GEORGE LABALME

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LABALME--George, Jr.

George was born in Paris on November 17, 1927 and lived there until 1939 when he moved with his family to NYC. That summer, he met 12-year-old Patsy Hochschild at Eagle Nest where they each had long standing family ties. He was taken by her charm and intelligence; she considered him a French brat. They did not see each other again until age twenty when she was a graduate student at Harvard. After a long courtship and one cancelled wedding, they married on the anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1958, somewhat to the surprise of everyone including themselves. After graduating from Rumsey Hall and Hotchkiss, George was drafted into the U. S. Army in 1946. He served with the occupation forces in Tokyo until 1947 under Gen. Douglas McArthur and believed that had President Truman not ended the war when he did, he'd likely have died in the invasion of Japan. Instead, George attended Kenyon College on the GI Bill where he met and became lifelong friends with E. L. Doctorow. After graduation, he worked in Milan with architect/designer Gio Ponti followed by five years with industrial designer (and uncle) Raymond Loewy in Paris and New York. George's best- known design was the Grey Poupon mustard jar. For nine years, he was Vice President of the New York Public Library, and from 2002-14 served as a Trustee and later as President of The Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation. For thirteen years he was a Trustee of The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, through which he helped produce The Poetry of Light, an exhibition of 140 drawings from The National Gallery of Art, displayed at the Correr Museum in Venice in 2014-15. For many years he was Treasurer of the Renaissance Society of America and a board member of the Adirondack Museum. But it was his lifelong partnership with Patsy that was the source of his greatest happiness. They shared a passion for the humanities, all things Italian - especially Venetian -- and were deeply involved with communities such as The Brearley School, the Institute for Advanced Study and the American Academy in Rome. To all his friends, George was known for his boisterous laugh, his unconditional acceptance of people and his faith in the future. Within his inner circle, he was also known for his love of oysters, which he sometimes had for both appetizer and dessert. George loved beekeeping, fly fishing and "uncorking the claret," especially Chateau Branaire (Patsy's favorite) and sharing with anyone at his table. Many considered him the epitome of the true gentleman. He was surrounded by women and a champion of them all. A die-hard New York Times reader (paper edition), George rarely left his apartment on East End Avenue in anything but a suit, as he did on his final foray into the great city of New York, sporting Venetian-themed suspenders. He is survived by his four children, their spouses and seven grandchildren: Jenny Labalme and John Krull of Indianapolis (Erin and Ian Krull); Henry Labalme and Jeanne McMullin of West Cornwall, CT (Eve, Pia Louise, and Sylvie Celeste Labalme); Lisa and Michael Osterland of Montreal (Becket and Wesley Osterland); and Victoria Labalme and Frank Oz of NYC. In addition, he is survived by a brother Guy and Marilyn Labalme of Tampa, FL; a niece Corinne Labalme of Paris, France; a nephew Fen Labalme and his wife Elaine of Pittsburgh and their son Steven; a niece Aline Sloan of Santa Fe, NM and her daughter Sarah; Diego and Ara Miralles of La Jolla, CA and their children Tomas, Isabel and Elena. In lieu of flowers or gifts, contributions may be made to The Brearley School in New York City.

Published in The New York Times on Sept. 18, 2016