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Fern Tetreau, 95, Beloved Fairfield Coach, Father Of First Selectman

Fernand "Fern" Sylvio Tetreau of Fairfield, better known as "Coach," died Wednesday, March 29. He was 95.
Fernand "Fern" Sylvio Tetreau of Fairfield, better known as "Coach," died Wednesday, March 29. He was 95. Photo Credit: Contributed

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Fernand "Fern" Sylvio Tetreau of Fairfield, a beloved coach who served several roles in Fairfield and father of the current first selectman, died Wednesday, March 29. He was 95.

Tetreau, known to all as Coach, was the husband of Rowena Tetreau, who died June 4, 2013.

He is survived by his sons Jack and Michael, first selectman of Fairfield; Jack’s partner Chrissy Brzoski; daughter-in-law Cheryl of Zionsville, Pa.; and grandchildren Marielle, Taylor, and Paul. He was predeceased by his son Bill.

His family was the center of Fern Tetreau's life. His love and generosity showed when he and Rowena opened up their home to include Roberto “Chico” Rodriguez in the family.

Tetreau was born May 21, 1921 in Sanford, Maine. He achieved All-State recognition at Sanford High School for his football skills.

He entered Springfield College in Springfield, Mass., on an athletic scholarships, and left after the attack on Pearl Harbor to join the U.S. Navy Air Corps. After returning from military service, he graduated from Springfield College in 1948.

He began his coaching career at Bishop University in Canada. He returned to this country to marry Rowena Shattuck.

They moved to Staten Island, N.Y., while he earned his master's degree in education from Columbia University. He and Rowena then moved to Brewer, Maine, where he took a head coaching position at Brewer High School.

From there they moved to Fairfield, where he and Rowena raised their three sons.

He led the turnaround and created a winning culture at Roger Ludlowe High School. At Ludlowe, he also served as assistant coach on the 1955 New England Basketball Championship team. Tetreau then moved to Andrew Warde High School for its initial football season in 1956.

In just his third season, he coached the 1959 Andrew Warde football team that went undefeated and tied for the mythical state championship. He also handled responsibilities as athletic director and head track coach. In addition, Tetreau helped as assistant director at the Wakeman Memorial Boys Club in Southport.

He was active in the founding of the FCIAC and was president of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association from 1965-66.

Tetreau helped to start the Fairfield Giants Pop Warner program in 1966 and was inducted into the Connecticut State Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2008, he was also inducted into the FCIAC Hall of Fame.

In 2006, the Fairfield Warde High School football field was named Tetreau Davis field and dedicated in his honor.

After working as a coach, Tetreau took on the challenge of being a housemaster at Fairfield Woods Junior High School in 1970.

He established the first Internal Suspension program for Fairfield designed to keep students in school and studying rather than falling behind in the traditional suspension program. He also was ahead of his time installing cameras on school buses to improve safety.

When he retired from the school system, he became a real estate agent for Fairfield County Real Estate and then for William Raveis Real Estate.

He was a past president of the Retired Teachers Association.

Tetreau was active in Holy Family Church, where he was a member of the Parish Council and the Holy Name Society. He led the church’s Thanksgiving Food Basket effort, providing meals to over 100 families in need.

He was part owner of Pequot Day Camp in Southport before moving to Singing Oaks Day Camp in Weston. Tetreau helped to establish the Special Olympics in Fairfield and was recognized in 1982 with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Award for his years of service.

Tetreau also received the John Sullivan Community Service Award from the Fairfield Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1982. He also served on the Micah Housing Board for Operation Hope.

A strong swimmer, lifeguard and swim instructor, Tetreau put his skills to use rescuing a man who appeared to be drowning in the Ash Creek current in July 1968.

Calling hours will be 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 7, at the Shaughnessey Banks Funeral Home, 50 Reef Road, Fairfield.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 8, at Holy Family Church in Fairfield. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to Operation Hope, 636 Old Post Road, Fairfield, CT 06824.

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