Carl Bleau IHS 1932

Carl Bleau

1932 Alumnus

Ilion Centenarian and Distinguished Alumnus

Happy 100th Birthday to Carl Bleau

August 16, 2014
By Aileen Carney Sweeney
August 2014

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Carl Bleau

Born - August 16, 1914

Carl Bleau was born, August 16, 1914 in Ilion, NY, the son of the Lewis B. and Bessie A. Bleau. His father, Louis Bleau Jr., was born, in 1886, the son of Louis and Winifred Roach Bleau. Louis Bleau Jr. had one older brother, George Henry Bleau. Carl's mother was born May 8, 1883, in Waterville, daughter Of William and Amelia Suters.

Carl's parents married on a Saturday evening, at St. Bernard's parochial residence, in Waterville NY. They were united in marriage by Rev. D. Joseph Bustin in November 1908. Louis Bleau Jr. was a bookkeeper with Smith-Premier typewriter works in Syracuse.

By 1909, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Bleau Jr. moved to Ilion and made their home at 7 Charles St. The Bleau family would grow to 8 children, five boys and three girls.

Carl began his education at Ilion's West Hill Elementary School. In 1920, he was recognized as an Honor Student in the West Hill second grade.

Remington Rand Factory

Remington Rand Factory
Image courtesy of Terry Sweeney - Postcard Collection

 

A sorrowful loss struck the Bleau family when Louis Bleau Jr. died, in 1928, at the young age of 42. On the precipice of The Great Depression, Bessie Bleau was widowed. She still had four young children who had not yet graduated from high school. By June 30, 1932, five of the eight Bleau children had graduated from high school; William '26, Ardel IHS '28, Dorothy '29, Louis (Lewis) '31, and Carl '32. Raymond 'Pete' and Kenneth would graduate together in 1936. Betty would graduate in 1941. Mrs. Bessie Bleau's ability to persevere and do a great job of raising her children, under such hardship, was evident by the successes of her children who would go on to college and successful careers and family lives.

Mrs. Bessie A. Bleau, age 75, of 7 Charles St., Ilion, died Dec. 6, 1958, in Herkimer Hospital, after a long illness. She had lived most of her life in Ilion where she was a member of the First Presbyterian Church. She was buried in Armory Hill Cemetery next to her husband.

 

Bleau Family Tennis and Golf Athletes

Tennis Anyone?

The Bleau family was well known for its athleticism. The boys participated in tennis, football, basketball, track, and were swimming and diving champions. They dominated the local tennis scene as officers and members of the Ilion Tennis Club.

Many newspapers published articles, in the 1930s, that featured the Bleau brothers as tennis champions.

Tennis Final Scheduled at Club in Ilion
Utica NY Observer - 1934 August 19
C. Rutherford and J. Garlock will meet L. Bleau and C. Bleau in the finals of the doubles tournament at Ilion Tennis Club this afternoon. In the other semi-finals, one family had it all to themselves and it was long-drawn out and hard fought. Finally L. and C. Bleau won in five sets from W. and P. Bleau. C. Bleau displayed strong forehand drives, while P. Bleau, Junior champion excelled in all-round play for the losers.

(*note full names are - William Bleau, Louis Bleau, Raymond 'Pete' Bleau and Carl Bleau)

Utica NY Observer 1937

Utica Daily Press
August 1, 1937

"Springing the surprise of the current tennis season Raymond Bleau, one of the family of athletes, captured the Ilion Tennis Club trophy a-week ago today by defeating his brother, Louis, in five thrilling sets. Lou had previously beaten the defending champion, Frank Kennell, in the quarterfinals. Carl Bleau reached the semi-finals and Bill Bleau went out in the qualifying rounds. His three brothers are pretending to congratulate the new champion who holds the trophy. Actually, they are laying plans to take it away from him next year. They will have the help of a fifth brother, Kenneth, forced out of this year's tourney by a diving accident." - Utica NY Observer - 1937 August 1

In 1937, the ultimate winner of the annual tennis tournament was Raymond 'Pete' Bleau. Four Bleau brothers all reached the semi-finals. "Hardest match was the final between Louis and Raymond Bleau the former losing after having been made the favorite." Raymond 'Pete' Bleau defeated his brother Louis in five thrilling sets.

