Deceased April 20, 2017

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In Memory

In September 1953, fresh off the boat and speaking little English, a young Frenchman, who grew up in Normandy during the German occupation and Allied invasion, got off the train in Northampton. François Steeg was heading to Amherst for his junior year on a scholarship established by the family of Guy Levy Despas, a French student who attended Amherst and was killed during World War II.

François was met by Hod Moses ’55, which began a lifelong friendship between the two men. François quickly adjusted to his new environment, living at Chi Phi. After his successful junior year, the College provided a scholarship for his senior year, and he graduated with the class.

After service in Algeria with the French Army, François worked for Proctor & Gamble in Europe. He ended his career as president of Jacob Suchard, the international coffee and chocolate company headquartered in Zurich.

François’ love for the College was evidenced by his frequent returns for reunions and family visits. In 2002 his entire family celebrated François’ 70th birthday with a dinner at the Lord Jeff. Son Antoine spent a year at Amherst as an instructor, and in 2011, his grandson spent a year at Amherst, also as a Levy Despas student.

In 1998 the Moseses, Moultons, Painos and Steegs took a memorable barge trip in Burgundy, preceded by dinner at the Steegs’ Paris penthouse apartment, followed by a few days at his farm in Normandy. Other vacation trips followed.

Although a French citizen, François resided for many years in Switzerland and had recently moved to a seaside suburb of Lisbon.

François died on April 20 after a short illness. He was a valued classmate, and it was a pleasure to call him our friend.

Hugh Moulton ’55