August 7, 1932 – July 29, 2023
Dean Michael Champeau, 90, of Sister Bay, died on Saturday, July 29, 2023 at Good Samaritan Society – Scandia Village in Sister Bay. While battling dementia and Alzheimer’s, he remained a kind and quiet man.
Dean was born August 7, 1932 in Fish Creek, the son of Victor J. and Wilhemenia “Minnie” (Kodanko)Champeau.
He grew up attending Maple Grove School and Appleport School and graduated from Gibraltar High School with the class of 1951. Dean joined the United States Coast Guard later that year, entering into active duty on November 6, 1951 and served until his honorable discharge on December 30, 1952. Dean returned home to the farm in Sister Bay. He married Eileen Petersen on June 20, 1959 at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church (now Stella Maris Parish-Baileys Harbor site). Dean worked in the shipyards at Christy Corporation in Sturgeon Bay and then Masterfreeze in Sister Bay. He then spent over 30 years working as a shipfitter in the shipyards at Peterson Builders, Inc. (PBI) in Sturgeon Bay, carpooling with many good men from the area to start work at 6:45 a.m. After “work” each day, Dean came home to take care of the farm, raising beef cattle and crops on his parents’ farm on County Road ZZ in Sister Bay.
He was a devout Catholic and was a longtime member of St. Rosalia Parish (now Stella Maris Parish-Sister Bay site) and an active member of the Knights of Columbus Our Lady of the Bays Council #4896. Through his military service, Dean was also an active member of the Billy Weiss American Legion Post 527. He was one of the original men to start Nor-Dor Lodge up in Pembine. A lover of golf, fishing, hunting, and card playing, Dean had an ability to win more than lose on his many card games around the bar at the Sister Bay Bowl. When he won, he would bring home candy bars from the Bowl which was a big treat for his kids.
Dean and Eileen were blessed with over 58 years of marriage. She preceded him in death on May 31, 2018.
Dean is survived by his five children, Jacquelynn (John) Sawyer of Egg Harbor, Perry Champeau of Sister Bay, Michael Champeau of Sister Bay, Erin (Andy) Franke of Baileys Harbor, and Ryan (Sandra McMullen) Champeau of Sister Bay; three grandchildren, Kimberly (fiancé, Nick Kornaus)Sawyer, Katie (Mark) Helscher, and Tom (Natalie) Sawyer; six great-grandchildren, Maggie, Annie, and Archie, Jack and James, and Olivia, and another great grandson due in October; sister-in-law, Joan Champeau of Sister Bay; other relatives; and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; two brothers, Jack (Arlene) Champeau and Jim Champeau; parents-in-law, William Sr. and Irma (Lohrey) Petersen; brother-in-law, William Petersen, Jr.; and other relatives.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, August 11, 2023 at Stella Maris Parish-Sister Bay site with Fr. Thomas Farrell as celebrant. Dean will be laid to rest in the church cemetery, St. Rosalia Cemetery, with military honors by the United States Coast Guard and the Bill Weiss American Legion Post 527. A luncheon will follow at the church.
Visitation for family and friends will be held at the church on Friday, August 11, 2023 from 10:00 a.m. until 10: 50 a.m.
Memorials may be made out to the Dean Champeau family and will be distributed to causes important to Dean and his care.
“We were told (Dad) was one of the favorites in the care center, and we appreciate so much the care he received from the nursing staff and Unity Hospice. Our family is grateful to all the people that took care of him for the last almost five years he spent there.”
Casperson Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Sister Bay is assisting the Champeau family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Dean may be shared with his family through his tribute page at www.caspersonfuneralhome.com.