 

Utica NY Observer 1938

Utica Daily Press
August 27, 1938

Four Famous Bleau Brothers

On the tennis circuit, in a 1938 Utica Observer article, they were referred to as the four famous Bleau brothers.

"Only three of the four famous Bleau brothers will be in this year's tourney. Bill Bleau, last season's semi-finalist is not playing. The quartet is broken for the first time after playing together for several seasons."

Louis, Raymond 'Pete' and Carl played in the tournament which was held in Russell Park.

Tennis was not the only sport Carl played in the summer of 1938. He also participated in the seventh annual golf tournament at the Ilion Golf Course (aka Dotys Golf Course).

 

More Bleau Athletic Accomplishments

In 1929, Carl and his brother Louis played basketball, on the Presbyterian team, in the Church Y.M.C.A. Basketball League race.

In 1931, Carl Bleau played halfback, under Coach Bemis, for the Ilion High School football team. A big Armistice Day benefit football game was held between Ilion and Mohawk at Russell Park. The proceeds from the benefit were equally divided between the welfare funds of Mohawk and Ilion. The game was held, after all, during The Great Depression. Bleau and Donovan, had received injuries in the previous Herkimer game were not expected to play in the big game against Mohawk.

In March 1931, "among the stars" that returned to the Ilion Track Team were Ronald Farington, William Mackin, William Edwards, Carl Bleau, Louis Bleau, Fred Davis, and Willard Blauvelt. They were led by Coach Lamont Burnham. Carl received a varsity letter, in track, during the last senior assembly for the Class of 1932, held in June 1932.

Kenneth Bleau graduated from Ilion High School in 1936 and was active in football and basketball. He was also an outstanding swimmer and diver. He studied physical education at the University of Alabama and was diving champion while there. He trained with the ski troops in the Air Force.

Kenneth Bleau was also a member of the 1935 Golden Bombers football team that finished the season with a 9-0 record and outscored opponents 202-20. Team members included Arthur Barnum, Kenneth Bleau, James Bowers, Sam Bubb, Frank Campbell, Jack Caswell, Richard Daily, James Foreman, Ted Leonard, Robert Long, John Mackin, Joseph Manion, John Morris and Konstantine 'Gus' Panarites. See Full Team Image

Ilion 1935 Football Team

 

Ilion Girls 1928 Basketball Team

Athletic Bleau Sisters

The Bleau family sisters were athletic competitors as well. Dorothy and Ardel Bleau played basketball, together, on the 1928 Ilion Girls Basketball Team.

Ardel (Bleau) Lockyer was a member of the IHS Class of 1928 and Dorothy (Bleau) Finnegan was a member of the class of 1929.

Betty (Bleau) Seymour graduated from Ilion High School in 1941 and was an active cheerleader and tennis player.

 

Swimming and Diving Bleaus

In 1930, Carl Bleau won third place in the boys' aged 13-18 swimming event at the Ilion Municipal Pool. Many more years of swimming and diving awards would follow. Dorothy Bleau won second place in the girls 18 and over, one length final, category.

Boy and Girl Divide Honors in Ilion's First Swim Meet
The Utica Observer Dispatch - 1930 August 10
Three hundred people first witnessed the first water carnival yesterday ever to be stage in Ilion since the origin of the municipal swimming pool. ...Boy 13 to 18, one length, first: Donald White, second: Carl Bleau, third: Philo Baker.

