~~Fernande Odette Juliette Roche Bischoff
May 15, 1912 – July 26, 2015
Fernande Odette Juliette Bischoff lived all of her 103 years with courage and commitment, driven by her deep love for family and friends. She was born in the small town of Genainville, France, outside of Paris, to Georges Philippe Alexandre Roche and Elisa Marie Rose Petit. Following the death of her father, at the young age of fourteen, she first left home to find a small attic room in Paris and work as a nanny to send home what she could of her fifteen dollars a month salary to help support her mother.
With only brief sporadic visits home to Genainville, Odette remained in service for many years. She was later employed as a kitchen maid for the Volterra family and was eventually chosen to be the personal maid of Madame Volterra herself, the future ‘Lady Mayoress’ of Saint Tropez. Five years later, she joined the Strassburger family as personal assistant to May Strassburger, heiress to the Singer Sewing Machine Company. In that role, she traveled extensively, embraced the Paris culture of the late 1920s and early 1930s, and met her beloved husband of 69 years. Hans was a German young man who served as a valet in the same household
With the late 1930s in Europe being a challenging time for the newly married French and German couple, they moved to the United States to build a home and family. Odette faced the challenges of learning a new language, developing new friendships (many that lasted a lifetime) in an unfamiliar place, and raising her two children while supporting her husband’s new business venture to import German beer to New Jersey. She faced both the sorrows and joys of life with strength, faith, and sacrificial and loving care for those dear to her. An excellent cook, who added a Parisian flair to German cuisine, she offered joy and laughter to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren through endless rounds of card games and RummiKub, stories of her life adventures, and numerous knitting projects–all with a wonderful twinkle in her eye. She often said that her family was her legacy. May we live our lives with the same courage, grace, and sacrificial love.
Odette spent decades living with her family in a small brick home on Fairmont Avenue in Chatham, NJ before she and her husband retired to Florida. She passed away peacefully in Orlando, FL with her grandson Michael by her side. She was and always will be the beloved wife of the late Hans Bischoff. She is survived by her five grandchildren, Eric Bischoff of San Jose, CA; Valerie Cooley of Amherst, MA; Amy Kirk of Boise, ID; Ted Tremain of Richmond, VA; and Michael Tremain of Lookout Mountain, GA. She is also survived by her daughter-in-law, Noel Bischoff of Naples, FL, and her thirteen great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by her two children, Robert Bischoff and Jaqueline Bischoff Tremain.