About this blog

As the author of this blog, Karen L Garner Martin Messick, I am the daughter of an American soldier, Wilbur (Bill) C. Garner, Sr. and Women's Royal English Navy service woman (British Wren) Gwendoline Rosa Wilkins, who met and married during World War II. They lived and loved for over 50 years before Mother passed in 2000. When she did I helped Dad with every day chores when I could. One day I was helping him clear things out and I lifted a plastic bag out of the seat of Mom's piano stool, asking Dad, "Whats in this bag?" to which he replied, "Just some of Mary's old letters." Mary, his older sister, was still alive at the time, residing in an assisted living facility, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. I put the letters back in the piano seat thinking he did not want me to open the letters.
When Dad passed two years later, I inherited Mary's letters.
When I began to read them, I found they were mostly letters from Dad to Mary while he was in World War II ("The War"). I could not put them down. I wished I had opened them the day I first saw them so that Dad and I could have had conversations about them, but that was not to be...so as I read through these "Letters to Mary" I began to get a glimpse into Dad's young years when he met Mom and his time as a soldier. I have researched events during World War II to enhance my understanding of what was happening in the war as each letter came to broaden my understanding of what he might have been experiencing. I knew he landed on the beaches of Normandy, France D-Day plus 1 as he recounted his memory of that day to me when he was dying from Leukemia. It was horrifying. There were also letters from a companion Mary had met while in Minneapolis, he had been deployed overseas. I have entwined them chronologically with Dad's letters as it gives a greater dimension to the war itself. I intend to editorialize as necessary to explain personal relationships and situations as the story unfolds through the "Letters to Mary." I welcome any questions, comments and feedback. As the "Greatest Generation" fades away, I felt compelled to share these letters and story in hopes of continuing the legacy they left for the world. Let us never forget the untold years and lives that were sacrificed for freedom!
If you have stumbled upon this blog I have added a blog archive at the bottom of the blog page. Continue to scroll down to access the Blog Archive. The posts are chronologically listed and to follow the story it is best to start with the first post in December 2013.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Henri C Romieux's life after "The War" ~ 25 April 1945 - 8 March 1980

From the 1922 Zenith yearbook, Central High School, Duluth, Minnesota
Henri C Romieux, was born 23 January, 1904 Superior, Wisconsin, the last of three children. His father, Julien taught high school French and Spanish. Julien immigrated to the US  leaving from Bordeaux, France on 1 May 1889.  He became a naturalized citizen 6 Aug 1898. 
His mother, Delphine was born in Quebec, Canada.  Delphine and Julien were married 21 July 1890 in Saint-Felix-De-Kingsey, Quebec, Canada.

Henri enlisted in the Navy on 20 December 1941 when he was 37 years old.  He was released honorably from service on 26 September 1945 at the age of 42, five months after he wrote his last  "Letter to Mary." 
He returned to Minnesota after the war and was employed by Cargill, Inc in their Cargo Carriers Division.
Henri was abducted in 1957 as reported in The Austin Daily Herald, and The Tuscon Daily Citizen. The article below must have been syndicated as it appeared in several remote states papers with slightly different versions.
Herve John Romieux and his brother on the right Henri C Romieux

