MARINETTE — Deacon Jerome E. Thetreau, 86, the oldest active deacon in the Green Bay Diocese, passed away from cancer on Friday, March 4, 2022. He died at home with his family by his side.
Deacon Thetreau was born on Feb. 17, 1936, in Marinette to the late Paul and Rose (Rebarchik) Thetreau. He graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes High School in 1954 and the Wisconsin School of Plumbing in 1963. On May 7, 1960, Jerome married Clarice Cornell at St. Anthony Church in Marinette. He worked as a licensed journeyman plumber for Scheiner Plumbing, Modern Plumbing and Peninsula Piping of Menominee, Mich., for 41 years.
Deacon Thetreau graduated from the Cardinal Stritch diaconal studies program on May 31, 1986, and was ordained a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Green Bay at St Agnes Church in Green Bay on Sept. 13, 1986. He served Holy Family Parish in Marinette for 35 years. As a deacon, he presided at baptisms and weddings. He enjoyed serving the elderly with Communion services in nursing homes, Communion to the homebound, funerals and wake services and responding to the needs of others.
Deacon Thetreau initiated the Communion to the Homebound Program in 1980 and started Holy Family’s Perpetual Adoration Chapel. He facilitated the Engaged Encounter program and served on the Holy Family Parish RCIA Team, both for over 20 years. He was a longtime usher, served on liturgy and spiritual committees, parish pastoral council, and taught religious education and Bible studies. He used his plumbing skills to perform countless plumbing and heating projects for the parish.
Deacon Thetreau was a 25-plus year member of the Marinette Knights of Columbus Council 719, where he had served as the chaplain and is a Gold Star Award-winning past Grand Knight. He was known for leading the KC bingo fundraiser, establishing the no-smoking policy there, and oversaw the state bowling tournament in Marinette for the first time in 46 years.
The son of a military veteran, Deacon Thetreau served in the Army National Guard for six years. He also inspired two children and two grandchildren to serve. He served as a Boy Scout leader and Rescue Squad volunteer for 10 years, was assistant chaplain at Bay Area Medical Center and a BAMC auxiliary volunteer and former member of the Holy Name Society and St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Deacon Thetreau is survived by his wife Clarice of 61 years; children, Mary (Jackson) Case of Stevens Point, Paul Thetreau of Catalina Island, Calif., Rebecca (John) Stepniak of Marinette, Chris Thetreau of Green Bay, Jean Thetreau of Menominee, Sara Thetreau of Marinette and Philip (Mary) Thetreau of Midwest City, Okla; a sister, Irene (Thomas) Whatley, of Bryan, Texas; 11 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by an infant son Jerome Edward, a brother Jesuit Fr. Paul Thetreau, and a sister, Sr. Mary Paul Thetreau, OSF.
Visitation will be held at Holy Family Parish-Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Taylor Street, Friday, March 11, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. A wake service will be held at 7 p.m. with Deacon Dave Denby officiating. Visitation will continue at the church on Saturday, March 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. with Fr. Celestine ByeKwaso officiating.
A celebration of life luncheon will be provided by the family following the Mass at Lourdes Social Center. Burial will be in Forest Home Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, PO Box 563 Marinette, WI 54143.