Virgil "Bido" Francis Demarais

Navy Badge
  • Name: Virgil "Bido" Francis Demarais
  • Location of Birth: Bovey, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: June 17, 1918
  • Date of Death: September 4, 2010
  • Parents: Napoleon Demarais & Rebecca (Prenevost) Demarais
  • High School and Class: 1935 Greenway High School, Coleraine, Minnesota
  • College: Itasca Junior College, Coleraine, Minnesota
    1943 University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Highest Rank: RT 1 (Radio Technician 1st class Petty Officer)
  • Branch: Navy
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: 1943
  • Place Sworn In:
  • Date of Discharge: January 14, 1946
  • Place of Discharge:
  • Military Awards:

  • Military Highlights:
    WW II Draft Registration Cards – 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947
    State: Minnesota
    Name: Virgil Francis Demarais
    Race: White
    Age: 22
    Birth Date: June 17, 1918
    Birth Place: Bovey, Minnesota, USA
    Residence Place: Coleraine, Itasca, Minnesota, USA
    Registration Date: October 16, 1940
    Employer: University of Minnesota student, Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota
    Weight: 140
    Height: 5-5
    Complexion: Dark brown
    Eye Color: Brown
    Hair Color: Brown
    Other characteristic: Scar on left cheek bone
    Next of Kin: Rebecca Demarais, mother, Coleraine, Itasca, Minnesota

    Newspaper article: Itasca Iron News, Coleraine, Minnesota- 1944 – “Toad” Virgil Demarais, U.S. Navy, writes this to Mrs. Ralph Cratty, secretary of the Service Club: “This is a very tardy note on ‘Uncle’s’ paper and time to convey my profound appreciation for the pleasure of receiving The Itasca Iron News so regularly each week. It really creates a nice atmosphere for relaxation within walking time from the post office. I’m in the radio and radar school primary, at Oklahoma A. & M. college, billeted two in a room, linen furnished, and served excellent food. Our ‘barracks’ is a $750,000 men’s dorm! So, this isn’t much like the navy, or rather, not at all like the navy. I was lucky enough to see Mike O’Clock and spend a weekend with him and his family in Chicago while I was in pre-radio training. It was six or seven years since we had been together and there were not many silent moments. Again I want to thank the Service Club for the paper. Virgil (Toad) Demarais.”

    Newspaper article: Itasca Iron News, Coleraine, Minnesota - October 1945 - Virgil Demarais wrote his parents the following letter from Petropavlovsk, U.S.S.R, recently, which may interest his many friends in Coleraine: “Dear Folks, I hope you haven’t worried about me. Much has happened since my last letter to you. Your letter of August 24 came to me in Attu. Why was I in Attu? The ship went back for supplies and I was in the sack with a sprained ankle, so I went along for the trip to stay off my feet. It was a nice cruise and my mail has been the mainstay since I’ve been back. Just think – in less than one month – from Washington, D.C. to Russia for a week, back to Attu for five days, and have been in camp for about four days. What are we doing? Working like mad. We are putting up eight Quonset huts – and a central building. All the huts are going to be in a connecting pattern so that we don’t have to move outside for anything. It will be comfortable and very American. We (Tama unit) are doing all the ‘shovel’ work, so your son and brother has again found some hidden muscles! We work 12 hours with the pick and shovel and do our ‘chores’ after and before daylight, which is from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Guess we can take it for two weeks. We have 1200 feet of water line and 100 feet of sewer to dig yet. We had ice on the wash buckets today. Will be glad to get our shacks up. You can tell the papers where I am now if you want to – Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka Peninsula, Siberia (U.S.S.R.). Will you send me The Itasca Iron News? I will enjoy anything to read out here. Time for lights out! Don’t worry about me, my mail will probably only get here once a month. Write soon and often. Love to All, ‘Bid’.”

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    Virgil Demarais joined the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in 1937. He then attended IJC and then the University of Minnesota where he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1943. He served in the Navy from 1943 - 1946. He began work as a civil engineer with Northern Pacific Railroad in 1946, then with Burlington Northern in 1970 and retired in 1978 as Twin Cities Regional Engineer. He took up ham radio in the fifties which became a lifelong hobby.

    Virgil died in Lakeland, Minnesota and is buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Coleraine, Minnesota. He is survived by his twin brothers, Richard (Jane) and Robert (Pat); children, Margot, Paula (Jeff), Tom (Jane), Alice, and Joan (Paul); twelve grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Cecilia (Macho) Demarais; his parents, Rebecca and Napoleon; brother, Howard; and sister, Pauline.

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):