Forums: Community: Blue Skies - In Memory Of:
Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy

 

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Andrewwhyte  (C 1988)

Oct 3, 2009, 4:47 PM
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Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy Can't Post

I just heard that Frenchy passed away about a week ago from a heart attack at his home in Crossfield, just north of Calgary Alberta.
Frenchy was a fixture around the fire at Z-Hills in the 80's and 90's, and hung out later in Lake Wales.
I hadn't seen Frenchy for a while but always tried to pay him a visit him in the assisted care facility he lived in when I made it down to Calgary.
He was 84.
BSBD


pchapman  (D 1014)

Oct 3, 2009, 5:38 PM
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Re: [Andrewwhyte] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

This is the first time I ever saw Frenchy's actual name!
I never really knew anything about him, but he'd just be there, hanging around at skydiving events.

In his own words:
Mer-de! Mer-de! Frown


It's hard to find out more about Frenchy because in a search there are too many Bonfire threads that are unrelated or only peripherally related to him. One that mentions him a bit is http://www.dropzone.com/...rum.cgi?post=1373182, although even then, there is discussion of different people known as Frenchy.

Anyone find more history on him?


muff528  (D 17609)

Oct 3, 2009, 7:13 PM
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Re: [Andrewwhyte] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

Very sad to hear this news. I fondly remember the evenings hanging out by "his" fire. He was quite a character and no matter what the conversation was about he would find a way to insert "You should buy the beer!" I never got my "Frenchy number" but not because I didn't try. He allowed very few people to touch him in freefall.Unsure


bodhibody

Oct 3, 2009, 8:21 PM
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I remember watching many of his solo exits from the DC-3 at Z-Hills in the early 80's. Funny eccentric man. I think he was a farmer back in Canada. Always kept the fires going. Great snarling french accent.

So much color now gone from that time period. Peter Genau, Beth Bird, David Rickerby, Fang, Tom Piras, Roger Nelson, Gus Wing ...

BSBD EFS


Premier Remster  (C License)

Oct 3, 2009, 9:04 PM
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Re: [bodhibody] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

Blue Skies Frenchie! You sure were quite the character!


cocheese  (D 24000)

Oct 4, 2009, 7:20 AM
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Now we know there are little camp fires in heaven that never burn out. Blue skies


jonstark  (D 8298)

Oct 4, 2009, 7:33 AM
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Starry skies and roaring campfires Frenchy. We'll miss ya.

jon


ILUVCHUTERS  (C 3426)

Oct 4, 2009, 9:16 AM
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Frenchy made it out to the Calgary Parachute Club's 50th Anniversary Boogie last month. Fitting since there were a lot of members who made it out from years gone by.

Eternal Blue Ones.....


Krip  (Student)

Oct 4, 2009, 1:18 PM
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Re: [cocheese] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Now we know there are little camp fires in heaven that never burn out. Blue skies

When I go to the other side I'll be looking for Frenchies campfire to visit.Smile

OTOH if there are to Big fires and it's very warm to bad for me.Pirate


Andrewwhyte  (C 1988)

Oct 4, 2009, 5:05 PM
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Re: [Krip] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

Frenchie to Lucifer: I will tell you fi ER. You don't know fi ER.


MajorDad  (D 579)

Oct 4, 2009, 6:45 PM
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Re: [Andrewwhyte] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

Mike X posted a video of Frenchie on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71gom0Z751U

Eternal Blue Ones, Frenchie.

Keep the camp fires going......


andyd404  (D 404)

Oct 5, 2009, 12:44 PM
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Re: [Andrewwhyte] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

always the "para Boots" Once he took a shovel and dug up some
Hidden Booty" beer ..5 different flavours .He,d gather up after the bonfire bury them for nxt night.
Did get to do a 2 way with him @ oldtimers meet in CHWK.
Kick the tyres & light the fires;Frenchie.

Andy Smith D-404

flyingscotsman66@hotmail.com


danornan  (D 11308)

Oct 5, 2009, 1:03 PM
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Re: [MajorDad] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Mike X posted a video of Frenchie on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71gom0Z751U

Eternal Blue Ones, Frenchie.