In 1935, Carl Bleau coached the Ilion Penguins Swimming Club at the international water carnival held in Ogdensburg. Members of Carl's unbeaten Ilion girls relay team were Dorothy Jones, Winnie Davis, Beatrice McGowan, and Janet McGowan. Ken Bleau and Burt Courage were also members of the club. They were accompanied on the trip by Carl Bleau, coach; Tommy Donovan, manager; George Finnegan and Dorothy Bleau, chaperons. (note - Dorothy Bleau would later become Mrs. George Finnegan)

Cedar Lake Golf Club
Cedar Lake Golf Club
Image courtesy of
Shirley (Burns) Momberger Tippett White IHS '46

 

Cedar Lake Diving Platform
Cedar Lake Diving Platform
Image courtesy of
Shirley (Burns) Momberger Tippett White IHS '46

Carl and his brother, Kenny, were known for the difficult dives they performed from the raft's third-tier diving board at the Cedar Lake Golf Club.

Kenneth Bleau won the diving event in the 1934 Ilion water carnival. Kenneth was the first person to have his name inscribed on the new diving trophy.

The Utica Daily Press carried two stories, in the August 20 1934 edition, that featured four of the five Bleau brothers. "Bleaus Defeated in Tennis Finals" and "Bleau to Have Name on Diving Trophy"

 

Carl Bleau Graduated from Ilion High School in 1932

Carl Bleau 1932 Yearbook Senior Portrait
Carl Bleau 1932 Yearbook Senior Portrait
Image courtesy of
Mike Disotelle at the Ilion Public Library

 

Ilion Mirror 1932

"All the world's a stage"
William Shakespeare's As You Like It

The theater bug hit Carl at a young age. He appeared and sang in the annual Ilion Juvenile Minstrels with a cast of 90 other performers. The show was presented to benefit Ilion's unemployed.

Carl starred in plays presented by the junior and senior classes at Ilion High School. He was a member of the cast "Billy", a comedy that was presented in May 1931.

As a senior in the fall of 1931, he appeared in "The Passing of Chow Chow" with Dorothy Fitzgibbons, Arthur Ross, Helen Sullivan, Dorothy Wheelock and Girls' Quartet.

The Dramatic Club presented a group of four original one-act plays. Professor Swarthout wrote one of the plays and the students in the dramatic class wrote the other three plays. Carl Bleau was a member of the cast of Professor Swarthout's play, "The Fool's Prayer". The play also featured performers Everett Gibbons, Oscar Patterson, Ronald Ward, Helen Kenealy, Francis Maurry, Martha Caswell, Eleanor Walrath, William Hart, William Mackin and Edward Manion.

 

The Ilion Little Theatre Club, founded in 1924 and located in the "Stables" behind Remington Arms, was home to Carl's post-high school thespian career.

He was chairman for the annual Christmas dinner dance that was held, in the Palmer House, in December 1944. Each year the club elected a slate of officers.

In 1945, Carl was assigned to the committee, 'Stage, major productions' along with Mr.and Mrs. Arnold Catenhusen, chairs; Mr. and Mrs. Hewes, Rowland Hicks, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Best, and Mrs. Merwin Williams.

Ilion Little Theater Club Cornerstone
Image courtesy of
Ron Clive '70

 

College Calls Carl Bleau

St. Lawrence University
St. Lawrence University Gridiron Yearbook
Image courtesy of New York Heritage digital collections

Carl attended St Lawrence University, in the fall of 1934, where he was a member of the freshman football team.

"Carl Bleau is a fine blocking and running back whose efforts have resulted in many touchdowns."

St. Lawrence University

 

Pete and Kenny Bleau
IHS Class of 1936

Raymond 'Pete' and Kenny Bleau IHS 1936

While Carl attended college, his younger brothers, Pete and Kenny, continued their studies at Ilion High School. They graduated with the Class of 1936.

Kenneth Bleau was the 1936 recipient of Ilion's Lever Cup. The awarding of The Lever Cup goes back to 1924 when Harold 'Boots' Lever presented the cup, February 3, 1924, as a tribute to William Hempstead - Class of 1916, and William Schletterer, former students in the High School, who lost their lives in World War I.

