WIND LAKE — It took more than three days of search efforts, but members of the Racine County Water Rescue Team recovered the body of Wind Lake drowning victim, Dennis Flemion, on Tuesday night.
Flemion was boating with family and friends on Saturday afternoon when he went for a swim and did not resurface.
A search and rescue effort that began Saturday evening turned into a body recovery effort on Sunday that continued through Tuesday when dive team members recovered the body of the West Allis resident just before dark at 8:29 p.m.
“It was our last search of the night. It was literally the last moment,” said Sgt. Brad Friend, commander of the Sheriff’s Office Water Rescue Team and chairman of the Racine County Water, Rescue and Response Team.
Flemion’s body was found 42 feet beneath the surface, at the center of the lake, said Friend.
About 75 rescuers from fire and police agencies across southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois came together for the search effort, Friend said.
Crews were on the lake from 5:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. each of the three search days.
In the end, it was the Milwaukee Police Department’s sector sonar device that finally led divers to Flemion’s body.
A musician mourned
News of Flemion’s drowning has broken the hearts of a legions of underground music fans.
According to Spin and Billboard magazines, Flemion was a member of The Frogs — the off-the-wall Milwaukee rock duo which counted Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan among its most loyal fans.
With Flemion presumed dead, the magazines, as well as the band’s one-time record label, Matador Records, featured articles and blogs about the late musician and his band on Monday and Tuesday.
According to Billboard, Flemion, 57, and his brother Jimmy formed the Frogs in 1980, “mixing profane and irreverent comedy in their uncompromising, stereotype skewering music.”
Known for their costumes and stage theatrics, the brothers had a healthy cult following and enjoyed a kind of notoriety during the 1990s as major grunge and alternative acts took notice of their work, sometimes asking them to open concerts for them.
Taking to Twitter, Corgan wrote: “I’m devastated by the loss of my friend Dennis Flemion. Words can’t explain the sorrow. A tragic loss. Please pray for his family.”
Local music fan and owner of McAuliffe’s Pub, 3700 Meachem Road in Racine, JJ McAuliffe remembers seeing the “legendary but elusive” Frogs at festivals.
He said if the band had ever wanted to play in Racine he would have “booked them in a heartbeat.”
“They were a wonderful bizarre band,” McAuliffe said.