Surrounded by his loving family, Marcel A. Dandeneau, 85, left us here on earth, Thursday from his home.
Marcel, the eldest of six children was born in Racine on June 28, 1931, son of the late Albert and Justine (nee Breland) Dandeneau, both French Canadians.
Marcel attended St. Patrick’s grade school, St. Francis Seminary, graduating from St. Catherine’s High School in 1950. Furthering his education, he received a Bachelor’s Degree from Dominican College in 1960 and later obtaining a Master of Science in 1974.
During the Korean War he proudly served in the U.S. Army and spent 10 months on the front lines, discharged with the rank of Sgt. In 1976 Marcel was united in marriage to Shirley Leach. He was a lifelong member of St. Patrick’s Church.
At 27 he started his teaching career at Sturtevant Grade School and went on to teach at Mitchell Jr. High. Marcel taught English, History and Science. He took a leave of absence to serve in the State Legislature then returned to teaching. He then retired at age 57, but still taught full-time as a substitute teacher every day. Marcel served in the State Legislature from 1975 to 1981: two terms as a legislator and one term as Chief Clerk. He served on the Caledonia Town Board for six years in the 1970s and was re-elected as Town Chair in the 1990s.
Marcel was a very strong, faithful member of the Democratic Party for more than 50 years. He was actively involved when James Arena was Chairman and John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy came to Racine.
Marcel has many awards for his hard dedicated work over his lifetime. Democrat of the year 1991, James Arena Award, so many, it is difficult to name them all.
He served his community in different ways, including: as Director for Community Affairs, and on several boards including Kenosha Boys and Girls Club, Kenosha Chamber of Commerce, Urban League, Racine /Kenosha Hispanic Urban League, Racine Rotarians West, Racine Community Development Disabilities Service Board, Lifetime member of NAACP, Steering Committee for Carthage College, Lifelong member of the Old Timers Athletic Club, Member of the Knights of Columbus, past Grand Knight, and a member of VFW Post 10388.
He also served as public relations director for Dairyland Greyhound Park until its closing.
An avid gardener, Marcel was also a history buff and loved reading. He also had a passion for sports, bowling, traveling and socializing. He held a monthly breakfast meeting for more than 27 years for the movers and the shakers in the area. He loved and devoted his life to and treasured time with his family and always worked tirelessly for his community.
He will be sadly and early missed by Shirley, his loving wife, his children. Renee Thomas, of Racine, Jeff Dandeneau, of Racine, Linda (Charles) Huber, Melbourne, Florida, Denise (Bill) Rankin, of Janesville, Roy (Spike) (Karla) Servais of Milwaukee, Yvonne (Marc) Erdman of Racine, Sisters Lucille Hrpcek, Lorraine Caspers, Lois ( Dave) Richter, Brother Albert Dandeneau all of Racine, Sister In Law, Judi Dandeneau, Georgia, His five Grandchildren, Michael, Dan, Kate, Joel , Brian and his seven great grandchildren, Veronica, Nicholai , Austin, Taylor, Briana, Delaney , Oliver , Nieces, Nephews, other relatives and many dear friends.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother Denis Dandeneau and his grand-daughter Amy Rankin.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. February 18 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1100 Erie Street. Relatives and friends may meet with the family from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Maresh-Meredith Funeral Home, 803 Main St. and from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass at 11 a.m. Saturday at the church. In Lieu of Flowers, donations to St. Patrick’s Church, Ascension – All Saints Cancer Center, Racine Campus or Charity of your choice appreciated.
The family extends special thanks to Dr. Ryan Engel, Dr. Jay and the nursing staff at All Saints as well as Mary and staff from All Saints Home Hospice.