Delmar Calvert (94), peacefully passed away on April 11, 2019, at his home in Lake Oswego, OR.
He was born in Venice, CA on July 28, 1924. He was the third child out of four. At the age of three, he moved to Paris, France, with his family. Soon thereafter the family moved and settled in Tunisia, French Northern Africa. A very tall Delmar, at the age of 14 1/2, with his 18-year-old brother, Charles, joined the French Foreign Legion. Together they were assigned to a Calvalry unit, and sent to boot camp in Algeria. Delmar fought on horseback with the Regiment Etranger de Cavalrie during WWII against the Germans in France. Following France's surrender to Germany in 1940, Delmar traveled first back to Tunisia, then Casablanca, Morrocco.
He took Fencing classes that were offered to Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Foreign Legion Officers. He learned that he was a natural and had a true gift to the sport. He competed in National and International competitions for the French Army Fencing Team, he was a successful competitor in Europe. Delmar received the Silver Medal by the French Government's Ministry of Youth and Sports. As a Fencing Master, Maitre Calvert holds French and American accreditation.
When the US forces began their invasion of North Africa in 1942, Delmar was under the command of a pro-Nazi officer. He decided to lead a group of soldiers who surrendered to the U.S. led invasion force. After surrendering, he was recruited by the U.S. Military Intelligence, but he requested a fighting unit and was assigned to General George Patton's 7th Armored Division for the invasion of Tunisia and Sicily. After the occupation of Sicily in 1943, Delmar was recruited by the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services. This, because he was fluent in not only the English and French languages, but also Italian and Arabic. After special intense training to become a Spy and Saboteur, he participated in Operation Justine as a Special Commando, and parachuted behind enemy lines in the Vercors region of France. Delmar fought with a small group of men who teamed up with the Maquis (French Resistance) to wreak havoc on the German Army.
He was discharged from the U.S. Army, following the war, in 1946, and returned to the U.S., California, the State where he was born. He taught Fencing in Southern California for several years.
He decided to use his GI Bill, and because of his admiration for classical music, he moved to Chicago to study at the DePaul University and Sherwood Conservatory of Music. Following his graduation in 1955, Delmar worked as a Fencing Master at Salle Calvert in Chicago, while keeping a day job as a Social Worker. Delmar's Salle won on several occasions the Midwest Championships - both team and individual events in all three weapons. During this time a Physician friend introduced Delmar to a French young woman who was employed at a Chicago Hospital. They started dating, fell in love, decided to get married in 1956.
Delmar was given a position of Fencing Master at L.A. Athletic Club, LAAC. He moved with his new bride, Irene, to California. In 1965 he received his Master's Degree. He continued to teach Fencing at LAAC, as well as the California Institute of Technology, for 20 years. He was recruited to coach Fencing at University of California - Santa Cruz, where he coached for 10 years, until his retirement in 1991. During this time, he was the personal coach for 17 National Champions and nine Silver Medalists.
Because of his excellent record, he was appointed to coach numerous National Teams, which included U.S. Olympic Squad, in all three weapons; Epee, Saber, and Foil.
Delmar and his wife moved to Lake Oswego, Oregon to start enjoying their retirement. However, Delmar missed instructing students the art of fencing; he decided to coach part-time at the Maitre d'Armes at Fencing Salle Trois Armes in Portland, until about 2012. Two years later this lovely couple moved to a retirement facility in Mt. Angel, OR. His wife was struggling with Dementia, and Delmar devoted all his time to take care of her.
She passed away in 2017. Delmar moved back to Lake Oswego. Through the years, Delmar was invited to France to be awarded the title of Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur by French President Jacques Chirac, for his Service during WWII. In 2004 he went to France again, this time to receive the Croix the Guerre, for his Service during WWII, while he was in the Foreign Legion, when he at age 15 1/2 destroyed two large German tanks.
He earned a Congressional Gold Medal for his Service in the OSS.
Delmar was unique, very compassionate and courageous, with a wonderful sense of humor. He was also a self taught true historian. Reading, enjoying and composing classical music, playing piano, going to the opera, and symphony, were some of his passions.
Delmar and his wife enjoyed many long road trips, often with their dog Clunk in the back seat. Although they never had children of their own, they adopted and were parents to many rescued pets, they nurtured and loved immensely.
Delmar, you are truly missed. But for the particular person you were, many are giving their thanks and say that nothing can take away their admiration, memories, love, and respect for you.
Delmar is survived by his companion Corrie, his cats Mimi and big Louis, and many delightful friends in the fencing community.
There will be a Memorial Service Saturday, July 20, 2019 at 2 PM, at the River View Cemetery Adams Chapel 0300 Taylors Ferry Rd. Portland, Oregon.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation in Delmar Calvert's name to: MtAngel Monestary, Attn: Fr Vincent Trullij, 1 Abbey Drive, St Benedict, OR 97373, Or, The Oregon Humane Society, 1067 NE Columbia Blvd, Portland, OR 97211.