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CHADBOURNE, Dr. Richard McClain

September 19, 1922 – Providence, RI, USA
June 8, 2013 – Calgary, AB, Canada

Dr. Richard McClain Chadbourne, Professor Emeritus of French, University of Calgary, died on June 8, 2013 at the age of 90 years.

Richard was born in Providence, Rhode Island, USA, the descendent of a pioneer family from England that settled in, what is now the State of Maine, in the 1630’s. A veteran of WWII, serving overseas in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, he received his B.A. from Brown University, his Ph.D. in French from Yale University, and taught at Fordham University in New York City and the University of Colorado in Boulder, before coming to the University of Calgary in 1971 as Professor of French and Head of what is now the Department of French, Italian, and Spanish. He and his wife were happy to become Canadian Citizens in 1978. He received several awards for excellence in teaching and research, including the Order of Academic Palms from the French Government and the Killam Fellowship. Thanks to his several books and numerous articles, he was widely recognized as an authority on French literature of the Nineteenth Century, the essay as a literary genre, and Quebec literature, as well as the Franco Manitoban author Gabrielle Roy. He held two lay ministries in the Roman Catholic Church, those of Lector of Scripture and Pastoral and Palliative Care Minister at the Foothills General Hospital for 15 years.

He is survived by his sons Lawrence, Eric and Eugene (Emmy); his granddaughters Jenny, Molly and Elisabeth; and his brother-in-law Gunter Golm. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Anna Gisela and his sister Ruth Parker.

Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Crowfoot Chapel (82 Crowfoot Circle N.W.), on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. A Internment Service to follow at Queen’s Park Cemetery. Condolences may be forwarded through If friends so desire, memorial donations may be made to the Canadian Catholic Organization of Development and Peace 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor
Montreal QC H3G 1T7. The family wishes to thank the Foothills Hospital, Clifton Manor, and especially Bow Crest Care Center for their help during the past two years.

In living memory of Richard Chadbourne, a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park Cochrane by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot Chapel, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. Telephone: (403) 241-0044.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Merv & Lil Halvorson :

    Our sympathy and prayers are with you at this time. We used to delivery Meals on Wheels to Richard for some time and Merv really enjoyed his brief visits with him. He was a great man and so appreciative or our service.
    Sincerely Merv & Lil Halvorson

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  2. Karan Shaner :

    I was fortunate to be taught by Dr. Chadbourne many years ago at the University of Calgary. He was delightful and clearly loved teaching. I recently started studying French again and my tutor remarked that at some point someone had taken the time to ensure that I understood the finer points of French grammar, at which point I told him about Dr. Chabourne and what a marvelous professor he was.
    Dr. Chabourne made a real difference in my university experience and I will always appreciate him and remember him fondly. I am so sorry for you loss.

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  3. Dr. Yvonne Hébert :

    I was fortunate to meet Dr. Chadbourne when I first came to the University of Calgary, appointed to the Faculty of Education to coordinate the preparation of French teachers. At the time, Dr. Chadbourne, as head of the French Dept., was quite helpful in supporting this initiative and provided easy access to his colleagues while maintaining his interest in dual program development. Very helpfully, he also provided an historical view of French language, literature and education on the UC campus. While this was many years ago, I have remembered him as a fine scholar and gentle man. My prayers and sympathy are with you at this difficult time, with kindest regards.

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  4. Terence Penelhum :

    It was a privilege to have known Richard Chadbourne. His life was an exemplary combination of fine scholarship and dedicated service. Edith and Terence Penelhum, University of Calgary.

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  5. I’ve only just heard about Richard’s death – but suspected all was not well after a long silence. Our mutual interest in the essay led to a lively correspondence over several years. He wrote wonderful letters and was generous in sharing his knowledge of the literary genre that so fascinated him, and on which he commented with such perception. I’ll miss his familiar handwriting on those eagerly awaited envelopes. Reading his letters always gave a sense of being in the company of a humane, gentle, literate man of high intelligence and learning. I’ll always be grateful for the support he voiced for my own efforts as an essayist. I wish we could have met, but I’m honoured to have had him as a correspondent.

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  6. Julie Wilson :

    I was a student many years ago, 26 to be exact, of Professeur Chadbourne. French poetry. One of our assignments was to memorize a poem and present it orally to the class. I chose “Demain des l’aube” by Victor Hugo, a sad poem written by a grieving father. Later that term my mother died, and when I returned to classes, Professeur Chadbourne quietly placed a card on my desk. At the bottom of the card, he had written the last line of Hugo’s poem “un bouquet de houx vert et de bruyere en fleur”. A very kind and personal condolence. I was very touched and have kept the card all these years. I am very late in sending my sympathies to your family, as I only just learned of the professor’s passing. Know that he is fondly remembered by many.

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