André I. Chomel, well-known resident and businessman of Central Point for the past eight years, passed away at the Sacred Heart Hospital Saturday morning at 7 o’clock after an illness of the past four months.
Mr. Chomel was born in Saint Etiénne, Loire, Rhône-Alpes, France, August 16, 1884 and aged 52 years, 3 months and 19 days. According to his 1927 marriage license, his father’s name was also André Iréné Chomel, and his mother was Marie Joseph Anais. From boyhood he dreamed of coming to America to live and his dream was fulfilled in 1907, when he came to Canada, passing through the port of New York. On 6 June 1911, a census of Canada showed him farming in Saskatchewan. He and one farmhand were the only persons in the house.. There he lived until the World War, when he endeavored to join a volunteer Canadian regiment for service overseas. Being rejected on account of his small stature, Mr. Chomel went to the French Consul and offered his services to the homeland. He was accepted and sent at once to France. Here he became a machine gunner with the French forces before Verdun.
During the famous siege of Verdun, Mr. Chomel suffered terrible injuries in the explosion of a mine, from which he never entirely recovered, although he was sent back to the lines when discharged from the hospital.
At the close of the war, Mr. Chomel returned to Canada. On 26 April 1919, he sailed from Le Havre on the S.S. Lavoie and arrived in New York 5 May 1919. Listed his destination as Fernie, British Columbia, Canada and his occupation as a miner. Last home in France was with the army in Roanne, which is the capital of the region and very close to St. Étienne.
In June 1919, he applied for admission to USA at Portal, North Dakota, listing his prior home as Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Headed for Troiner, Montana where he had a cousin named Louis Dessy. Occupation shown as “farmer and coal miner.”
After living for a short time in Montana, he moved to Los Angeles. Here he was employed for a time as a pastry cook in the large Hotel Biltmore. While in Los Angeles he met the Misses Valentine and Rosalia Mesnage who conducted an apartment house. He and Miss Valentine Mesnage were united in marriage on May 1, 1927.
In 1928 they moved to Central Point where he purchased the old Central Point Hotel, which stood on the present site of the Associated Service station on the corner of Pine Street and the Pacific Highway. After spending several thousand dollars in renovating and remodeling the old structure, Mr. Chomel decided to tear it down and build a more modern place. This was done and the present hotel and cottages were built from the reclaimed lumber from the old building. The corner lot was leased to the Associated Oil company.
Later Mr. Chomel purchased the rest of the block, tore down the old buildings, and built two large stucco cottages and was engaged in landscaping the entire property at the time of his last illness. The Hotel and Cottages Valandra, as the Chomel property is known, has an established reputation of being one of the neatest and most up-to-date stopping places in the entire Northwest. Much of its success is attributed to the unceasing labors of Mrs. Chomel and her sister, Miss Mesnage. He, his wife, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law all lived there when the April 1930 census was taken.
André Chomel served one term on the city Council of Central point and was re-elected this fall. He was an enthusiastic worker for the up building of his community and won the respect and regard of all who knew him. He was appointed to represent the city on the Board of Directors of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and was a faithful attendant at all meetings of the board, where his shrewd advice and dry humor will be much missed.
Mr. Chomel had no relatives in this Country and leaves only his wife, Mrs. Valentine Chomel, and her sisters and relatives, besides a host of friends to mourn his loss. Valentine lived on in the area until 1965.
Funeral services were held yesterday morning at 10 o’clock from the Sacred Heart Catholic church in Medford with Rev. Father Francis W. Black, officiating. Interment was in the family plot in the Jacksonville cemetery, where the service was read by Father Black, followed by a ceremony conducted by the chaplain of the Medford post of the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans of the World War, and closed with the firing of a salute by a squad of National Guardsman and the sounding of “Taps” by a lone bugle. Pallbears included Mayor George Porter of Medford; Mayor-elect J. O. Isaacson of Central Point; City Councilman L. Hatfield and City Treasurer Edward W. Jones of Central Point; Mr. Bailey of Medford and a friend of the deceased from Jacksonville.
All business houses in Central Point, together with the city offices, were closed yesterday morning during the funeral hour.
Adapted from Central Point American, Thursday, 10 December 1936, front page. Italics and minor corrections by Wes Groleau.