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Christopher Pinet

May 6, 1944 ~ November 17, 2011

Beloved husband of Carolyn, beloved father of Sian and Dylan, Chris Pinet died at home on Thursday November l7.  Chris, of Franco-American descent, was born in Chelsea, Mass. and grew up in Lawrence, Kansas. His Great Uncle Eli fought as a doughboy in the Battle of the Somme in World War I, and his father, Frank Samuel, participated in D-Day off Omaha Beach. Chris embraced his French heritage and had a long and distinguished career as a teacher and scholar of French and Francophone literatures and cultures.  He earned his B.A. with Honors and Distinction at the University of Kansas and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Brown University where he was an NDEA and Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellow.  He served on the Executive Council of the American Association of Teachers of French and the Board of Directors of the Federation of French Alliances, U.S.A. As Editor in Chief of the French Review, the journal of French studies with the largest circulation in the world, he produced an array of editorials and special issues concerning the Francophone world. Recognition of his contributions came from the French government when last year he was promoted to “Officier” in the French Order of Academic Palms in a wonderful ceremony attended by over a hundred members of his family, and friends at M.S.U-Bozeman where he had taught for twenty-nine years.  In June of this year, he was awarded the Gold Medal of Francophone Merit by the French Renaissance Society in Washington, D.C.  Chris retired from full-time teaching in May, 20l0.


When in graduate school at Brown University, Chris met and married his wife, Carolyn, who was studying there on a Fulbright from London University in the U.K.  From l968 onwards they were to share nearly forty-three years of passion, intellectual excitement and many adventures, including extended time together in England and France.  Memories of his sabbatical when he lived in Paris with his wife and two children were particularly sweet.  After teaching for two years at Indiana St University, and for eight at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Chris moved to Bozeman with his family in the summer of 1981 He always said that coming to Montana was the best move of his life.  He was active in the university and in the community in many organizations; in particular he served for two years as Chair of the Montana Committee for the Humanities under the directorship of Margaret Kingsland of Missoula, and he was a dedicated member of the Gallatin Valley Human Rights Network for many years.
Chris’s curious spirit and abiding interest in people extended to all aspects of his life.  Days before he died, he was engaging people with his personal charm and listening to their stories.  Those who knew him will always remember his enthusiasms, energy, humor and joie de vivre, his love of basketball, tennis, cross-country skiing, jazz and movies, and a good glass of wine.  During his last illness, a rare brain cancer, he lived every day to the full with enormous courage and he lived to celebrate the birth of his new granddaughter, Naomi Rose, with great joy. 

Chris was preceded in death by his father, Frank Samuel Pinet; his mother, Estelle Eddy Pinet; and his step-mother, Winifred Saran Pinet.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn, his daughter, Sian; and his son, Dylan, and his partner, Angie Hovde and their children, Aaron, Ellie and Naomi Rose.  Also surviving are four much loved sisters, Nancy Pinet Tilford of Portland, Oregon, Rosemary Pinet Hartner of Kirkland, Az, Winifred S. Pinet of Plymouth,MI, and Michele Pinet of Arlington, MA and their husbands.

The family would like to extend its thanks to all at the Bozeman Cancer Center and at the Hospice of Southwest Montana and the good people at Cottonwood Case Management who gave their loving care to Chris.

No flowers please.  Instead, donations to the local chapter of the American Cancer Society or to Amnesty International in Chris’s name would be gratefully appreciated.

Cremation has already taken place.  At a later date there will be a small ceremony during which Chris’s ashes will be scattered in the mountains he loved.

“Tout passe. L’amour reste.”.

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