Herbert George Cathery June 29, 1931- September 2, 2016
September 11, 2016
I have written a couple of eulogies in my life; one for my partner, and one for a college friend. I did not have to read either of them at the funeral. Thank God for that. I am not certain that I could complete such a speech without totally breaking down. That is the one sign of the damage done to my psyche: I am easily emotional. I met Bert 38 years ago when I started dating his daughter. I went on to marry the girl, and to become a full member of the family. I honor his memory and our close relationship through this obituary. Bert died abruptly after 18 months of deteriorating health. He was ready, but that does not make it any easier on those that he left behind. His ashes now rest with his wife’s in the south of France.
Herbert George Cathery, the oldest of six children, was born and raised in southern England during a time of great turbulence. In his later years, he wrote a book about those youthful years (Tide-End-Town 1939–1945 England: The War Years, 2008). Growing up, he attended public school and pursued his love of science and engineering at Twickenham Technical College. Bert was a tall, handsome, and athletic young man, full of life, and hard to miss in a crowded room. It was in a crowded room, at a party at his best friend’s house, that he met a short, vivacious exchange student from the south of France, Marlyse Beuchat. Bert’s love for Marlyse altered and defined his life, taking him beyond England. They were married in 1957. Together they raised three children, living in England, France, California, and finally in Portland Oregon.
Bert worked for several science and technology companies in England and in the United States. It was in Portland though, that he made his mark. He began work at Tektronix, before founding Electros, a company developing an electron microscope. His later employment by Code-A-Phone (a maker of answering machines) emphasized his technologic expertise, worldliness and civility. Bert traveled extensively through Asia, on behalf of Code-A-Phone, meeting with suppliers and other manufacturers. He adapted easily to the Japanese and Korean culture: The 6’4” Englishman made an unforgettable impression in the office or dining out at night with business associates. His tailored shirts and suits from Seoul only added to his charm. Over the years, he made good friends and established lasting business relationships.
At home, Bert was a cultured man of many interests: He and Marlyse loved the theater, classical music, and dance. They played tennis together, making quite the contrasted opponents on the courts at Raleigh Park. Bert was an exceptional photographer: Marlyse and the children were his constant subjects. He was able to capture and express life’s beauty and joy on film. He had his own darkroom for a time, though most his work is preserved on thousands of slides. His bearded self-photos from the 1970s are hilarious. Bert was a fine cook with an attention to classic English dishes. Admittedly, only his son Bruce appreciated morning kippers in milk. However, his daughters are still trying to recreate his fabulous pancakes. He loved the south of France and the life that his wife brought him. He continued to travel after Marlyse’s death in 2005, visiting Africa, Antarctica, and cruising down the rivers of Europe.
Bert died Friday morning, September 2, 2016, after suffering a massive stroke the preceding afternoon. His passing was quiet and peaceful, with family at his bedside. Above all else, Bert loved his family; he lived his life as an expression of that love. His son Bruce, his daughters Dominque Bernardo and Natasha Hill, and his siblings Ted Cathery, Patricia Billet, Pam Leadbetter, and Cherry Cockerham survive Bert. There is no memorial service scheduled at this time. Please raise a glass to his memory. His ashes will join those of Marlyse on the waters of Sormiou in Provence.