Robert George LeBlanc

Robert George LeBlanc
United Flight 175

An Insatiable Globetrotter

He had the itchiest feet. Robert LeBlanc's insatiable desire to see the world meant he would not even have embarked on one trip when he would already be sketching out the next.

"We were due to leave for Argentina right after Sept. 11," said his wife, Andrea LeBlanc. "Then we had tickets on the desk to go to India. We were planning to go to Sweden in the summer. Last year, we celebrated his birthday in Burma."

Mr. LeBlanc, 70, was a professor emeritus of geography at the University of New Hampshire, and lived in Lee, N.H., with his wife. Though he had retired from teaching nearly there years ago, he remained an active and restless scholar. On Sept. 11, he was on United Airlines Flight 175 to a geography conference in Los Angeles.

"He didn't just want to read books about people," Mrs. LeBlanc said. "He wanted to go there. He wanted to smell the smell and taste the food and talk to the people."

There were not many places he had not been. Granted, he had never set foot in Antarctica. But he did live on an ice island near Greenland on two occasions when he was in college. And he worked once on a glacier, taking core samples.

Now his wife faces the considerable task of sorting out his frequent-flier mileage. "There are seven different airlines he has frequent-flier mileage with," she said. "It's impossible."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 4, 2001.

Robert G. LeBlanc, 70, was a geography professor at the University of New Hampshire who died on his way to a geography conference in Los Angeles aboard United Flight 175.

He liked to travel and had been to numerous exotic and dangerous locales around the world.

He was a great cook, wore Birkenstock sandals and glasses, had a gray beard, and smiled a lot. Easygoing and laid-back, LeBlanc "took care of his wife," a veterinarian, said Ronnie Willard, a receptionist at the Oyster River veterinary clinic owned by LeBlanc's wife, Andrea.

He had five children, Carolyn, Paul and John LeBlanc and Nissa and Kjel Youngren, and two grandsons.

Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.

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