Jean Louis Matocq was born 3 November 1933, to Pierre and Josephine Matocq-Grabot on a remote farm between the small southern French villages of Coarraze and Benejacq. He and his ten brothers and sisters grew up working on the farm during the German occupation of France. Because of limited resources at home, he had to leave at the age of 16, and chose to begin building his life in Paris, France. There, he took various and sundry jobs, given his lack of education and experience, but eventually worked in the finest restaurants including those of the Eiffel Tour. His passion for education led him to complete high school and obtain a diploma in restaurant and reception from The Paris Hotel School, all while working full time. It was during his eight years working and living in Paris that he met the love of his life, Jeannine Montagut.
Jean came to San Francisco in July 1958 to pursue his American Dream, and was joined by his sweetheart Jeannine almost two years later; they were married the following week at Notre Dame des Victoires in April 1960. Jean’s sponsors Odon and Jeanne Lackay, and their extended network of family and friends, became Jean and Jeannine’s American family. Jean worked as the maître d’ at the famous San Francisco Trader Vic’s for ten years where he hosted (and charmed) some of the greatest stars of the day. Eventually, with Jeannine by his side, they established and operated three restaurants and two motels. Later as a real estate broker, Jean bought and sold numerous homes and businesses, and even published his autobiography. Jean’s son, John, received a Master’s degree in business and is regional Vice President for Kaiser Permanent. Jean’s daughter, Marjorie, received Master’s and Doctorate degrees in the biological sciences, and is Foundation Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Jean’s interests included world travel, world history, war history, geography, physical fitness, sports, and music. Jean was known for his beautiful tenor voice. When living in Paris he regularly entered contests and won first or second place; he graced both of his children’s weddings by singing Ave Maria.
Jean was a devoted son, husband, father, grandfather, and brother. He is survived by his beautiful wife of 60 years, Jeannine; his son John and daughter Marjorie; grandchildren Julian and Gisele, Rowan and Morgan; daughter-in-law Lisa and son-in-law Chris; brothers Leon, Clovis, Andre and sisters Margot, Elise, Lucienne.
As a little boy, Jean dreamed the seemingly impossible while living on an isolated farm with no running water, no electricity, limited access to education, and the ravages of war. His life and that of his family are the epitome of the American Dream.
Non, rien de rien.
Non, je ne regrette rien.