Robert Joseph ‘Frenchie’ Cheeney of St. Croix Falls, Wis., formerly of North Branch, died Dec. 31, 2012, at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. He was born Feb. 22, 1934 in Bottineau, N.D. to Wilfred and Philomene Theresa (Guimond) Cheeney. He was the third of seven children.
He was raised on the wind-swept plains of North Dakota, attended country school in Bottineau County. He was transported to school by a horse-drawn cart hand made by his father. He moved with his family by car and train to Minnesota in their great adventure of 1948. Bob graduated from North Branch High School in 1952. He joined the Navy and got his basic training at Great Lakes.
He met Catherine (Katie) Favorite and they married in the summer of 1956. They were stationed at several bases including San Diego, Oceana, Va. And Sicily. They were the proud parents of four sons: Rory, born in 1957, Robert, born in 1959, Robin, born in 1960 and Randy, born in 1961. While serving in the Navy he worked in air traffic control; it was his second favorite job, the first was being a dad. His other employment included exterminator, factory worker, chef, mess cook in the National Guard, tree trimmer-working with his father several years in the North Branch area, and the non-salaried job of full-time tease and general agitator.
Everyone he cared for was the recipient of his teasing…all done with a twinkle in his blue eyes and a smile on his lips.
In San Diego, he married Hazel Steinsick, and with her children, Frank, Rodney and Tina, they moved to Minnesota. They shared life together. Later, he married Judy Gustafson. Her children—Chris, Jeff, Valerie, Chad and Angela and grandchildren— became a big part of his life. He missed them when he was no longer involved in their lives.
He was a long time member of St. Gregory’s church in North Branch and later St. Joseph’s church in Taylors Falls; he belonged to the Forest Lake chapter of the Knights of Columbus.
Bob loved fishing, playing pool, hunting, fishing, outdoors, birds, novels by Louis L’Amour, everything Naval and nature, Catholic Christian faith, his sons, grandchildren and ice fishing.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother August of Ely. He is survived by sons Rory, of Utah; Robert, of Wash., Robin and Randy and grandsons, of Calif. and siblings David (Virginia) of Tenn.; Rose Harris, of Fla.; Lorna Schad, of Minn., Wil, of Ariz.; and Elaine (Jerry) Boucher, of Wis. He is also survived by many nieces, especially Amy, Mary Colette, Marie and Jacquie; nephews, cousins and friends. He was a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend. Much loved ornery old fart!
A Mass of Christian Burial, is scheduled Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, 11 a.m. Visitation starts at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Taylors Falls. Private interment. Memorials can be sent to Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, Ohio. 45250 or Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, 102 E. Crex Ave., Grantsburg, WI 54840, or donors’ choice.