Old Sedberghians from the 1950s and friends who met Jean at recent Christmas parties will be saddened to hear of his death on October 30th, at the age of 86. He was our French teacher from 1955 to 1958.
Conjoint of Colette St. Hilaire, Jean leaves behind his daughters, Aube (Charles Taylor), Nadine, Nadja (Marco Riha), his grandchildren Malika and Arami, his sisters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, nephews, nieces and many friends.
To honour Jean's last wishes, friends and relatives will meet at a later date to celebrate his life.
The Association of the Literary Translators of Canada had the following words about Jean.
"Jean Antonin Billard, translator emeritus, has left us. He was a great man.
Born in 1930 in Tours, France, Jean very early on became interested in other languages. English and Spanish gave him the passport to visit other countries. After a number of voyages and student exchanges in the UK and in Spain, he crossed the ocean to the Americas - to the USA in 1953 and to Quebec in 1955.
Jean won the Governor General's award in 1989 for his translation of THE PHASES OF LOVE by Dorothy Livesay. He enjoyed and interpreted the works of many authors, including Irving Layton, A.M. Klein, M. Lowry, Ludwig Zeller, and even Mao Tse Toung".
I have fond personal memories of Jean Billard in and out of the classroom, full of energy during his three stay at Sedbergh.
Sedberghians send our sincerest condolences to Jean's family and friends. We shall miss him and his cloud of white hair at our Christmas party next month.