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Gilbert Sedbon laid to rest in Paris

Former correspondent Gilbert Sedbon, who served Reuters for 48 years, was buried near Paris on Thursday in the presence of former colleagues who together represented an aggregate of several centuries' service to Reuters. Some had been managers for entire continents; others had stayed in the Paris bureau throughout their careers as invaluable office assistants, Bernard Edinger writes. All were linked equally by their affection for their former colleague, who died on Saturday aged 94.

His widow Yolande, sons Eric and Thierry and their families were joined by Reuterians who had worked with Gilbert: Jack Altman, Nguyen Khac Dung, David Lawday, Julian Nundy, Stephen Somerville, John Stephens, Paul Taylor, Ngo Thao, Pierre Tran and yours truly. Taylor attended both as a friend and as Thomson Reuters' representative. Also present were other journalists like Jonathan Randall of The Washington Post who had been close friends of Gilbert as well as of other Reuters correspondents in Paris and elsewhere.

The funeral service, at the Cimetière Parisien de Pantin, was conducted by Rabbi Michael Williams, British head of one of the best known Jewish Reform congregations in Paris.

This reporter, entrusted by the family with speaking on behalf of Gilbert’s former colleagues, recalled some of his legendary exploits such as the time he held up the Vietnam peace talks in Paris in the early 1970s. Ultra-conscientious as he was, Gilbert had entered the conference hall before the start of one day’s proceedings to check seating arrangements because changes sometimes indicated important diplomatic developments.

Spotting a text on an empty table, he scooped it up and discovered it was an important statement scheduled to be made that day. Assuming it was an extra copy, he took it away and dictated a story to the Paris office for release once the statement was delivered. Meanwhile, delegates searched frantically for the document which turned out to have been the only existing copy of the statement.


PHOTO, left to right: John Stephens, Nguyen Khac Dung, Ngo Thao, Stephen Somerville, Paul Taylor, Yolande Sedbon and Suzanne Edinger shortly before the start of the service. ■