Louis Edouard Magne
Louis E. Magne, 106, died peacefully of natural causes in Houston on Tuesday, October the 29th, 2019. He was born in modest circumstances on Saturday, December the 8th, 1912, in St. Pierre de Frugie, France, to Jean Marcel and Marie Brunet Magne.
In July 1933 he graduated as an engineer from Arts et Métiers in Paris, then became an exchange student in Hannover, Germany. Adolf Hitler had just come to power, so Louis witnessed the notorious parades and rallies of Hitler and his lieutenants. The greatest impact was encountering the fear, conformity and growing intolerance taking hold, including seeing two wrecked shops defaced with "JUDEN" signs. Then when he reported his finding during a debriefing by French authorities, they refused to believe him. It was this experience which led him to respect De Gaulle as the only French leader to fully appreciate the looming menace of Nazism.
His concerns were validated that August when he worked aboard "Le Providence," a ship taking German Zionists to their ancestral homeland in Palestine. There, he learned additional details from passengers' firsthand accounts of German brutality.
After returning, he served as lieutenant in the French Air Force. One moonless night, his plane was forced to land, guided by flares, onto a small meadow between Burgundian vineyards outside St-Laurent-les-Macon. This was quite an event for locals, as aviation was still the stuff of dreams. So, after the crew was given first aid at a nearby hospital, they were paraded through town like heirs to Lindbergh.
His first assignment with fledgling Schlumberger was in the oilfields of Romania. This was followed in 1935 by a Shell camp at Lagunillas, Venezuela, then on to idyllic Trinidad in the British West Indies where he met his future wife Angela Ambard during a luncheon on the legendary French liner Normandie.
His next post was in Bakersfield, California. This was soon followed by Falfurrias, Texas, and San Antonio, where he proudly became a US citizen in 1951, then Houston. In 1959 he was transferred to Paris as Chief Executive Officer for Schlumberger's Eastern Hemisphere. The next five years were a whirlwind of visits and receptions in more than 60 countries of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Pacific.
After Paris he returned to Houston and was promoted to President of Latin America in Caracas where he visited most of the continent's countries and islands. This was followed by his last position as president of North and Latin America and Vice President of Schlumberger Limited. While in Houston he was also President of the Alliance Française, Director of Junior Achievement and Director of the Texas Research League. He retired in 1977.
Louis rarely lavished funds on himself but, rather, helped those in need just as others had aided him earlier. He donated the bulk of his estate to children's health and welfare organizations, created two international scholarship programs for engineers, and contributed to a wide range of other medical and educational activities. Always active in team and individual sports, he kept fit beyond his years with tennis, multi-mile walks and gym workouts well into his nineties. He continued driving attentively during his centenarian years.
He was predeceased by his wife Angela and is survived by son Lawrence and his wife Jane of Pennsylvania. They wish to express their gratitude to Elizabeth Ortega and Maria Romero for years of devoted service to both parents.
Interment will be held at Wrightstown Friends Burial Grounds in Wrightstown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, next to his beloved wife of 72 years.
In lieu of floral arrangements, memorial contributions in honor of Louis, may be directed to Texas Children's Hospital, P.O. Box 300630, Suite 5214, Houston, TX 77230, or charity of your choice
Published by Houston Chronicle on Nov. 3, 2019.