Keep the camp fires going......

Mike, What a great tribute to Frenchie. Frenchie was a fixture at the old Z-Hills and someone who I had many conversations with and I never knew what he was talking about! I bet he NEVER washed his coffee cup!

He was a dear man who meant a lot to many and will be remembered a long time. Your video tribute was awesome.


muff528  (D 17609)

Oct 5, 2009, 1:36 PM
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Re: [danornan] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Mike X posted a video of Frenchie on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71gom0Z751U

Eternal Blue Ones, Frenchie.

Keep the camp fires going......

Mike, What a great tribute to Frenchie. Frenchie was a fixture at the old Z-Hills and someone who I had many conversations with and I never knew what he was talking about! I bet he NEVER washed his coffee cup!

He was a dear man who meant a lot to many and will be remembered a long time. Your video tribute was awesome.

Hi Dan. Yep, very nice video. Well done. LOL about the coffee cup. Remember a couple of the girls at ZHills grabbed his cup and washed it while he wasn't looking. He was PO'd for days. He said "ze de-tair-zhent will geeve you sto-mick can-sair!"Tongue


danornan  (D 11308)

Oct 5, 2009, 5:01 PM
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Re: [muff528] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

Tony,

The man was one of a kind and added so much color to Z-Hills and then Lake Wales. I can't tell you how many times I listened to him and never understood a word he said, but loved every minute. Skydiving is so much better because of him.


happythoughts  (D License)

Oct 5, 2009, 7:05 PM
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Re: [danornan] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

At the age of 70, he would cut wood with an axe each morning, and nobody had better mess with it.
We even got him a small campfire shovel and spray-painted it gold.

Once, someone threw some tar-paper from a roof into the fireplace
and he blamed it on one of the tandem instructors. He chased the
guy around, so the guy rocked the shovel back and forth into the ground
until only a nub stuck out. Frenchy had to get another shovel
to dig it out. Laugh

He would sit by the fire in his trench coat with a beer in each pocket.
The Brits would give him crap and he would say, "I talk
to the Queen today. I tell her you very bad man."

Never got my Frenchy number either. Dudley said his was in
the low 70s. I doubt they hit 100.


(This post was edited by happythoughts on Oct 5, 2009, 7:10 PM)


andyd404  (D 404)

Oct 6, 2009, 5:47 AM
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Re: [bodhibody] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

Freenchie was nomadic type he returned to Alberta to work for a farmer to save money so he could do his FLA gig every yr. all it was about >He worked close to mom & Pop DZ but would not jump in summer to save money and not jump from a Cessena.
What happened to Rickerby?
Andy D-404
flyingscots66@hotmail.com


steve1  (D 23640)

Oct 6, 2009, 7:45 AM
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Re: [Andrewwhyte] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't know Frenchy very well. He was a friend of Paul Juel's. I spent a few days around Frenchy when he came to our boogie in Montana.

Paul told me a lot of stories about him. I think Frenchy farmed on his own place in Montana for a while. He used to help Paul farm at times too.

I never saw anyone jump with Frenchy. At our boogie he always went out alone. He was in great shape for an old guy.

He seemed a little contankerous when you woke him up too early in the mornings.

Someone said that Frenchy was a paratrooper in WWII. Is that true?

At any rate, I hope you're on your way to the big drop zone in the sky, Frenchy!


dirtyduck

Oct 6, 2009, 9:42 AM
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Quasi-Eulogy for Robert Rouvreau aka “Frenchie”



By definition a eulogy is delivered by a close friend or family member.



I only ‘re-introduced’ myself to Frenchie in 2004, when Gord White said he was in the Hospital with a serious infection. I knew who he was, but had never engaged him in conversation.

I told him who I was and that I’d seen him every year from 1980-90 in Zephyrhills. I’ve since then seen him a few dozen times, but I only scratched the surface in knowing the man.



