Fleur called Frederick Place home for 52 days during the Spring of 2017. She made a lasting impression on those who got to know her during that relatively short amount of time. Below is her official obituary which was published in the Northwoods River News on March 26, 2019.
Fleur Kathryn Levesque, 55 of Rhinelander, went home to the loving arms of God on March 16, 2019. She was born on Aug. 19, 1963 in Springfield, N.J.
Fleur moved to Wisconsin with her family in 1979 and graduated from DePere High School in 1981. After high school she studied art at UW-Stevens Point. In 1984 she moved with her family to Rhinelander; there, Fleur earned her associate degree in hospitality management from Nicolet College and worked in the food industry as an executive chef, bartender, banquet server, and eventually as the owner of Fleur's South 17 Supper Club.
In her free time, she enjoyed watercolor painting, reading (one of her favorite authors was Stephen King), watching movies, cooking and shopping. She loved the water and especially enjoyed spending time at the beach.
She is survived by her sister, Kristen Crump (Jim) of Muskego and their two children, Casper and William; her maternal aunt, Janet (Ed) Knorr of Mount Pleasant, S.C.; and, many dear cousins and extended family members.
Fleur was preceded in death by her parents, Alvan and Carol Levesque.
As a tribute to Fleur for those who only knew her during her dark days, I would like to share something Tammy Dye wrote about her one-time friend, as well as my connection to this amazing lady who had no clue how unique, wonderful, and beautiful she truly was.
In 1993 I was privileged to meet a special lady. Her name was Fleur and she was the food service director at the camp I worked at that summer. I came to know this sweet, caring woman that saw to it that all the campers were fed and accepted anyone she encountered. After that summer I lost contact with Fleur and ran into her again in 2001 when my husband went to work for her at her restaurant in Rhinelander. She was well-loved and an exceptional cook. Fleur could make the most delicious bleu cheese dressing and I will always remember this of her. Unfortunately, she had a problem with alcohol that all too soon consumed her. It was years later while I was working at Frederick Place that I once again ran into her. The years and alcohol had taken their toll on her, but underneath it all she was still the sweet, loving woman I had spent a memorable summer and became friends with. While she was at Frederick Place, I brought pictures from that summer to share with her. She remembered me. My heart went out to her. We had a few special conversations, but it also saddened me to see what alcohol had done to my friend. I pray now that she is finally at peace. RIP my friend ~ Tammy Dye
Fleur was a proud woman, but had just been evicted. She had nowhere else to go and not enough money to find another place on her own. By the time she came to us, her alcoholic shenanigans had pushed almost everyone who cared about her away. She was in poor physical shape and unnaturally skinny. Her once ruddy skin was a pasty white, and her bright red hair was dull and had no shine to it all. Fleur was not at all the woman I remembered meeting so many years ago when she owned her own restaurant.
The restaurant, located on Boyce Drive, had been called
since the 1940s. When Fleur purchased it, she staked her claim on it and it became
Fleur’s South 17.
My parents were frequent patrons. They loved the food, but raved about the owner who frequently bartended and had won their hearts. I was living in the Madison area at the time but did make the journey home at least once a month. It was on one of those weekends that I met Fleur for the first time. As soon as I stepped into this small restaurant with a horseshoe shaped bar, I immediately knew why my parents loved the atmosphere Fleur had created by her mere presence and infectious laugh. I didn’t even have to be introduced for Fleur knew all about me thanks to dear old mom and dad. The food was fantastic, but I raved about the owner.
Fleur’s South 17
became our go to place for dining every weekend I ventured north. I cherish those memories of non stop laughter while Fleur entertained from behind the bar.
Once Fleur was settled in at Frederick Place, I approached her and shared that I had met her several times when she owned the restaurant. I didn’t have to tell her my parents’ names because she loudly proclaimed that I just had to be Jim and Judy’s daughter because I looked just like my mom. We laughed as we reminisced about my dad’s stupid jokes and my mom’s frequent eye rolls.
I began to see glimpses of the old Fleur as she became accustomed to her surroundings and started letting down her walls. She began to put on makeup and style her beautiful red hair the way I remembered. The infectious laugh I remembered returned as did her sense of humor. I wish her story had a happy ending, but it does not. Fleur had one of her longest stretches of sobriety while she lived at Frederick Place. She drank the day she moved out, and her life soon spiraled out of control. She made multiple trips to the hospital for detox and was in the ICU more than once. I believe Fleur decided she was a hopeless case long before she entered our lives. When an alcoholic’s evil twin continues to whisper, “you’re hopeless,” “you don’t deserve sobriety,” and “why bother?” it is next to impossible to remain in recovery. Fleur had a strong faith, but that too became nonexistent. It was as if she decided her disease had won, so she raised the white flag before beginning the battle. Fleur continued to feed her disease for two long years before passing away in a Wausau ICU unaware of her surroundings.
When Fleur left Frederick Place, she gave me a beautiful Serenity Prayer plaque. I hung it up right by the door I go out of every single day. It serves as both a reminder of the good times we shared and a warning that, but for the grace of God go I, should I quit doing what I need to do to remain in recovery and never have to wave that white flag. When Fleur left her Earthly form, we decided to pay tribute to her by keeping one of the books she left here in our bookshelf. I chose one titled
The Joy of Pickling,
because I knew it is the one Fleur would have picked. I can envision her holding the book up and, being the eternal smart ass she is, exclaim it was a book all about her enjoying the pickling process until she was pickled. A tad morbid but I know Fleur would think it was a hoot. I know I would.
The Rolling Stones were to Fleur what Springsteen is to me. There was a Stones’ song for anything Fleur could feel. I’m willing to bet the lyrics from
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
were the ones she sang to herself most often. The song that has been entering my mind since Fleur’s passing is
Time is on My Side.
Because it wasn’t. RIP Beautiful Lady. I wish you could have seen yourself through my eyes, and I hope you’re getting just what you need in Heaven.