A Bear's Migration
Robert Jalbert sold foam, all kinds. He sold the little bits found in the corners of printer cartridges. He sold foam for parts of wheelchairs.
He was 61 and had 20 years in the business. With just a look, he could advise clients on what kind of foam they needed, said his wife, Catherine Jalbert.
Mr. Jalbert, who lived in Swampscott, Mass., was one of the top salesmen at the Rogers Foam Corporation in Somerville, Mrs. Jalbert said. He was going on a business trip when he left Boston's Logan Airport on United Flight 175, the second plane to hit the World Trade Center.
Work was important to Mr. Jalbert, but his family was his fulcrum. He had a running joke with his son-in-law, John McCormick. When a daughter, Suzanne, first married Mr. McCormick about nine years ago, Catherine Jalbert gave them a brass bear candle holder as a housewarming present. No one liked it, Mrs. Jalbert recalled. It was about the size of a golf ball.
To get rid of it, Mr. McCormick gave it to Mr. Jalbert as a gift. Mr. Jalbert gave it back. The trading went on for years on various holidays. One Christmas, Mr. Jalbert put the bear between two large teddy bear bookends. When Mr. McCormick lifted them out of the box, the bear fell to the floor.
Another year, Mr. McCormick gave Mr. Jalbert the Physicians' Desk Reference, with pages dug out from the center. "When my husband opened up the book," Mrs. Jalbert said, "there was the bear."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on February 24, 2002.
Robert A. Jalbert, longtime employee of Rogers Foam
By Globe Staff, 9/16/2001
Robert A. Jalbert of Swampscott, a salesman for Rogers Foam in Somerville, was killed on United Airlines Flight 175 in New York on Tuesday. He was 61.
Mr. Jalbert was born in Haverhill and raised in Lewiston, Maine. He was a graduate of Wentworth Institute.
For more than 20 years, he was an employee of Rogers Foam in Somerville.
Mr. Jalbert had been a resident of Swampscott since 1981. He was a daily communicant of St. John the Evangelist Church in Swampscott.
He formerly was in the Marine Reserve.
Mr. Jalbert was a wine enthusiast and enjoyed working with his hands, creating woodworking projects. He enjoyed traveling with his wife and spoke French fluently.
He leaves his wife of 36 years, Catherine (Casey); two daughters, Suzanne McCormick of North Andover and Julie of Seattle; a son, Michael of Swampscott; a brother, Paul, of Lewiston, Maine; and three grandchildren.
A memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow in St. John the Evangelist Church in Swampscott.
Editorial Obituary published in THE BOSTON GLOBE on 9/16/2001.