14 Nov. 1957 – The Austin Daily Herald   “Pair Hunted in North Dakota”  Mill City man tells of kidnapping.  Dickenson, ND
North Dakota lawmen today hunted for two men a Minneapolis businessman said kidnapped and took him on a wild, three state ride.  Henri Romieux, 54, assistant secretary of Cargo Carriers, a Cargill, Inc. subsidiary walked into the Dickenson police station Wednesday and nervously told a story that began after he left a movie in downtown Minneapolis Tuesday night.  Forced into car Romieux said his abductors, one about 23 and the other about 40, forced him into his 1957 model car, then drove west to Willmar, MN.  There, he said, they took $ 20.00 from him and used some of it to buy gasoline.  Romieux said the nighttime ride took them over some highways, some side roads and at speeds occasionally over 100 mph.  Phoned home when they reached Bowdley, SD Wednesday morning.  Romieux said abductors became rough and threatening.
The Tuscon Daily Citizen Reported the account on 14 November as follows:
Gunmen Kidnap Insurance Man - DICKINSON, N. D.
A Minneapolis businessman said today he believed two men who kidnapped him at gunpoint and dumped him near here were bent on robbery and car theft. Henry C. Romieux, 55, insurance manager of Cargill Elevators in Minneapolis, said the abductors jabbed a gun in his ribs Tuesday night when he emerged from a Minneapolis theater and got into his car. They drove an erratic course westward across three states at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour at times and freed him yesterday afternoon when the car ran out of gasoline east of Sentine' Butte, N.D. Romieux described the gunmen as about 25 and 40 years old. He said they robbed him of about $20 all the cash he had with him, but generally treated him well. At one point yesterday, Romieux said, the soft-spoken abductors stopped at a service station in Bowdle, S.D., so he could telephone a nurse in Minneapolis who cares for his aged mother to assure her he was all right. The abduction of Romieux, a bachelor, was not discovered until he walked into police headquarters at Dickinson late yesterday and related his harrowing experience. Authorities at first investigated, the possibility that one of the abductors might have been wanted for killing two policemen in North Carolina. However, a description of the killer sent police here did not match either of the two kidnapers. Romieux said the two men demanded all his money and used the $20 he turned over to them to buy gasoline. He said he believed the gunmen wanted only his car to flee the Minneapolis area and his money. After freeing him, Romieux said, the men thumbed a ride in a car leading east and left him standing on the highway. 

Henri was one of three brothers:

Charles J. Romieux  Born 1897, the first of Henri's brothers passed away in 1957
Charles was a Sales Manager for American Cyanamid Co., Plastics and Resins Division.  He was a member of Harvard Class of 1919.  He has several US patents for plastic technology.  He lived in quite a few places in the US:  Elizabeth Union, NJ; Scarsdale, NY, Rochester, NY; and Philadelphia.  He also traveled to many foreign locations.  
In fact, he died in Brussels, Belgium in a hotel of a heart attack. 
Charles was buried 17 April 1957, age 60, in Holy Sepulchre  Cemetary, Rochester, NY
Herve John Romieux (aka Harry)Born 4 October 1900, the second of Henri's brothers passed away in 1967 
He attended the State Normal School, Duluth was in his third year 1910-1911. He served in WWI.
Died: 1967, Amhurst, VA (Monroe Co.) Buried: Holy Cross Cemetery, Lynchburg, VA His relatives migrated to NC.

Henri's Mother, Delphine B. Prince Romieux, passed away on 29 of October 1958 in Hennepin County, Minnesota at the age of 86.

Henri's Father,  Julien M. Romieux, passed away on 29 Mar. 1937 in St. Louis County, Minnesota, at the age of 73.
Henri's passing was the last of the three children born to Julien and Delphine Romieux. 
He passed away at the age of 76 on 8 March 1980 in Ramsey County, Minnesota and was buried in the Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, Minnesota. 
Henri died a bachelor.  
Henri had no children. 
Henri never married Mary.

*A substantial amount of the information in this blog post on Henri C Romieux and the Romieux family was researched as I was posting the "Letters to Mary" blogs and provided by my sister Carol Ann Garner Clements.

Carol's research led her to contact Marilyn, a daughter of Herve John Romieux. Marilyn shared with Carol a few memories of her Uncle Henry. 

Marilyn, now 80,  wrote in an e-mail dated February 24, 2014.........
"It is good to think of my dear uncle ..........

Herve John Romieux and his brother on the right Henri C Romieux
Images courtesy of Joesph K Freeman (grand nephew of Henri C Romieux)
Henri never married.  When my grandmother (Delphine Romieux) could no longer take care of herself, he maintained a home for them in Minneapolis until her death.  It was during this time that his abduction took place. Henri was a darling.  He was always upbeat and visited our family in Virginia annually during his later years.  We all loved him.  I have five children and they remember him well, especially the youngest.  Before retirement, Henri worked for Cargill and I think he was in the insurance end of things."  


  1. Thank you for this information. This blog about Henri Romieux, is my grandfather's brother. My grandfather is Charles Romieux who died in 1957, I never had the opportunity to meet my grandfather. I have been searching for Romieux family members.

    1. Lauren, You are most welcome and I am so glad it could help you in some way!