- About Us
Richard Vernier, 89, died suddenly Saturday, February 17, 2018 at his home in Enumclaw. Born in Clermont-Ferrand, France, February 1, 1929, to Marcel and Marie-Jose Vernier, his childhood was marked by constant movement and instability during the period of the German occupation of France. He immigrated to the United States in 1951, and served in the U.S. Army as a medical corpsman in Japan during the Korean conflict, 1952-3. He became a naturalized U. S. Citizen in 1954.
After separation from active duty, he spent several years becoming familiar with this country, working in the photographic industry in New York. Though his studies took him in a different direction, the visual arts were a constant motif throughout his life. Richard decided to pursue an academic career and began graduate studies at U. C. Berkeley in 1957, where he earned a PhD in French Literature. He married Kathleen Manion in 1962, and they had three sons. For thirty years he taught modern French literature and poetry, publishing widely on the subject, while writing several books of his own poetry and fiction. Among the institutions he taught at were the University of Washington, 1966-1972, and Wayne State University in Detroit, from 1974 until his retirement as Distinguished Professor in 1994. Upon his retirement he and Kathleen chose to return to Washington, settling in Enumclaw. Never one for inactivity, Richard continued his scholarly pursuits, focusing on the literature and history of France during the later middle ages. He published two books in English on the subject, The Flower of Chivalry: Bertrand Du Guesclin and the Hundred Years War (2003) and Lord of the Pyrenees: Gaston Febus, Count of Foix 1331-1391 (2008) both published by Boydell.
Always a lover of early and classical music, Richard played the violin from childhood and in retirement took up the viola da gamba, enjoying participating in the very active early music scene in Seattle until arthritis and hearing loss forced him to put down his bow in his last years. Most recently he took up drawing and painting in watercolors, and was excited about exploring new artistic media right up to the very last.
Richard is survived by his wife Kathleen, and his three sons, Matthew, of Fort Collins Colorado, John of Bloomington Indiana, and Stephan of Aarhus, Denmark.