and in 1909, by reason of his recognized qualifications, he was chosen judge of the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District. He served on the bench until 1929, a period of twenty years, adding to his already considerable reputation by his effective and impartial administration of the duties of his high office. Finally, in 1928, as the candidate of the Republican party, he was elected to the United States Senate for a term of six years, entering now upon his third year in the chief legislative body of the Nation.
Senator Hebert served as a member of the Republican State Committee for a number of years. He worships in the Roman Catholic faith and is a member of the parish of St. Jean Baptiste at Arctic Center, of which his father was one of the founders. In addition, Senator Hebert is a member of various societies and clubs, including the Catholic Club and the Turk’s Head Club of Providence, the Flat River Club, the Pomham Club, the Union St. Jean Baptiste, and the Franco American Foresters. He is a director of the Old Colony Cooperative Bank at Providence.
On September 18, 1900, Felix Hebert married Virginie M. Provost, daughter of Octave and Virginie (Deslauriers) Provost, of Ware, Massachusetts. They are the parents of four children: 1. Catherine Virginia, who was educated in the public schools of the town of West Warwick and the Sacred Heart Academy, Fall River, Pembroke College in Brown University, and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. 2. Adrien Warner, educated in the public schools of West Warwick, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire; Technical High School, Providence; Brown University, and Boston University School of Law. 3. Marguerite Rosalie, educated in the public schools of West Warwick; Sacred Heart Academy, Fall River; Elmhurst Academy, Providence, and Classical High School, Providence. 4. Edouard Felix, educated in West Warwick public schools; Classical High School, Providence; Amherst College, and now a senior in Georgetown University, Washington, D. C.