I realized when I saw the names on this email list that many do not know him at all, or that in his younger days he was a member of the French Foreign Legion.

He still got his pension from them, his brand of French was from France, not Quebec.

Gord was telling me today that for one Foreign Legion project, he would carry rockets on their backs, and walk them over the Himalayas, the FFL are on par with the Green Beret or British Secret Intelligence Service for clandestine and covert operations.



Apparently Gord met him 42 years ago, half of his life ago.



Before he spent the last five or six winters in Crossfield he spent 27 of them consecutively in Florida. Before that he spent years in Lake Elsinore,CA, another early skydiving mecca.

Gord said he was the also a Good-will ambassador/mascot of the Canadian Parachute Team when they won Gold in France in the early 80’s. Gord has plenty o’ Frenchie stories.

I’m sure that the number of jumpers that ‘know/know of’ him has to number in the tens of thousands, or more. I’ve heard tales of jumpers running into him overseas at meets.



Later in 2004. he was in the Rockyview for his prostate problems. I visited and had to tell him that the eye of Hurricane Charley went right over the DZ at Lake Wales, destroying his trailer, along with his 200+ t-shirt collection.



He spent years with George & Betty Kabeller, first at Zephyrhills/Phoenix, then later at Lake Wales after they and their plane Southern Cross were moved.

Frenchie always gathered the ‘WHood’ (fire wood) every day for many years at the DZ in Z-hills, Lake Wales, too I assume.

I’ve also been in what seemed like dozens of DC-3s over the years, where they’d do a pass at 6,600’ only for Frenchie. I just learned from him in August that he had about 2,400 jumps.





Stopping at the Senior’s home in Crossfield to see Frenchie, I’d sit in the dining room at first at a full table, and would mention to the fellow inmates what a storied life Frenchie had, and he would want no part of disclosing his past. Just like dealing with whuffos on a grander scale…. More bother than it’s worth. He’d look at me disapprovingly.





In the Hospital in 2004, he asked me to find ‘Soldier of Fortune’ magazine, and eventually I got a subscription instead of looking in vain, and it’s delivered in plain white paper for people like Frenchie.

They certainly didn’t need to know. They wouldn’t understand. Mum’s the word.



He was well travelled, even recently he’d go to Reno, and Florida last year, and other places for mercenary-type conventions.

He had a sister and house in France.



He was also fascinated with Steven Hawking, and all things Astronomy. He knew I was an Engineer, and had this affinity for learning Calculus.

I’d taken four Calculus courses, and he was always stuck on page 2 of the introduction in his Calculus book, but he was going to get to that soon.



He was a somewhat private individual. I feel like I barely knew the guy.



Perhaps someone else can ‘Reply to All’, and some of the older jumpers like Tom Kelly pay tribute/tell stories/lies. I thought that with such a storied life, it deserves some acknowledgement.

Maybe let’s form a Wikipedia page for Frenchie.



I feel honoured I got to give him a ride to CPCs 50th Anniversary party shortly before he passed on.



Blue Skies, Frenchie! ,Gerry Dyck


htrammel  (D 12064)

Oct 6, 2009, 11:04 AM
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Re: [dirtyduck] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

Excellent Quasi-eulogy.
I only met Frenchy a few times at Z-Hills in the 80s. My favorite memory:
During climb in one of the DC-3s at Turkey Meet (maybe 89?) some jumper was looking out the door and his gold necklace was ripped off his neck by the wind and gone. Frenchy, sitting by the door quickly looked out, down first then at the horizon, then foreward and aft. He did his normal solo exit around 6 or 7 grand and i didn't see him until around the fire that night. He walked up to the jumper who'd lost the necklace and reached out his hand with a gold chain. D'is yourze? He asked. The jumper was elated to be reunited with his jewelry. Frency just mumbled something like "Don weer diz sheet to jump".
Wow! A frigging necklace from 5 or 6 grand. Wow!
BSBD Frenchy


