On July 4, Roselyne Prevost died of severe septicemia, just 13 days short of her 70th birthday. I lost a professional colleague and a faithful friend.
Roselyne started her career at AmCham Belgium in 1965. She was 18 and fresh out of school. She worked at AmCham for the next 41 years, retiring in 2006. I first met Roselyne at a Christmas lunch Chez Callens on rue du Commerce. It was December 1977, and I was due to start working at AmCham in January 1978. Roselyne was sitting opposite me and I was immediately struck by her kindness, her love of life and of her family. I was privileged to work with her for the next 28 years.
Roselyne was responsible for office and membership management and, later, of bookkeeping. When I started working at AmCham Belgium, it was way before computers entered our lives. Roselyne was a champion in using inky stencil machines, frustrating addressographs and dinosaur photocopiers. I have since seen these machines in museums and can’t believe we used them in daily office life. Roselyne was very attached to an old typewriter that no one else could use. She would type in record time and without a single typo letters and a full range of notices that were sent to members by post. I often helped her fold these notices and she taught me a special trick to fold them faster. Sometimes, we’d compete to see who was fastest but she always won.
Roselyne maintained all our 900 members’ data on small green cards, neatly organized in filing boxes. She had different color cards for non-members. She knew exactly who was who, who worked for which company, who had paid (or not) and was extremely systematic in her job and totally reliable. When we became ‘digitalized,’ she managed member and contact data as efficiently. Her motto was “Never assume, always verify” and consequently, there was never a mistake in bookkeeping, member data or in anything else she was responsible for. Roselyne was the kind of person who is a treasure in any office: reliable, accurate, dedicated, generous, caring. I admired her immensely.
Roselyne didn’t drive, so I would go and pick her up to go to our evening events such as annual dinners, US Ambassador dinners, marketplace gala dinners and so on. I would drive her back home and we’d chat away both ways. We did this for years, and I have very fond memories of these drives. I never attempted to count them, probably dozens.
Roselyne loved flowers, and, every Monday on her way to work, she’d buy fresh flowers that perfumed her office until the Friday, when she’d throw them out. For her 40th career anniversary, the staff decorated her office with hundreds of flowers. She was so pleased.
Roselyne’s love for her husband , Philippe, and two children, Chris and Gaëlle, was infinite. She would speak of Philippe, Chris and Gaëlle with so much love that it was moving for all of us in the office. A few years before she retired, Philippe and she built a house in Thailand to be closer to their son, Chris, when they retired. Chris was married to Sei, a Thai young woman, and lived there permanently. Roselyne was so proud of this house. The layout of the house was displayed on a board next to her desk and, on a regular basis, new pictures showed work progress. The result was superb: a beautiful Thai house surrounded by tropical trees and flowers. The future was bright.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck in 2015 when their beloved son, Chris, died.
After Roselyne retired, we regularly stayed in touch and lunched with Jo Ann Broger and Sue Wheeler, two of our other AmCham colleagues. We called them our “quadrilateral” lunches. We just cannot imagine not seeing Roselyne again at our lunches.
I posted the sad news on my Facebook wall, and all the messages I received mentioned how wonderful a person she was, warm, caring, a joy to work with. She will be sorely missed by many people.
My special thoughts are with her husband, Philippe, and their daughter, Gaëlle, and her companion, Michaël. May they have strength to cope with this new tragedy: the loss of a loving wife and mother.
– by Sheila Rosseau, former Senior Director, AmCham Belgium