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Morgan standing in a foggy field

In Memory: Napoleon Bourdeau

July 13, 2017

Napoleon Joseph Bourdeau, age 81, passed away on Saturday, July 8, 2017. He was born in Iron Mountain, Michigan, on November 10, 1935, to the late Napoleon J. and Olivina B. (McCraw) Bourdeau. He graduated from Pulaski High School, class of 1953. He enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Rangers while stationed in Europe. During his military service, he obtained a marksmanship badge and continued his love of shooting throughout his life, becoming a gunsmith in his retirement. Following his service in the U.S. Army he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and obtained a B.S. in Microbiology. While in school, he eloped with Anna M. Krause in 1960.

He worked his entire career with the State Laboratory of Hygiene in Proficiency Testing until he retired in 1997, among many dear friends and colleagues. While at the State Lab, Nap frequently consulted with the CDC on matters of national proficiency testing improvement. Napoleon was an avid outdoorsman; he looked forward to deer hunting and with the Big Horn Club on the Popple River and enjoyed time spent on Squaw Lake in Republic, Michigan. He was an expert canoeist and was famous for his ability to start a campfire in the pouring rain—with a single match. He was an active member of the Wisconsin Morgan Horse Club and bred fine Morgan Horses and Polled Hereford cattle. While serving as a director of the Wisconsin Horse Council, he helped orchestrate the Midwest Horse Fair. He obtained his private pilot's license and with a group of friends formed Aerophilic, to purchase a Mooney, which he often flew on vacations. Napoleon enjoyed rural living in the Town of West Point and looked forward to visiting with his neighbors. He particularly enjoyed morning coffee with Donny Nolden.

He is survived by his daughter, Jeanne Bourdeau-Heller (Michael Heller); siblings, Constance A. Rix and Robert F. Bourdeau; niece, Mary K. Rix; nephew, Jesse (Anna) Bourdeau; former wife, Anna Bourdeau; and other relatives and friends. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a son, Paul J. Bourdeau; and a nephew, Jerry L. Rix.

Napoleon's family would like to thank the staff of Agrace HospiceCare and All Saint's Assisted Living for their wonderful care. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund will be established. Online condolences may be made at