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News & Blogs: In Memoriam

Remembering Donate Dobbernack (LGB '62)

mardi, 29 septembre 2015   (2 Comments)
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Donate Dobbernack in 2009Donate Dobbernack (pictured right), an active and enthusiastic member of the Ecolint alumni community, died in Geneva during July at the age of 72. A gathering of some of her former classmates and those she had worked with on alumni-related matters took place at La Grande Boissière last week. She will be greatly missed.

Donate retired in 2003 following a long and illustrious career at ISSA, the International Social Security Association, a section of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva. In addition to serving on the Central Committee of the Alumni Association, she also provided considerable support, particularly on IT-related matters, both to the Alumni Office and individual members of the community. 

Notably, along with Georgia Achard (LGB '60), she ran a dedicated website group for the LGB '58 to '64 alumni. She also contributed to last year's 90-9-90 Project, where her responses made plain the important place Ecolint continued to hold in her heart.

While she died of a heart attack between 11 and 12 July 2015, no formal announcement of her passing was possible before now due to administrative complications. In addition to the Ecolint gathering on Wednesday 23 September, an official funeral ceremony was held on Friday 25 September. Her ashes are to be buried in the same cemetery as her parents in Petit-Saconnex.

Memorial gathering for Donate Dobbernack, Wednesday 23 September 2015. (From left to right) Karin Raton (LGB '70), Sue Anthony, Georgia Achard (LGB ''60), Marie-Claude Le Pin Zerbini (LGB '62), Viry Ferro (LGB '62), Jean-François Gay (LGB '62), Françoise Blanchard-Durand (LGB '62), John Buffle (LGB '62), Hélène Durand-Ballivet (LGB '60), Bernard Plojoux (LGB '62) and Ursula Marthe-Groeflin (former teacher LGB).

During last week's gathering in the Salle Stereva at LGB, Georgia Achard and Viry Ferro (also LGB '62), read aloud tributes that they had received from around the world in the weeks since Donate's death, as the news spread through the community. She touched the lives of many people, whether during her time at school or in more recent years through her involvement with alumni activities.

Below are just a small selection of the words that have been written about Donate, both by former classmates and other friends from among the Ecolint Alumni.

"Donate était une amie loyale, une grande dame, élégante, intelligente, curieuse, ouverte, franche, généreuse toujours prête à rire et à faire rire, mais sachant aussi piquer une colère lorsque quelque chose l’indignait."

"Nous nous rencontrions toujours à la Place Claparède pour prendre le tram pour l'école, nous avions 12 ou 13 ans. Il y a des années que je ne l'avais plus vue, mais je garde le souvenir de sa figure gaie avec son grand nuage de cheveux. Cependant il semble qu'elle a eu une mort rapide et sans souffrance, quelle bénédiction."

"Nous étions souvent placées l’une à côté de l’autre en classe et Donate était toujours sage et raisonnable. Je me souviens qu’elle me racontait ses vacances sur la Mer du Nord et qu’une année en particulier, il y avait fait très très chaud… En bonne méditerranéenne, tout cela me paraissait invraisemblable… Depuis, j’y suis allée et j’ai bien compris son attachement à ce paysage et à ce pays."

"Notre "petite" Donate nous a quittés pour rejoindre ses îles nordiques aimées, emportant avec elle , son sourire et ses rires communicatifs merveilleux."

"Donate was that rare person: she knew a lot about a lot of things, she had a razor sharp analytical mind, great insights and the patience of a saint. Oh, and a wonderful sense of humour."


Some of Donate Dobbernack's former classmates, LGB '62: Viry Ferro, Marie-Claude Le Pin Zerbini, Jean-François Gay, Françoise Blanchard-Durand, John Buffle and Bernard Plojoux.



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Zafar Shaheed says...
Posted jeudi, 9 juin 2016
It will be a year already, next month, that Donate died. Too soon...I knew her from our work together at the ILO, and she always struck me as a great combination of professionalism, tact, and grace, with an underlying fine humour. Before the ILO, long ago, we, the Shaheeds, were neighbours with the Dobbernacks, in Chemin Thury. Her younger sister was closer to us in age, so more likely to join us in our play, Donate more likely to breeze past, in the natural prerogative of the older, more mature and so beautiful young woman that she already was. That poise never left her, but she would kindly descend from that pedestal one might place her on, to laugh and chat with me later at the ILO. She encouraged me to join the ECOLINT Alumni Committee, where she was busy. I regret I never took her up on this suggestion (supported by other friends) - if nothing else, it would have allowed me to see more of Donate. God bless her.
Nancy M. O'Connor (Myers) says...
Posted jeudi, 1 octobre 2015
Quelle tristesse d'apprendre que Donate nous a quittés. C'était une bonne amie, droite, loyale, équilibrée, toujours souriante. Nous n'étions plus en rapport, mais je suivais de loin tous ses efforts au profit d'Ecolint et de notre génération d'anciens... Je suis heureuse, en revanche, de retrouver des visages connus et aimés, mais perdus de vue: Viry, Marie-Claude, Nanouk, Bernard! Donate aura contribué une dernière fois à reserrer les liens entre ses anciens camarades. Nancy (Myers) O'Connor

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