From an interview published in the autumn issue of the University of Dayton’s magazine. (it’s here)
Jean Remy first met Americans, U.S. soldiers pushing through eastern France, during World War II.
“My first words in English were ‘chewing gum, please,’” says Remy, a Châlons-en-Champagne native who attended UD’s business school on a Fulbright in 1958-59.
Remy attended Villa St. Jean, a Marianist school in Switzerland, but his grandparents already had another Dayton connection: They had housed a Dayton-based officer during World War I. When Remy reached Dayton after a grueling trip from Paris, that officer, Harold Robinson, “bought me a banana split I’ll never forget.”
In Dayton, Remy discovered multiple-choice tests, drive-in cinemas and Protestant churches. Catholic students had to attend Mass on Wednesdays, he says. “I sinned. The Dayton newspaper had a two-page listing of church services, and I was curious.”
The Founders Hall resident saw more than just Dayton. He traveled by Greyhound to Mexico and throughout the U.S., including the segregated South.
At UD, he participated in vision tests for NASA. America had a technological edge on France, he says. But “what amazed me was that a 50-year-old building was already ‘too old.’”
Remy left Dayton when he was drafted for the war in Algeria. He served there 28 months.
He worked 27 years at Citibank in private banking and as a manager in international corporate banking and human resources.
He traveled to Africa and the Middle East as a vice president in institutional banking. He later consulted for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Africa.
Remy met Bernadette Antoine at a young professionals’ prayer group in Montmartre. They married in 1971 and honeymooned in Israel. They have a son, two daughters and two grandchildren.
Today, Remy produces jam and cider at his 16th-century home in Villeray, a two-hour drive west of his Parisian
winter home, and rents his country bed-and-breakfast (firstname.lastname@example.org, if you’re in the neighborhood.
looking for a place to stay).
He reveals his age, 72, but adds, “My Wii age is 51.”
— Mary Harvan Gorgette