We are deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of Jean-Francois Beerblock. Jean-Francois was EMBL Administrative Director from 1984-1992, based in Heidelberg. May he rest in peace.
Jean-Francois Beerblock was Director of Administration at EMBL for eight years. His birthday was on June 4th – the same date as mine. After we both retired from EMBL we continued to write postcards on our birthday and at Christmas and when we felt something interesting was happening. When I emptied the letter-box one day in May I was delighted to see Jean-Francois’s address on the envelope and felt it would be an early birthday greeting. But I was so shocked and saddened to find the card was from his wife Muriel, announcing his death.
He had for some time been suffering from heart problems and had died at home, as he had always wished, in his sleep.
Jean-Francois was born near Paris. His father was from Belgium and had been a very good translator, translating the complete correspondence of Vincent Van Gogh into French. Jean-Francois had also translated quite a few books into French. He was a good linguist and had travelled a lot. He had been employed in the Belgian Congo, in Cambodia and in Spain before coming to Germany to join EMBL. He was a very friendly man, very humorous. He never talked about other people and seldom about his own former life. He used to come into the EMBL Library frequently and, whenever he came into the Library office where I worked, he usually had something important or interesting to say. Should one be going on holiday he would frequently give good advice about our destination.
After his retirement he and his wife moved to Ville d’Avray near Paris. Jean-Francois had three daughters by his first wife. I shall miss him and wish to extend my deepest sympathy to his wife, Muriel, and the family.
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