Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 17, 1891
Place of BirthRat Portage (Kenora), Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
ForceAmerican Expeditionary Forces
BranchSoldier Biographies
Date of EnlistmentJune 25, 1918
Age at Enlistment27
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 19, 1981
Age at Death89
Buried AtForest Hill Cemetery, International Falls, Minnesota, USA
PlotBlock 8 Lot 8

Vellieux, Joseph

Joseph Andre Vellieux was born on 17 October 1891 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario, date confirmed by his baptism record. His father Louis Vellieux was from Quebec while his mother Alphonsine Cyr was from Manitoba, the couple marrying on 27 August 1887 in Rat Portage. Over the years the spelling of the surname varied, usually as Vellieux or Veillieux. A short time after Joseph’s birth the family moved to the Pinewood area near Fort Frances to farm. Other children born to the family were Charles (1893), Catherine (1896), Marie Delima (1898), Marie Velanda (1899), Joseph Louis (1902), Marie Alphonsine (1905), and Arthur (1908). Sadly it appears that Marie Delima had died by the time of the 1901 census, and baby Alphonsine died in 1906 .

At some point Joseph moved across the border to International Falls. According to a Department of Veterans Affairs file, Joseph served in the US Army from 25 June 1918 to 22 July 1919. His obituary gave his service as with the  85th Cavalry division. No other details are known.

Joseph’s brother Charles had enlisted in March of 1916 in Fort Frances. Discharged that June as a deserter, while working in Skibo, Minnesota he later signed a US Draft Registration card in June of 1917. It is not known if he served. Joseph’s brother Edmund was called up for service in January of 1918. With the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment, once in England he was transferred to the 78th Battalion. He returned to Canada in June of 1919.

On 24 November 1924, in International Falls, Joseph married Frances Almira Brunette. Born in 1898 in Flandreau, South Dakota, Frances was the daughter of Alexander Brunette and Lucy Adelia Bebo. By the time of the 1920 US census her family had been living in International Falls where Alexander was working as a janitor in a school.

Over the years Joseph first worked as a lumber piler in a lumber yard and then later as a fifth hand on the paper machines for the Minnesota and Ontario Pulp and Paper Company, remaining in the machine room until his retirement on 31 August 1963. Joseph and Frances gave birth to six children, Robert (1925-2000), Ronald (1927-2007), Gloria (1929-2008), Doris (1930-2014), Thomas (1933-2013), and Mary Lou (abt 1938). Joseph signed his WW2 Draft registration card on 27 April 1942 in International Falls, giving his date of birth as 17 October 1895 in Kenora. He was a member of the St Thomas Catholic Church, William Robbideau Post American Legion, and the World War 1 Border Barracks.

Joseph died on 19 May 1981 at his home on 9th Avenue in International Falls. At the time of his death he was survived by his children and their families, and siblings Edmund of Fort Frances, Velanda (Otto) Norland, and Arthur of Thunder Bay. He was also survived by 22 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. Joseph was predeceased by wife Frances (1979), his mother (1933) and his father (1941), both interred in the Fort Frances Cemetery, and his siblings Louis (1948, Fort Frances), Charles (likely in 1950 in Pinewood), and Catherine (Alexander) Christofferson (1971, Middlebro, Manitoba). Edmund later died in 1982 in Fort Frances, Arthur in 1982 in Thunder Bay, and Velanda likely in 1999 in Sarnia, Ontario. Joseph and Frances are interred in the Forest Hill Cemetery in International Falls.

By Judy Stockham

Vellieux-Joseph-2 Vellieux-Joseph-5 Vellieux-Joseph-3

Obituary provided by Diane Adams, International Falls Public Library

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