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Charles B. LeMieux

October 19, 2019
Charles B. LeMieux
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Obituary for Charles B. LeMieux

Just ask people who knew him, and they will confirm it. Especially, ask his wife, and she will tell you true. Charles was a man who lived up to his family name. Translated from the French, LeMieux means The Best.

Charles was born in Green Bay, WI, in 1928. He died in Oak Park, IL, on October 19, 2019. During those 91 years, he brought people together with an appreciation for each other and the conviction that, even in bad times, there is so much good.

Growing up during the Great Depression left Charles with two important life lessons. We get through the most difficult times when everyone works together. And, when you go outside to fetch coal for the kitchen stove, beware of the huge red-eyed rats that live in the shed.

Beginning in the 1930s in Green Bay, Charles was a member of the now legendary Doty Street Gang. The nefarious activities of these boys included their presenting of playground and backyard plays to families and neighbors. One of their more famous productions, “Zorro’s Fighting Legion,” was covered in the local newspaper. The play was critiqued in the press as a “hard riding western thriller.” Charles was an athlete at Green Bay East High School. He excelled in football and held state track and field records during his teenage years. These athletic feats were often reported in the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Charles was an American Patriot who bravely served our country. During the WWII era and immediately afterwards, he was first deployed to China and then to Guam. He was one of the Very Few, the Very Proud, the China Marines. He was seriously wounded multiple times in combat in China. In war-torn Guam, Charles and his Marine company of engineers specialized in bridge building. These last two words are a perfect description of how Charles would live the rest of his life.

While in China, Charles discovered that he had a facility for learning languages. After his return home from military service, he decided that the best antidote for the horrors of war would be a study of the world’s beauty. He earned degrees at St. Norbert College and the University of Wisconsin. He began 40 years as a teacher of Spanish, English and history. Charles also coached track and directed student theatrical productions. In the Chicago area, he taught at Oak Park River Forest High School in Oak Park and at Morton East High School in Cicero.

Charles and his wife were married for over 50 years. They worked as a team to prepare school materials.

Always going far beyond the basic curriculum, Charles would enrich his classes with art, singing, dance, literature and through cultural and creative projects. They traveled extensively and made their own documentary films, which Charles presented to his classes. Charles had a beautiful voice and was always singing or humming as he worked. And he was fun. He enjoyed puzzles, riddles and magic tricks and offered them in various languages to his students.

After Charles retired from teaching, he and his wife continued to travel, lecture, publish and organize historical and cultural conferences in the U.S. and Spain. They were digitizing their film and musical projects with the hope of making them available online. Charles was the ultimate people person. He made enduring friendships across three continents. Wherever Charles traveled, he was one of our country’s great goodwill ambassadors.

As time passed, the pain from Charles’s war wounds became more and more severe. During the last 5 years of his life, Charles received extensive medical care at home. Just as they had done with their school work, Charles and his wife worked as a dedicated team to learn medical procedures. Their enormous advantage was their abiding love and devotion to each other.

To the end of his life, Charles found ways to reach out and help others. The wife will carry forward Charles’s legacy of bringing people together.

Charles is survived by his wife, Kathleen, by his brother, Alan, and by a large extended family. Funeral services were held. A Memorial in his name will be announced. Donations can be made to the following GoFundMe campaign: gf.me/u/ydaiuj

To plant a tree in memory of Charles B. LeMieux, visit the Tribute Store.

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