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Valjean Philip Foubert MALS ’70

Valjean Philip Foubert MALS ’70, March 9, 2007, at home, in Federal Way, Washington. Valjean served in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps in World War II. He was a planner-analyst in the G-2 Intelligence Unit, helping to plan the Allied Invasion in Normandy, and he also landed on Omaha Beach during the invasion. His unit was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French government for heroism in battle. Valjean fought in other major European campaigns, including the Battle of the Bulge. In 1946, he married Wilma Hegedus; they were married for 22 years and had five children. In 1950, he received a BA in English and history and a secondary teaching certificate in 1951 from Seattle University. Valjean supported his family by working weekends as a professional dance band drummer. For 38 years, he performed as a drummer with many big band and jazz combos throughout the Pacific Northwest. He was a life member of the American Federation of Musicians. His master’s degree from Reed was focused on philosophy. “Academically, Reed helped me learn what it means to be a scholar; in life generally, Reed enhanced my respect and appreciation for the joy of lifelong inquiry and discovery.” He taught humanities at Mercer Island High School, and then taught for 22 years at Sammamish High School in Bellevue. In addition to teaching English, humanities, creative writing, and speech, he was also a successful debate coach. He had four years of graduate study at the University of Washington, and instructed high school teachers designing humanities programs at the University of Oregon and the University of Washington. He was consultant to the National Humanities Foundation. Valjean retired in 1982, and then began teaching part time, for 18 years, in the Bellevue Community College Telos Program—a lifelong learning program designed for retirees. In 1983, in one of his Telos programs, Valjean met poet Agnes Thompson. They married and traveled to Europe. She died in 1998. Valjean had an interest in writing memoirs, and informally about education and big band music. He edited his Agnes' poetry for posthumous publication. Survivors include three daughters and two sons, a brother, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Appeared in Reed magazine: August 2007

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