iamhome

Oct 6, 2009, 1:25 PM
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I met Frenchie 4 years ago on the way back from the Innisfail DZ on a Sunday afternoon with Gerry Dyck, who had known him from Zepherhills, and visited him once he came to Crossfield.
Frenchie always made us his famous wonderful/awful instant coffee and told us his latest health issues, latest travel stories,and how he was doing in his Calculus self teaching. He lent us books he thought we might like about physics, mathematics, and astonomy. I still have his Steven Hawkings book on quantum physics. When I told him I should give it back because I hadn't gotten through much of it he said..."no no no..you just keep at it,,I don't need it right now. You keep at it ...
When Frenchie went to France to visit his sister a few years ago he brought me back a gift of a t-shirt and scarf from Paris. I was very touched by his thoughtful gift.
Frenchie's room seemed like a disorganized mass of papers, clothes and books, that he would tell you to move to make room to sit down, and we should stay overnight sometime...he could clean off a couch... but he could find almost anything he was looking for in an instant..."Oh merde, now where did I put that?" he'd often say.
His furniture was very worn and he sat on an old broken down chair that had the springs poking through. On one of our visits we brought him a comfortable recliner rocker that had been my favorite comfy chair for years, but I had retired to my garage. We hauled it into his room and removed the old chair and he sat in the new one and said. "Oh ya ya ya.this is much better than that old one." I hope that is the place he took his last breath and I will think of him often, as the caring, and honest man i knew and came to love.
I will miss the Sunday afternoon visits, instant coffee and Frenchie's clutter, and even the phone calls at 7am to tell us he would "be away for a week in case you try to visit me." or "I am at the Bay downtown"...Gerry didn't find him many times, because he always hung up before you could ask him for more details.

Fly with the angels Frenchie....au revoir for now....


Capt36  (D 13216)

Oct 6, 2009, 6:04 PM
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Rickerby and I 'caught' him, one day. He was absolutely furious at us!!! He did not talk with us for weeks! So, we finally gave him a case of 'Christmas' beer, and asked for forgiveness. He lectured us for 'stealing' his jump, and had us promise to never do it again! But, he still often complained to us about that jump...

"More smoke, Frenchy! We cannot find the DZ!!"

Check's in the mail.....


martine1

Oct 7, 2009, 1:36 PM
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Re: [Andrewwhyte] Robert Rouvreau (SP?) AKA Frenchy [In reply to] Can't Post

HELLO

I AM MARTINE niece ROBERT ROUVREAU in FRANCE, it was also my godfather, my mother was his sister. I have 2 sisters, we were very sensitive to your expressions of sympathy for the death of Robert. I talked on the phone late August, he told me tired, but he still thought in France come again soon as his health would allow. He was coming in June, we waited a few days, no news I called Grossfield, then we have been advised of his health;

Like all of us did not know much about him.

These ashes are going to join his brother died in 1968 at Normandin Province QUEBEC

I give you my email address if you want to write me in private: jacques.martine.biteau@dbmail.com

Thank you from France


AndreLapointe  (D 631)

Oct 7, 2009, 5:17 PM
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Yes Martine
Robert had many hundreds of friends from 3 corners of North America.
In our brotherhood, he was an icon.


livnbored  (B 4076)

Oct 8, 2009, 5:36 AM
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I spent one winter at Lake Wales and I would have to wake up every morning by about 7 a.m. and turn on the telelvision for Frenchy so he could watch the weather channel. One day I stayed out at a friend's house and he was so irritated at me for not being there that morning. "You were not here to do your job. You bad girl." hahaa
One day I was on the phone in the hall and this HUGE spider came crawling towards me. There were always a million spiders hanging around the phone in the hall, but this one was enormous. I screamed a girl scream and Frenchy came out of the bathroom (I had no idea he was in there) and inspected my worry. He went back into the bathroom, grabbed a broom, swept it out the door and then told me I owed the beer.
I remember giving him lifts to the laundromat and he would only let you turn right... haha!
It's going to snow soon!
He enriched my life.
I'm glad I have some great memories of him.


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