Dr. Charles Gurneau

Charles "Jackie" Gurneau was born on the Red Cliff Indian Reservation. Bayfield, WI. His parents’ names are Joseph Gurnoe and Lucille Beauliex (She took on her Uncles last name (who lived in Neopit) because he is the one who raised her. Her last name was Gardner.) Dr. Gurneau lived in Bayfield until the age of five. His Father died, and then moved with his Mother to Neopit for a year, then moved to Milwaukee, WI where he currently resides today.

Dr. Gurneau graduated from West Division High School in Milwaukee, WI. He then attended the Milwaukee teachers College for two and a half years before the Second World War. After the war he attended Marquette for a year and graduated from Michigan State, Phi Kappa Phi (that means he was the top 3% of his class) receiving his degree in Veterinary Medicine.

He married his Wife Virginia. Together they had 6 children David, Danny, Diane, Phillip, Peter and Ann. They are Grandparents to 11 wonderful grandchildren.

Dr. Gurneau enjoys golfing with his wife in the summer months, and in the winter he enjoys reading and sketching. He says that he kind of regrets that he did not pursue a career in art. However Dr. Gurneau looks forward to pursuing art as a hobby, or getting some kind of artistic training. Sketching is a form of relaxation for him.

One of the greatest accomplishments that Dr. Gurneau is proud of is the fact that he is the first Native American Veterinarian in the United States. He has been a vet for 55 years. He will be closing his office permanently in November 2005. Dr. Gurneau started his clinic in Milwaukee. He is very proud of his family and speaks highly of his children and their accomplishments. He States, "I have lived a full and prosperous life".

He has traveled very little here in the States. Florida twice, as well as Pittsburg and St. Louis. He and his wife enjoy vacationing in Door Co. Wisconsin.

First Lieutenant Charles Gurneau (or "Chief" to most who knew him) served his country proudly, flying 35 missions in the 8th Air Force as a bombardier over France and Germany . He received two Bronze Stars and an Air Medal with five Clusters.

Dr. Gurneau says to the youth, "Education! You have to get some kind of education or training. This enables one to obtain employment (in the field you enjoy), and keep it!" He goes on to say, "This something that no one can take away from you! No matter what happens in life, you will always be secure if you prepare now through education and training."

He recalls his (Nelson Gardner) Grandfather’s advice given to him as a small boy. "I remember on Saturday afternoon, the boys came over and wanted to get together for a game of baseball, but his Grandfather said, "No!" So the young Doctor went to the fields to do whatever it was he had to do and he remembered feeling bad about his Grandfather not letting him play. His Grandfather later approached him and said, "I just want to teach you a lesson. You have to learn to do something, to work. You can’t play all the time! This is a little education, you should learn how to do something, and not busy yourself with play." Dr. Gurneau says, "As young as I was, I learned the lesson that he gave me, and I applied it to my life. I didn’t feel bad about this advice, this was important to me because he was the only father figure that I had, my Father dying when I was five. It was also significant because I was able to work with the farm animals, and so started my love of them."

Dr. Gurneau has very fond memories of the Reservation. He spent his summers helping his Grandfather on the farm in Morgan Siding. His specialty being the chicken coop! His Grandfather always told him he kept the best chicken coop. Dr. Gurneau recalls feeling very proud of that!

He remembers once he attended school a few months at a schoolhouse in Morgan Siding. One day he was in class and there was this ram standing in front of the school’s doors. This beast would not let a soul through! Then the teacher yells out, "Who does this ram belong too?" This kid says, "Me," so the kid goes to grab for this ram and ends up rolling and wrestling around with him until finally the teacher said, "You gotta get this thing outta here!!" Finally! The kid got control of the beast and we were able to get out of class. "At the time, it seemed really funny to me," Dr. Gurneau said.

Dr. Gurneau remembers as a kid he used to run and hide in the old barn stoves when it came time for him to go home to Milwaukee. He really enjoyed being on the Rez, and experiencing one of two great cultures that he belongs to. He plans to pay a visit again soon.