This was a sad foreshadowing for Kenneth Bleau.

LT. KENNETH BLEAU DIES IN FRANCE AUGUST 1ST 1944.

"He had participated in the Normandy campaign since its inception, having been one of a trio who killed 100 Germans on D-Day while following a commander who had said that to stay on the beach was to be killed, so why not fight and be off the beach. The lieutenant lost most of his men in that advance, but the group pushed on into Colleville, some 3,000 yards, and he and 12 others were still there the next day grimly holding a courtyard when reinforcements arrived: A presidential citation was awarded for the action."

Waterville Times - 1944 Aug. 24

 

WWII - Tennis Club Temporarily Closes With Only 4 Member Left at Home

Carl and his brothers continued competing in sports activities after graduation. He placed 13th in the Mohawk Valley Ski Club's slalom event in 1940. Carl and Kenneth Bleau were members of The Mohawk Valley Ski Club and represented the club in competitions held at Pixley Falls State Park.

By September 1944, World War II had taken its toll on the Ilion Tennis Club. Three of the club members gave their lives in service; Lt. Kenneth Bleau, Sgt. Ralph Baum and Sgt. M. Hale Sterling.

Louis Bleau was honorably discharged from the service and was the only service member back. Raymond (Pete) Bleau, who was the Tennis Club champion at the time of entering service, was still in the service.

Other club members still in the service were Thomas Donovan, Haswell P. Brayton, Richard Brayton, Dewey Young, Louis Watson, William Winston, Charles Travis, Jack McGuinnes, Lee Wells, Donald Hammond, Albert Schneider, John Fitzgibbons, Donald Parkington, James Foreman, Bob Little, Robert Runge, Walter Weeks, Louis Merritt, Harry Seymour, H. M. Dexter, Dr. Paul Frank, and Frank Kennell and Thomas Bennett. Club member Leo Powers was chairman of Local Board 409, Selective Service Board.

 

The Bleau Family - Siblings - Marriages, Careers and Family History

William Suters Bleau IHS 1926

1936 - William Suters Bleau, the eldest Bleau sibling, married in 1936. William wed Lura Mae Harris, from Herkimer, at the home of her parents on Saturday, September 5, 1936. The bride was a member of Herkimer High School graduating class of 1934. She attended Syracuse University and was an interior decorator for H. G. Munger Department Store in Herkimer, NY. William attended New York University. He was employed by the Remington Rand Company, Ilion, when he married. His family lived in Herkimer and later in Mohawk, NY. He was an assembler in Remington Rand for 11 years before being employed by H. G. Munger Company. At Mungers, he was a buyer for the furniture and floor covering departments. William Bleau died, at home on August 12, 1962, after a long illness. He was 53 years old. At the time of his death, he left two children, a daughter, Mrs. Charles (Cynthia) Kaples, Inglewood, Ca. and son David, of 3 South Richfield Street, Mohawk NY.

1926 William Suters Bleau
1926 William Suters Bleau

William did not live long enough to see his son become a star athlete at Mohawk High School and Cortland State College. William had a great influence on Dave's athletic career. In a March 27, 1964 Utica Observer newspaper article, David said of his father, "My dad encouraged me to take part in sports. He could always find time to play with me, like throwing a football around or playing baseball."

In 1964, The St. Louis Hawks and the New York Knicks of the NBA expressed an interest in Dave Bleau after he completed "...a sensational basketball career at the State University College at Cortland." He broke most of the individual records at the college. In 1968, Mohawk Coach Hess said, "Davey could do it all... He could shoot, was a tremendous ball handler and a rugged rebounder. He was the best all-around player I've ever had." Dave Bleau earned his master's degree in physical education. He was employed as physical education teacher and varsity basketball coach at Mont Pleasant high school. David wed Penny-Lee Pink in September 1966.


