Ponthieu Robert T. Ponthieu, 80, of Beaumont, died Saturday, January 5, 2013, at Jefferson Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Beaumont. He was the son of Edith Blume Ponthieu and Wilferd Ponthieu and was born in Galveston. He attended St. Patrick Catholic School until the family moved to Beaumont in 1945. He then attended St. Anthony Catholic High School, where he graduated in 1948. Most of his youth was spent with his grandparent's on their farm in Louisiana during the depression period. Robert met his wife, Claire Scaife, who was in the same grade at St. Anthony, and they married two years after graduation in 1951. They had two daughters, Pamela Ann, born in Beaumont in 1952, and Patricia Ann, born in Dallas in 1955. He attended Lamar University and received an associate degree in engineering while working for General Electric Company. In 1953, the decision was made to move to Dallas and take a position with American Telephone and Telegraph Company. Robert decided to continue his education and attended Southern Methodist University. He worked full time at night and attended school during the day, graduating with bachelor degrees in management and engineering. He credits Claire for his education who worked tirelessly during this period helping with the school work and children. Robert was promoted to Senior Engineer in Kansas City, which was followed by marketing assignments in Houston, Seattle, Albuquerque, and Salt Lake City. He then accepted a position in the Overseas Department and moved to San Francisco and later New York. For the next twelve years he negotiated contracts with foreign governments in the pacific and middle east to provide international telephone service. During this period, he was able to bring Claire with him and together they visited Japan, Hong Kong, China, Australia, India, France, Italy, England, and many other countries. Tiring of the travel and the growing risks, Robert requested and was granted the position of financial director to direct the income and expenses of AT&T, with his headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. He held this position for seven years and in 1987 decided to retire early at the age of 55. Robert could tell a good story and be the life of the party. He also had an intelligent and disciplined nature and enjoyed hobbies of woodworking and designing and building homes. He spent many of his years working with family genealogy helping many people in this area and bringing the history of the Ponthieu family to light. As he had promised Claire, they moved back to Beaumont, where it all started. Survivors include his wife of sixty-two years, Claire Audrey Scaife Ponthieu; daughter, Patricia Ann Ponthieu of Colorado; and brother, Dr. Louis David Ponthieu of Denton. He is preceded in death by his oldest daughter, Pamela Ponthieu, who died in 2007. A gathering of Mr. Ponthieu's family and friends will begin at 1:00 p.m., with his funeral service to follow at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 9, 2013, at Broussard's, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont. His entombment will follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Beaumont. Complete and updated information may be found www.broussards1889.com
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Published in The Beaumont Enterprise on Jan. 8, 2013