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Jean Haham

Obituary for Jean Haham

April 25, 1936 - October 2, 2018
Austin, Texas | Age 82


Jean Haham was born in Paris, France on April 25, 1936 to parents originally from Bessarabia (now part of Moldavia). During WWII he was one of the Hidden Children, separated from his parents, living with a farm family in Normandy. Over 70 years later, in 2016 Jean took pride in becoming an American citizen as he remembered the liberation of France and the Yankee soldiers rolling through on their tanks distributing chewing gum and chocolates.

Growing up in Paris after the war he studied Spanish grammar and literature, Latin and philology at the Sorbonne. He could quote Lope de Vega and Góngora, but Federico García Lorca remained his favorite Spanish poet. For most of his professional life he taught Spanish at a lycée in a suburb of Paris, with a semester at a lycée in Madrid. At the birth of his son Lemuel, Jean returned to the violin of his youth, playing in an amateur orchestra whose highlight performance was at Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral.

After retirement the two months a year in Austin soon turned into six, and he pursued his violin both in Austin and in Paris, along with pottery making and the study of Torah. Friends in Austin fondly remember his playing for several years with Los Klezmeros at the Triumph cafe. And friends in Paris considered him a staple of L'Orchestre Surmelin at the MJLF synagogue in Paris. Friends on both sides of the Atlantic loved his beautiful pottery.

In June he was exploring the museums of Valencia, Spain with gusto. Yet on October 2, 2018, surrounded by family and the music he loved, he succumbed to an illness that appeared only in August. The speed of his decline did not allow for the goodbyes many would like to have offered. Yet even in his last difficult weeks he found energy to enjoy and appreciate friends and family, see Amélie two more times, sip virgin margaritas while watching the sunset at Trudy's, and finish a book on 11th century French Talmudic commentator Rashi.

He was a joyful grandfather to Somaya and Kalina with a sense of humor and a twinkle in his eye. When asked by daughter Lila for words he would like to share in his last days, he said, 'Don't put on airs,' a cleaned up translation of the more colorful French original, 'Il ne faut pas péter plus haut que son cul.'

He is survived by his wife Connie, daughter Lila, son Lemuel, son-in-law Rodney Guerra and granddaughters Somaya Jimenez-Haham and Kalina Guerra-Haham.

There will be graveside services at CBI Cemetery #3 in Pflugerville on Friday, October 5 at 10:00 a.m.

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Arrangements By

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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