Gerard Damerval

Posted: Friday, June 20, 2008

Juneau resident Gerard Damerval died June 16, 2008, in Juneau. He was 77.

Born in 1931 near Paris in pre-war France, his father Roger was a prisoner of war in Berlin, Germany for three years.

A Juneau resident for four years, he was a horticulturist and professor.

He successfully attended the most prestigious horticultural engineering school in France, located in Versailles, and worked in that profession until obtaining a Master of Literature at the age of 50. He started teaching at universities in France and South Africa.

Family members said he spoke four languages, read voraciously and talked for hours about subjects ranging from medieval poetry, to the origins of Coq au Vin, to the best way to grow green beans in arid climates. He had admiration and respect for all men of knowledge and accomplishment, they said.

"Gerard lived life to the fullest, appreciating all the beauty of the world and never dwelling on the negative," his son said. "He loved his family passionately, gave of himself without counting, without holding back and without expecting anything in return."

Family said he gave charity in private as the opportunity presented itself and never spoke of his own generosity, praising and rejoicing from that of others instead. He was slow to condemn and swift to praise.

He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline Damerval; son, Philippe Damerval and his wife, Shawn; grandson, Bernard Damerval; and step-grandson, Cameron Perry.

A service will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, at the Shrine of St. Therese.

Family said memorials may be made in an act of random charity toward an individual who needs it.

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