Cover photo for Joe Chevalier's Obituary
Joe Chevalier Profile Photo
1936 Joe 2021

Joe Chevalier

April 13, 1936 — June 1, 2021

Joseph (Joe) Ellis Chevalier was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, teacher, mentor and friend. He passed away peacefully on June 1, 2021, at the age of 85, following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Joseph was born into a loving, nurturing family in Natchitoches, Louisiana. His mother, Mary Louise (Chevalier) Roque preceded him in death, as did his Great-Grandparents, Louis Grover Chevalier and Melezine (Roque) Chevalier, who played significant roles in his upbringing. His Aunt Rosalie (Rosie)(Chevalier) Sarpy, his Uncle Louis James (Jimmy) Chevalier and his cousin Marie Grace (Chevalier) Moran were also key to his day-to-day life during his early years. Joseph’s Uncle Jimmy and Cousin Gracie were like a brother and sister to him. Joseph was an excellent student and had a passion for learning. When given the chance to pursue an exceptional opportunity for his high school education Joseph left home and travelled to Bay St. Louis, MS., to attend the Roman Catholic St. Augustine Seminary, which was the first in the country established to train young men of color to be priests and brothers. While receiving the education he desired Joseph also met several young men who would become his lifelong friends and brothers. While he was in the Seminary Joseph returned home during the summers spending quality time with family and friends. One of these friends was Ernest Llorens, who eventually became his brother-in-law. On occasion Joseph would not find Ernest at home, but he still hung around and spent time playing with some of Ernest’s younger siblings and doing magic tricks for them. During one of his summers at home, Joe was re-introduced to Ernest’s sister, Dorena Catherine Llorens, on a double date with mutual friends. This was the beginning of a new chapter of his life. After graduating from the Seminary in 1954, Joseph enlisted in the United States Air Force. In 1957 after spending 2 years in Japan, Joe returned to the States and proposed to Dorena, the love of his life, while he was stationed in Amarillo, TX. They began their glorious 62 plus years of married life together on August 23, 1958. Following their marriage Joe and Doe moved to Baton Rouge, LA, where they both continued their college educations at Southern University. Joseph pursued a bachelor’s degree in French. The following year their union was blessed with the arrival of their daughter, Lynne Marie. Upon his graduation Joseph’s quest to further enhance his education led him to accept a Fulbright Scholarship which allowed him the opportunity to study in France for a year where he attended the University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France. Joseph was also awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship that would allow him to continue to graduate school to pursue his French studies. He chose to attend the University of Wisconsin- Madison. In August of 1962, the young family travelled to Madison, Wisconsin, which took them 1,000 miles away from home. Fortunately, Dorena’s oldest brother, James A. Llorens and his wife Rosa (Sylvie) Llorens and their growing family lived in Chicago, which was only 150 miles away, so Joe, Doe and Lynne were able to visit with them often. Once Joseph attained his master’s degree, he was hired for his first position as a French teacher at Rockford College in Rockford, IL. The family stayed there for two years at which time Joe was offered a position with the University of Wisconsin’s Center System. He would accept the position which was for the Marathon County Campus (UWMC) in Wausau, Wisconsin. In 1966 Joe, Dorena and Lynne settled in the area that would become their home for more than 30 years. During the time that they lived in Wausau, in addition to annual trips back to Louisiana to visit, the family also welcomed numerous family members from Louisiana and Chicago to their home in Wausau. They also hosted numerous French visitors over the years, some of whom assisted Joe with teaching, others who were musicians or actors with groups Joe brought to the Campus to perform, and a number who were a part of an exchange program with French elementary schools. In the late 1970’s Joe and Doe purchased property on a lake in northern Wisconsin, “Little Bearskin”. They bought a “kit” for a log cottage which they built with the help of friends and neighbors who had building experience over a period of about2 years. The cottage became a much-loved gathering place for Joe, Doe and Lynne along with friends, family and co-workers. Eventually Lynne got married and gave birth to 2 amazing, cherished, and loved children, Vanessa and Alex. Joseph and Dorena’s family was now complete with the addition of their wonderful grandchildren. Initially Joe was “Papa”, but over time the kids settled on “Grandpa”. Many happy family occasions were spent both at the house in Wausau as well as at the Cottage. Joe was an inspiring teacher, and a number of his students became close family friends who have remained in contact with he and Dorena throughout the years. Over the course of his 30 years at UWMC Joe took on numerous responsibilities and served on various committees. For many years Joe also served as the head of the French and Spanish Department for the entire University of Wisconsin Center System. Following a rich, full career Joseph retired from UWMC in 1996. After his retirement, Joe, being a dedicated Francophile, continued to contribute to the advancement of the French language and culture. He acted as an agent for a variety of French entertainers who came to the United States to perform at high schools and colleges across the country. Around the beginning of the new century Joe and Doe initiated their plan to return home to Natchitoches. They bought their home on White Oak Lane in 2001. For about 6 years they lived most of the year in Natchitoches but traveled to Wisconsin for the summers where they continued to enjoy spending time at their cottage with friends and family. Eventually they decided it was time to sell the cottage, particularly since Lynne and her husband, Ralph, had moved to Massachusetts to be closer to his mother and other family members. Although taking this step was not an easy one, Joe carried a multitude of wonderful memories of all the enjoyable times spent with family and friends on “Little Bearskin”. Those of us blessed with the opportunity to share these special times with him will continue to hold the memories dear and close to our hearts. Joseph is preceded by his mother and step-father, Mary Louise (Chevalier) Roque and Collins F. Roque; his great-grand-parents, Louis and Melezine (Roque) Chevalier; his uncle, Louis James Chevalier; his aunt, Rosalie (Chevalier) Sarpy and her late husband Luke Sarpy. When he married Dorena Joseph became a beloved part of her large family. On Dorena’s side Joe is also preceded by a sister-in-law, Mary Pearl (Llorens) Listach and four brothers-in-law, James Llorens, Nora Listach, Louis Llorens and Sydney Llorens. Joseph is survived by his wife, Dorena (Llorens) Chevalier; his daughter Lynne Marie Chevalier-Ray and his son-in-law, Ralph Chevalier-Ray. Joseph was blessed with two amazing grandchildren, Vanessa Gribowski and Alexander (Alex) Gribowski. He is also survived by five sisters-in-law, Patricia (Llorens) Taylor, Sadie (Raymond) Metoyer, Rosa (James) Llorens, Carolyn (Louis) Llorens and Ann (Sidney) Llorens and one brother-in law, Ernest (Barbara) Llorens. In addition numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. Joe will be lovingly remembered by all who knew him as a kind, compassionate, upright, devoted, fun-loving, inspirational and loving individual. He was known as Joseph, Joe, Daddy, Pem, Papa, Grandpa, Mr. Chevalier, Uncle Joe and “Donald Duck” to his immediate family, as well as a host of cousins, nieces and nephews, friends, co-workers and students. He will be missed by many. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 12, 2021 at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Natchitoches Louisiana. Visitation will start at 9:00 am and will be followed by a rosary recitation at 10:30 am and a funeral mass at 11:00 am. Father John O’Brien will officiate.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, June 12, 2021

9:00 - 10:30 am (Central time)

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church

911 5th St, Natchitoches, LA 71457

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Rosary

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church

911 5th St, Natchitoches, LA 71457

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church

911 5th St, Natchitoches, LA 71457

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