André J. Navez, 89, of Hopkinton died Nov. 7 at his home. He is survived by his beloved wife, Christine R. Whittaker, who was a British civil servant and became a lawyer and Episcopal priest after emigrating to the United States. His first wife, Judith L. Grapperhaus, died in 1992 after 29 years of marriage. There are no children from either marriage.
André’s parents were Belgian. His father, Dr. Albert E. Navez, came to the U.S. after World War I in the first group of Commission for Relief fellows and spent 10 years at Harvard. Later, he taught at Milton Academy, was director of science education for the city of Newton, and then was on the faculty of Boston University. He was Belgian consul in New England for many years. André was born in Cambridge and graduated from Milton Academy, Harvard College, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and the National War College. He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army at Thule Air Base in Greenland for 16 months and was a AAA battery commander in Belmont.
He entered the U.S. Foreign Service in 1960 and was posted abroad to Vientiane, Laos; Stanleyville and Bukavu in the Congo; Fort Lamy, Chad; Brussels, Belgium; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Djibouti, Djibouti. In Washington, he had assignments to the Executive Secretariat, Bureau of Personnel and Bureau of African Affairs in the Department of State and on detail to NASA’s Office of International Affairs.
When he retired, Andre returned to an old farmhouse that had belonged to his parents in Hopkinton. He expanded and modernized the house, doing much of the construction himself, cleared and planted fields and gardens, and raised sheep and chickens while growing vegetables. He also volunteered on numerous town and private organization committees and boards with a strong focus on land and ecological preservation. He was especially happy to arrange to preserve the 48 acres of his property from development by giving most of the land to the state as a wildlife sanctuary abutting the Upton State Forest and protecting the remaining 6 acres around the house and gardens with a conservation restriction. He pursued a lifelong interest in the natural world, antique cartography, birding and foreign travel in his retirement.
Consistent with his beliefs and wishes, there will be no religious services. He donated his body to medical research and the education of future physicians. Memorial donations may be made to Sudbury Valley Trustees, 18 Wolbach Road, Sudbury, MA 1776. Arrangements are under the care of the Chesmore Funeral Home of Hopkinton.
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