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John Julian Rheaume

January 25, 1948 ~ March 24, 2021 (age 73)


John Julian Rheaume, 73, died Wednesday, March 24,2021 at home. He was born January 25, 1948 in Rhinelander, Wis. to Phyllis Lindsay Rheaume and Raymond Joseph Rheaume.

His wife of 43 years, Katherine Ritchie (Purnell) Rheaume and sons Anton Joseph and Timothy Andrew (Natalie) Rheaume have lost a husband and father who could make up several esoteric puns before breakfast. Julian was intelligent, creative, funny, and kind, a man who talked to spiders and put fallen baby birds back in their nests. 

He came from a musical family, his parents having met in a WPA orchestra. His earliest memory was of falling off his mother’s piano bench, clutching a plaster bust of Beethoven, later his favorite composer. He possessed a keen ear, useful for his business as a piano tuner, and a fine, tenor voice. Like his father, he played the flute.

Julian loved music, nature photography, science, birds, canoe camping, space exploration, trains, cats, and humor. There was seldom an object he could not fix or a piece of furniture, often large, that he could not design from scratch and build for the family.

His loss is profound for his wife and sons, daughter in law Natalie Poveda, nieces Megan Rheaume Brand and Katie Purnell, nephews Jeff and John Purnell, brothers in law Michael Brand and Robert Ceplina, daughters in heart Jessica and Alison Simm, and grandchildren Audrina and Archer.

He was preceded in death by his parents and by his sister, Denise L. Rheaume Ceplina.

Private funeral services will be held April 10 at 11:00 a.m. at Cress with Father Andrew Jones of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church presiding. Burial of his ashes will be at a later date. The service will be live-streamed. From your Google Browser click on the following link to complete the two-step registration process:

Memorials may be made to WISPIRG and to the International Crane Foundation


Cress Funeral & Cremation Service

3610 Speedway Road  Madison

(608) 238-3434


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 Memorial Folder


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International Crane Foundation


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