1928 Ardel Bleau Lockyer
1928 Ardel Bleau Lockyer

Ardel Bleau Lockyer IHS 1928

1940 - Miss Ardel K. Bleau, and Thomas Lockyer, Jr. were united in marriage Saturday afternoon, at 3 o'clock Feb 3, 1940. The groom was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Lockyer of Broadalbin. They were wed at the home of the bride's mother in Ilion. The attendants were Mrs. George (Dorothy) Finnegan, sister of the bride, and Carl Bleau, her brother. Ardel Bleau graduated from Nathan Littauer hospital with the class of 1934. Miss Elsie Lockyer and Miss Ardel Bleau were employed as nurses in the Saratoga City Hospital in 1939. The Lockyers later made their home in Denver and Littleton, Colorado.


Dorothy Bleau Finnegan IHS 1929

1936 - Miss Dorothy Bleau, married George T. Finnegan, son of Mrs. Julia Finnegan, West North Street, on a Friday afternoon on June 28, 1936. The ceremony was performed at the parochial residence by the Rev. Charles Smith, assistant pastor of Church of the Annunciation. Miss Ardel Bleau attended her sister and John Finnegan, brother of the bridegroom, was best man. The bride was a graduate of Ilion High School and was employed at the Remington Typewriter plant. The bridegroom was also a graduate of Ilion High School, and Cortland Normal School, where he took the physical education course. He was employed as a director of physical education in Constableville. The Finnegans later made their home in Massena, NY.

1929 Dorothy Bleau Finnegan
1929 Dorothy Bleau Finnegan

1931 Louis Bleau
1931 Louis Bleau

Louis Bleau IHS 1932

1939 - Louis Bleau married Miss Elisabeth H. White, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred A. White, 81 South Fifth Ave., Ilion on August 5, 1939. The ceremony was performed at the rectory of the Church of the Annunciation by the Rev. James A. Nolan. Carl Bleau, brother of the bridegroom, was the best man. A wedding reception was held at the Herkimer Prospect Hotel. The couple made their home in Herkimer and Ilion after marrying. In the 1950s, they lived in Beverly, Mass.


Raymond (Peter) Bleau IHS 1936

1942 - Raymond (Peter) Bleau and Miss Mildred Anhel, of Herkimer, were married on June 25th, 1942. The ceremony took place in St. Mary's Ukrainian church at Herkimer, with the Rev. Fr. John J. Shnurer officiating. The bride, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Anhel of Herkimer, graduated from Herkimer High school and Oneonta Normal School. She had taken postgraduate work in Michigan University. She was a Cooperstown High school second grade teacher. The bridegroom was graduated from Ilion High school and had been an employee of Remington Rand. Peter Bleau entered the service in August 1942. They later made their home in Mohawk, NY. Pete was employed in the publication department at Sperry Rand-Univac in Ilion for 30 years. He was later employed by the Remington Arms Co., retiring in 1982. Their son Paul was born September 1946, at St. Elizabeth's hospital, in Utica. Paul and his wife, Donna made their home in Colorado. Raymond and Mildred were also parents to a daughter, Mary. Their daughter, Mary Donna Bleau, married Stephen Seifritz of Syracuse. In 1995, Peter Bleau was the recipient of the Herkimer County Office of the Aging Advisory Council - Senior Citizen of the Year Award. Raymond (Peter) Bleau died on May 1, 2005. Mildred 'Millie' Anhel Bleau died February 3, 2010 in Herkimer.

Raymond (Peter) Bleauu
1936 Raymond (Peter) Bleau

1936 Kenneth Bleau
1936 Kenneth Bleau

Kenneth Bleau IHS 1936

1943 - Lt. Kenneth Bleau married Mary Jane Space, of Clinton, in Utica on April 17, 1943. The marriage took place just prior to his departure for the service. Miss Space made her home with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Space, Clinton. Lt. Kenneth Bleau was killed in action August 1, 1944 in Normandy. A War Department telegram was sent to his wife, Mary Jane Space Bleau, informing her of his death.


