Dr. Julius "Jules" Frances Xavier Gendron

Army Badge
  • Name: Dr. Julius "Jules" Frances Xavier Gendron
  • Location of Birth: St. Francis, Quebec, Canada
  • Date of Birth: March 31, 1868
  • Date of Death: September 11, 1947 (79 years old)
  • Parents:
  • High School and Class:
  • College:
  • Highest Rank: CAPT (Captain)
  • Branch: Army
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: August 12, 1918 (Enlistment Date)
  • Place Sworn In:
  • Date of Discharge: January 28, 1919
  • Place of Discharge:
  • Military Awards:

  • Military Highlights:
    In World War I, he was a captain in the Medical Corps of the United States Army.

  • Wars Involved:
    World War I

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    Information from Grand Rapids Herald Review, September 18, 1947:

    Jules F. Gendron, Doctor and Poet, Resident in Grand Rapids 43 years, Buried on Monday.
    Dr. Jules F. Gendron, physician and surgeon here since 1904 and active to the day of his death, was buried Monday in Calvary Cemetery. The requiem service was in St. Joseph's Catholic Church by the Reverend Thomas Hennebry. The choir sang and, at the conclusion of the service, Allen J. Doran sang "Face to Face."
    The genial doctor died at his home at noon Thursday. In World War I, he was a captain in the Medical Corps of the United States Army. He maintained membership in the American Legion. Veterans of War II of the Legion maintained an armed guard at the bier at the Miller Funeral Home until Sunday afternoon, and at the residence Sunday evening.
    The Legion accorded military honors at the church and cemetery. Pallbearers, in uniform, were Edward Shannon, James Sullivan, William Walter, William Binet, John Crowe and Edward Threinen. The escort and firing squad consisted of 18 men in War II uniforms, and were chosen from the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps.
    Many friends and acquaintances attended the service in final tribute to the man who not only had been an agreeable, pleasant and useful citizen to Grand Rapids for 43 years but who rose to distinction as a poet in the French language, and attained recognition as poet laureate of Canada though he had become a citizen of the United States.
    Born in St. Francis, province of Quebec, Canada, March 31, 1868, Jules Gendron, son of an attorney, applied himself diligently in his studies to graduate from the college of law of Laval University, Montreal, in 1891. During his first 11 years Jules Gendron lived with his English-born grandmother, Edna Elizabeth Dominy, whom he later characterized as "a very pretty woman, and accomplished in music and art." She spoke French very correctly and fluently and taught him that language. He lived there because, when he was born, his father was a law student and the grandmother wished to relieve the young parents of the task of rearing the youngster while the father still was in college.
    Jules was eleven years old when the grandmother died and he returned to his family quite a stranger to his brothers and sisters. The family eventually grew up to ten children.
    When Jules Gendron came to Minnesota, following his graduation in Montreal, he was intent on practicing law. In his "Memoirs of a Country Doctor", completed in 1940 and one his few English compositions, he said, "a very good French linguist, I was a poor one in English, and found it as hard to be understood by the Americans as it was for me to understand them."
    Letters of introduction made the young Canadian acquainted with a number of persons of French lineage, some of whom had attained prominence. They prevailed upon him, because of his speech, to abandon the idea of law and take up the study of medicine, and to learn to speak English while so studying. The "Memoirs" tell the interesting story of his decision to change his course of life, his teaching of French at night to earn his way, the selling of poetry to French language publications, the enjoyment of his associations in his college life, as well as the difficulties and disappointments encountered.
    In 1896 Jules Gendron graduated from the medical school of Hamline University. He first practiced in Centerville, Minnesota, later in Crookston and came to Grand Rapids in 1904. While at Crookston he made the acquaintance of Miss Emma Julie Peltier, a teacher at Gentilly. She became Mrs. Gendron.
    Last Thursday Dr. Gendron (his physical strength had been waning several weeks) went upstairs to rest on a cot an hour before noon. Mrs. Gendron came to him with a cup of broth, to discover him dead. They have one son, Bertrand Gendron, a pharmacist at Brainerd.
    Much of the French-Canadian poetry by Dr. Gendron was published during his early years in Minnesota. It was after he had established his medical practice and the returns therefrom were providing adequately for the support of the household that he turned his poetic ability to the production of two masterpieces. One was the epic, La Legende del Chevaliers d'Oil, heralded as the first epic in French since the day of Voltaire. The other is LaLaurentiade, a story of the siege of Quebec.
    Dr. Gendron was a member of the Society of Canadian Poets and attended numerous functions in Canadian cities because of his interest in the field of literature. In 1935 he participated in a Canadian contest in which 32 poets submitted compositions. Dr. Gendron was granted highest honors. He received a plaque from the honorable E. L. Patenaude, then lieutenant governor of the Province of Quebec, and an accompanying diploma as poet laureate.
    In his life in Grand Rapids, Dr. Gendron was interested in the community's welfare. He was a member of the library board a number of years. In recent years he was city health officer. He held memberships in the various medical groups. When the Minnesota State Medical Association held its 1947 meeting in Duluth, Dr. Gendron was one of a dozen doctors in active practice in the state to receive the 50-year button, an award given to those who had completed 50 years of practice in Minnesota.
    Of the father's family of ten children, one brother and three sisters survive. Two nephews of Dr. Gendron have gained prominence in the medical profession in Quebec, and one nephew is a priest.
    Persons who came to attend the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand Gendron and their three children of Brainerd; Mr. and Mrs. O. J. Peltier, Mr. and Mrs. M. J. St. Aubins, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Trepanier, all of Crookston; and Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Jensen of River Falls, Wisconsin. The latter is a niece of Dr. Gendron, a daughter of a brother who came to Wisconsin when Jules Gendron came to Minnesota. Mr. Peltier is a brother, and Mrs. St. Aubins and Mrs. Trepanier are sisters of Mrs. Gendron.

    Jules is buried in Itasca Calvary Cemetery at Grand Rapids, Minnesota. (Plot C-B-26-3-0)

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