Gerard A. Jeambon, 83, Ridgefield resident
Gerard A. Jeambon, 83, of Ridgefield, Ct., New York City and originally Paris, France, departed 5/5/14 from “The Springs” at Watermark Rehabilitation.
Gerard’s enormous blue eyes first opened on the City of Light on 11/28/30. He carried that light and love of Paris with him, and transmitted the two qualities to others throughout his life.
His peaceful early days before the War were divided between life in an apartment overlooking the Canal de St. Martin and the country home of his paternal grandparents shared with his beloved Aunt Marguerite, who always wore a funny hat and gave him counsel.
World War II changed so many lives and the Jeambons were in the heart of it. As an eleven-year old in Paris during the war, Gerard was sent by his parents from Paris to the Metreau farm in the mountains of Jura for some three years, where he, in effect, raised himself, working the farm with the family and savoring the “learning experience.” Finally, the trumpets sounded and his Army dad arrived at the farm, after having served in North Africa to “liberate” him as the Americans had done for the battered French. In effect, he became a “mascot” for the unit.
Subsequently, his father lost his arts-packaging business, his mother found work as a librarian; they separated and eventually divorced. Gerard had set up his own studio apartment at 16, while finishing high school. He was then certified as Interior Architect/Designer at the renowned Boulle School of Design in Paris where he learned everything from antique design to plumbing to high-end furniture making. At this point, the Army was calling; Gerard enlisted, became a Sergeant, was on the “list” for service in Indochina, but instead was headquartered in Evreux in Normandy, near the home of his parents! His Army life could have made a farcical French version of Mash — so many stories: his one-man crusade to enhance the “cuisine” of an underequipped poverty-ridden canteen with the best beef in France to maintaining & equipping the facility, (Questions about his “budget” never phased him as the officers licked their chops in shocked appreciation) his being given responsibility for training drivers on massive heavy-duty trucks, which he had never used; he learned as he taught. Here, Gerard, as always, was an “independent” within the world of rules and regimentation, always conforming where necessary and logical, but often improvising and managing to benefit from the discipline as well as the pranks.
After honorable discharge, Gerard started his career, working with various high-end designer companies in Paris, as well as a variety of prestigious freelance accounts.
In the meantime, his mother, Raymonde, had remarried a generous dentist from Normandy, Nicolas Bobulesco, who presented Gerard with two gifts: a red motorcycle for new adventure and a baby half-brother, Jean-Francois, whom he teased and delighted until his marriage at 26 to Michele Ades of Rue de la Pompe.
Hers was a cinema-ready apartment, suitable for raising their beautiful “clan” of seven, six of whom have survived him (details below on their current and fulfilling lives). He now had a veritable “workshop” in the 16th arrondisement for design and renovation as well as the joy of helping raise his “clan” as he often referred to the lively, closely-knit team of strong individuals, extolling in the role of Papa. His re-establishing himself within his career as interior architect took another happy detour when an uncle installed him as assistant Sound Engineer, redesigning offices of Jacque Tati at the same time he was working on sound for the production of “The Longest Day” at LTC Laboratories in Paris.
His days were full with a wide variety of clients ranging from prime ministers, to socialites to famous actresses with unreasonable, often unbelievable, requests to the madness of finding highly-qualified workers for his high-end business who could take time off from their drinking for a demanding assignment or follow precise instructions.
His summers were split between the beaches of Deauville and the mountains of Haute-Savoie; the winters were spent carrying the skis for the seven youngsters, urging them into a sport that later became their major passion! Michele and Gerard separated in 1983, while he stayed in New York designing elaborate quarters in a relative’s apartment near the Guggenheim Museum. He reluctantly accepted an invitation to a “vernissage” (art exhibition) followed by a dinner at Regine’s to which Laury Ford (Owner, The Laury Group, Inc. ) had been invited by the sculptress in appreciation of her p.r. work for the show. Laury was seated next to Gerard: “love at first sight.”
Gerard returns to Paris to fulfill promises, vacations for youngsters, end-of-marriage plans.
11/10/85 Official divorce. 11/11/85 Remarriage in Reno and the beginning of Gerard’s second life. 11/17/95 Gerard’s certificate of naturalization Gerard shared Laury’s love of travel; they established residences in their favorite cities from NYC to Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco to Paris, to Turks & Caicos to Ridgefield, Ct.
He gave Laury the ultimate gift a man can give his wife after love And fulfillment: he designed their lives and their residences, creating enviroments of beauty and elegance. Their “progeny” consisted of three precious pets from Tibetu (the famous terrier mascot of The Laury Group) to Abby-doux and currently, Mickey-Mou, their very spoiled cats, (the latter having spent the last eleven days of Gerard’s life at his side at The Watermark Rehabilitation Center in Southbury, Ct.).
Who Was He ?
The words from his mouth in everyday living were few but precise, usually dipped in sly humor, reflecting his profound observation of the world around him.
Yet his love of words and play were evident in his mastering Figaro’s challenging crossword puzzles. His self-effacing manner belied his extensive knowledge of history, vast vocabulary, and uncanny ability as a story teller to transform the past into living pictures; yet he was selective about choosing interested “listeners.”
How to Sum Up the Life of a Man?
Maybe the life speaks for itself — in the love he gave his immediate family and friends and the waves of love coming back to him now from all corners of our limited universe tell us how much he meant to so many people. His tales, his jokes, his sly wit, his centered wisdom, his quiet soul and his courage against all odds — all will live on within us.
In addition to his adoring wife, Laury, of some thirty years, Gerard is survived by his ex-wife, michele, as well as the following:
Pascal Jeambon, Project Mgr., GSA
Spouse: Judith McClain, Senior Director, Service Planning NYC Transit, Children: Nicolas Jeambon, Harbor Research, (Cloud technology), Boulder,Co. Sonia, finishing Eleanor Roosevelt High School, NYC.
Valerie Jeambon Couillaud, CPA, co-owner accounting firm, Blois, France. Spouse: Patrick, co-owner, same company.
Children: Sophie, Judge, Marseilles and Guillaume, (same profession), (Mother of Apolline, two days old), Olivier, Owner of Bistro, Blois.
Virginie Jeambon, Director, Georges Leger, medical residence, Paris. Eric Laube, Architect, Apprentis D’Auteuil
Children: Anouk Laube, student, Sorbonne, pending Commissioner of Police.
StephAnneSo: Stephane & Anne Sophie Jeambon, Attorneys/Associates in separate legal firms.
Children: JUJU, JOJO, LOULOU, Hippolyte Papy’s adoring quartet.
Eric Jeambon, Executive Director, Royal Motors, New Caledonie Joelle Gandelin-Paris, Infirmiere
Nathalie Jeambon, Director, Abbott Laboratories
Eddy Monnier, Police, CRS (Compagnie Republicaine de Securite) Children: Clementine & Charlotte, in grade school, Paris, France.
He is predeceased by Our Beloved Christophe Jeambon, 10/8/2000, Director, Store Design, Ralph Lauren, Paris.
He often said: “Quel Equipe” (“what a team”) and he always marveled at each individual’s professional and personal success in life, giving him one short of a dozen grandchildren.
He told his daughter two days before his death: “I consider myself a lucky man!” And what a MAN he was!
—by the family