Betty Bleau Seymour IHS 1941

1943 - Betty Bleau married Harry Seymour, of Ilion, in 1943 She accompanied her husband to Hamilton College and to Syracuse University where they collaborated to earn him AB, MA and Doctoral degrees. They raised eight children in McLean, VA before retiring to Spring Valley, CA.. Betty died January 3, 2013 following a lengthy illness.

1941 Betty Bleau Seymour
1941 Betty Bleau Seymour

 

1936 Vivian Caygill Wright
1936 Vivian Caygill Wright

Carl Bleau - Best Man

1942 - Vivian Caygill, an Ilion High School guidance counselor, married Leonard Wright on New Year's Day, 1942. The ceremony was candlelight service at St. Augustine's Church, Ilion. Carl Bleau, an IHS 1932 classmate of the groom, was best man.

 

Carl Bleau - Marriage and Friends

1940 - Carl Bleau and Miss Mary Anhel, of Herkimer, were married in the spring of 1940. Mary Anhel was the daughter of Alexander 'Oleksa' and Anastasi Anhel of Herkimer. Carl and Mary made their first home in Ilion but later moved to Mohawk, NY.

Carl and Mary Bleau named their son Kenneth Anhel Bleau. In 1964, Kenneth Bleau, Mohawk, was offered an appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy. Kenneth graduated from the University of Hawaii with a B.S. in business administration. Kenneth Bleau married Elizabeth Voyce in Hawaii on May 29, 1974.

Carl and Mary Bleau's second son, Peter Bleau, attended Union College. In 1966, Peter Bleau, married Mary Caren Lee Hobson. The young couple began a career as teachers. Peter taught in Holland Patent and South Lewis. Peter coached at South Lewis and was a junior high school English teacher. Peter and Mary Bleau's son and Carl and Mary's grandson, Kevin Bleau, was named Valedictorian of the Adirondack Central School Class of 1988. Carl played in golf tournaments with his grandson, Kevin.

Carl's brother also married one of the Anhel sisters. Raymond 'Pete' Bleau married Mildred Anhel in 1943. Pete and Millie would also raise their family, at 22 Devendorf Street, in Mohawk.

 

Bleaus - Cedar Lake

Golf Outing - Mary Bleau
Golf Outing at Nick Stoners

The Mutchers, L. Nehir, Mary Bleau, Paul and Shirley Momberger

Image courtesy of
Shirley (Burns) Momberger Tippett White IHS '46
Photograph taken by Carl

Cedar Lake became the summer stomping grounds for the Bleau family. Carl and Mary enjoyed playing in golf tournaments. In 1964, Carl was elected vice president of the Cedar Lake Twilight Golf League at the group's annual dinner.

His son, Peter carried, on the Bleau Tennis game. Peter was "...one of two lads who qualified to play in the 1953 Mohawk Valley Tennis Tournament." Carl's son, Kenneth, won the junior championship of Cedar Lake Club for players 14 years or under. In August 1986, Carl's grandson, Kevin Bleau of Cedar Lake Golf Course, was named the best golfer of the completed Mohawk Valley Junior Golf Tour. Kevin was age 15 at the time.

 

Career - Civic Life

During the 1940s, like his brothers, Carl worked for the Remington Rand Co. in Ilion NY.

Martin Reel 1 Martin Reel 1

Starting in the 1950s, Carl Bleau was employed by the Martin Reel Company in Mohawk, New York. The company was the first to manufacture automatic fishing reels. Carl was superintendent for Martin Automatix Reel Company for many, many years.

Carl served on The Wellar Library Board grounds committee.

 

Retirement - Golfing


The Evening Telegram featured Carl's 98th birthday party held at Doty's Golf Course in Ilion, NY.

Carl resided at Forge Hill Estates, Ilion NY.

He still golfed at age 100.

HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY Mr. Carl Bleau !!!

Sadly, Carl Bleau passed away on Sunday, August 17, one day after his 100th birthday. (Modified August 26, 2014)

Carl Bleau August 2012

References Cited

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August 16, 2014
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