Henri Chomeau IV, “Jerry” to all who knew and loved him, passed away July 18, 2021, at Good Samaritan Society-Scandia Village in Sister Bay at the age of 92.
He was born May 6, 1929, in St. Louis, MO, the son of Henri Chomeau III and Phyllis Tatman Chomeau. Jerry attended Rott School in St. Louis; and later, Gibraltar in Door County. While in school, he worked on a mink farm in Ephraim, the Ahnapee Railroad that connected Green Bay to Door County, and various railroads in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska in the summers. In 1950, he enlisted with the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, serving in Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong on the USS Albuquerque and USS Twining. After an honorable discharge from the Navy in 1952, he enrolled at Washington University in St. Louis, earning a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree in electrical engineering. There, he met his future wife, Mary Agnes Phillips, in the sailing club. They were married August 31, 1956, and had two sons, Henri V (1960) and James Wendel (1962.)
Early in his career, Jerry designed and installed traffic-control systems for railroads all over North America, moving often; even earning a pilot’s license to facilitate servicing the systems. He was proud of his work on the railroad, having had a passion for “riding the rails” since he was young. He was known to hop on a train just to see where it would take him, even traveling all the way to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska at the age of 14, working as a lineman and dispatcher.
In 1976, he started a new, more stationary career in Newport Beach, CA, servicing oil rigs and shipping vessels. This later evolved into a career supporting marine research crews and oceanographers in captaining and maintaining their vessels in the islands off the southern coast of California. Never idle, he maintained his U.S. Coast Guard Master/200-ton unlimited Ocean license, and earned degrees in welding, diesel mechanics, commercial hard-hat diving, and Surf-boatman classification from the U.S. Coast Guard’s lifeboat school at Cape Disappointment.
In March of 1999, after 43 years of marriage, Jerry’s dear wife, Mary, passed away; and in 2000, he suffered Decompression Sickness diving off Catalina Island, making a nearly complete recovery and retiring. Despite these hardships, his spirits always remained high, and he found joy in spending time with his family. He spent summers in Ephraim with his brothers, Bernal and Dave, and their families, and in 2013, he moved to Fish Creek fulltime with Henri V and his wife, Patty.
He always enjoyed skiing and travel, and in retirement, he enjoyed monitoring seiche and other Great Lakes’ weather phenomena, doing fancy rope work, promoting the U.S. Coast Guard Gold Medal awards, the RNLI, AFRAS, and MRI - and doting on his grandchildren.
Jerry is survived by his two sons, Henri (Patty) and Jim (Susan); his brother, Dave (Betty); six grandkids; and great-granddaughter, Lucy. He will be remembered dearly for his hearty laugh, the stories he told of his days in the Navy and on the railroad, and his never-ending optimism and love for life.
Jerry’s life will be honored will be honored with a memorial service at a later date – to be announced.
The Chomeau family thanks the staff and employees at Scandia Village for their loving care and friendship over the past few years. Donations in Jerry’s memory may be made to the Scandia Village-Employee Benefit Fund (10560 Applewood Road, Sister Bay, WI 54234).
Casperson Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Sister Bay is assisting the Chomeau family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Jerry may be shared with his family through his tribute page at www.caspersonfuneralhome.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Henri "Jerry" Chomeau IV, please visit our floral store.
Scandia Village-Employee Benefit Fund
10560 Applewood Road, Sister Bay WI 54234