This touching tribute appeared on 4/1/17 in the CT Post with many quotes from his son, Fairfield First Selectman, Mike Tetreau:
Coach Fern Tetreau “Lived An Amazing Life”
By Chris Elsberry Published 10:30 am, Saturday, April 1, 2017
FAIRFIELD - He coached basketball and football at Roger Ludlowe. He coached football and track at Andrew Warde. He was a gym teacher, who taught the art of free throwing shooting the old-fashioned way, underhanded.
World War II took him away to the South Pacific to fly bombing missions in 1941, before heading to Springfield College after the war to play tailback in the single-wing formation, getting his degree in 1948.
He was voted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004 and in 2006, had the football field at Warde co-named in his honor.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Ferdinand “Fern” Tetreau was a heck of a man.
“He was an amazing guy,” said his son and Fairfield first selectman Michael Tetreau. “He lived an amazing life.”
Tetreau passed away Thursday at the age of 95, just two months shy of his 96th birthday. The man who around Fairfield will forever be known as “coach.”
“He lived a heck
of a life,” Tetreau said of his father. “When I was little, I was the water boy for the Warde football team and there were so many things that I got see him do. I’d stand on the sidelines next to him, I’d listen to all his locker room
speeches and his talks. I was lucky enough to be able to see my dad at work, that was an amazing experience and that created a bond between us that we talked about for years on end.”
Fern Tetreau graduated
from Sanford High School in Maine in 1941 and enlisted in the United States Navy, serving for three-plus years in the Pacific war against Japan, flying combat bombers. After the war, he attended Springfield College, playing football and graduating with a degree
in physical education. His first coaching job came after graduation at Bishop University in Canada as the head football coach. After that, it was a three-year stint (1950-53) at Brewer (Maine) High School as football coach.
In 1954, Tetreau and his wife Rowena moved to Fairfield, taking the Roger Ludlowe football coaching job and also working as an assistant basketball coach. In 1955, the Tigers captured the New England High School basketball championship, beating Sommerville,
Mass., 62-58 in front of 14,000 at the old Boston Garden. Dave Coombs, who earned MVP honors, had 21 points. And when the team returned home, arriving in Fairfield via train, there were 8,000 people waiting to greet them.
He coached Ludlowe football for two seasons but when the city needed to build a second high school and Andrew Warde opened in the fall of 1956, Tetreau moved across town to become the new football coach, staying there until 1969.
In 1959, the Warde Crimson Eagles went undefeated at 9-0 and captured the mythical state championship.
One of Michael Tetreau’s greatest memories was playing for Ludlowe - against
his father at Warde - for three years between 1967 and 1969. In fact, all three Tetreau sons (Bill and Jack) all played at Ludlowe against Fern.
“In 1967, I sat in the bench,” Tetreau said. “But
in ’68 and ’69 I was the quarterback. I think we won all three times.”
Was there any trash talk at the dinner table?
“Not really,” Tetreau
said. “We talked football all season long … until the week before the (Warde-Ludlowe) game. We managed the conversations very well. There was nothing personal. It was one big family. I played for (coach) Emil Taft (at Ludlowe) and he played in
the same backfield as my dad did at Springfield College.”
In 2006, Warde named the football field, along with Bill Davis, in Tetreau’s honor, making it Tetreau-Davis Field.
One special thing - off the field - that Fern Tetreau was take in a Cuban-born youth, who had nowhere else to go after staying with some foster families.
“When I played quarterback at Ludlowe, where
was a Cuban refugee at Warde named Roberto Rodriguez, he lived with us,” Tetreau said. “He was living with different foster families and when things didn’t work out and he needed a place to live, my parents took him in and he stayed with
us for I think four or five years. That’s the kind of person my dad was.”
Tetreau was one of the founding members of the FCIAC, coached in the Fairfield Giants Pop Warner Youth Football program, worked
with Special Olympics, served on the board for Micah Housing for the homeless and on Thanksgiving, delivered more than 100 meals to families in need. He was also involved in real estate for over 20 years and donated much of his time to the Holy Family Church.
“He left a tremendous on me,” Michael Tetreau said. “I don’t know if there was anything that he wasn’t involved in. He helped everyone out in a lot of ways.”
The following letter was sent to us by retiree, Bob Gillette (link). In it he relates some of his wonderful memories of