Deceased January 7, 2018
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Dad was born in 1934 in, Maisnil Les Ruitz, a small town in Northern France, not far from Dunkirk and Calais. Early in WWII he learned English speaking with a British soldier assigned there. Later the Nazis launched V2 rockets towards London from nearby.
After graduating in English from Lille University with a Fulbright scholarship to Amherst College, he arrived in America on the Queen Mary in 1954.
Graduating from Amherst, cum laude in American lit, he returned to Lille where he studied Russian and Finnish. Now fluent in seven languages, Dad joined the French Foreign Services, first in Finland, then Tunisia. In 1961 he married Michèle Bernadette (Robart), honeymooning in his dear Finland. First child, Philippe, was born in 1962 near Biarritz, France. Dad was assigned first to Chad (1962-64), then to Ghana (1964-68) where Christine was born. The family left hastily for Chile, escaping the ever-escalating Ghanaian strife. Anita was born in Chile before the election of Salvador Allende. Late 1971 something fishy was afoot and we left after just one year. First back to France, but for only two months before assignment to Turkey. In what was becoming a pattern, we had to move quickly again, when the Turkish military seized power. Next, onto Nigeria, then one of the world’s most dangerous countries. Still is. After three years of almost daily fear, we left literally overnight leaving everything behind, never to return. Assigned next to Uruguay, and continuing our tough luck, as we landed in Buenos Aires, Isabel Peron was kidnapped by the Argentine military junta. After six hours on the tarmac, we continued to Uruguay, finally a truly peaceful paradise. We stayed for nearly seven years.
After 32 years, mostly far from home, Dad was returned to France, settling in 1986 in Biarritz, another paradise in the French part of the Basque Country. Dad retired in 1994; died Jan. 7, 2018, leaving Michèle Bernadette, his wife of 57 years, three kids and five grandsons.
Of his Amherst experience he said, “It was a true passport to life.”
He gave us just everything we could dream of. No regrets, only smiles ...
Anita, Christine and Phillipe ’84 Robart