Remembering Henri Addor

Longtime Westporter Henri Addor died yesterday at Norwalk Hospital. He was 2 weeks shy of his 93rd birthday. His nephew Jacques-Henri Addor writes from Switzerland:

Henri was born and raised in Switzerland. Following a career in editing and artistic design for Hermès, Paris, he moved to the US with his American wife, Sandra, and settled in Westport in the 1960’s.

A great friend of the Westport Library and particularly its French Club, Henri was an erudite and consummate storyteller.

At the end of March he had a little health problem, which he told me by phone on April 2. He had difficulty coordinating the movements of his hands, his arms trembled, and he had trouble formulating sentences.

After a phone consultation with his doctor, he was admitted the same day to Norwalk Hospital. There an infection was diagnosed, which was immediately treated.

Some people have said that he contracted the coronavirus. Some said he did not.

Henri Addor

With US borders closed to Schengen nationals — and no chance of entering the hospital even if I could travel — I resigned myself to contacts by video and phone. With the help of nurses at Norwalk Hospital, that was how met and talked last Thursday afternoon.

An important page turns. Because my uncle Henri, first of all, was a great personality. And for me he was a crucial character, sort of a second dad. He introduced me to sailing, the ocean and navigation. Together we scoured the coasts of France, from Granville to the Gironde, and the south of England, after crossing the Channel.

Without this essential stage in my adolescence, I would not have experienced the same personal and professional trajectory.

In recent years, as he had trouble getting around, he did not come to Europe. So I went to Westport.

Very attached to the French province of Brittany, he dreamed of making another trip to Audierne, where he had seen the ocean for the first time with his parents and brother Jean-Claude (my father) in 1939.

The Hôtel de la Plage will not see my uncle again, but the Bay of Audierne will be his last residence, per his wishes.

He will be missed by his friends in Westport, especially members of the Westport Library French Club.

6 responses to “Remembering Henri Addor

  1. Anna Buckner

    Thank you, Dan. He liked your column and we had lively discussions on some finer points of the news you shared with our community. Everything about Henri was lively. He spoke the most elegant French ever spoken and had a bottomless knowledge of the world. He will be missed. Anna

  2. Pam Kesselman

    He was a brilliant storyteller and a wonderful man. I attended French class and heard and learned a lot from him.
    I was fortunate to know him.
    I wish you peace and good memories.
    Pam Kesselman

  3. Peter Barlow

    I like the descriptions of Henri Addor. I really wish I had known him.

  4. Sharon Jacobson

    Just read this. He sounded like he had a fascinating life. So sad he left it alone. Did they ever confirm virus? Not that it matters at this point. I would be terrible at your job. I don’t deal with death well. Unfortunately there will be more to come.

    Sent from my iPhone

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  5. Vladimir Laguerre

    J’ai eu la chance de rencontrer Henri Addor à l’hôtel, The Westport Inn, où il viendra à chaque fois que son neveux, Jacques-Henri devait venir lui rendre visit. Henri était un homme d’une bonne humeur, joviale et qui aimait la vie. Là où tu es, Henri, tu vas grandement nous manquer. Allez en paix!

  6. On this Henri’s birthday, I am joining in thought with those who knew him. As a childhood friend of his nephew Jacques-Henri, I am fascinated by a certain resemblance… and I know how much uncle and nephew have shared.
    Bon vent ! “Les vrais voyageurs sont ceux-là seuls qui partent…”