Simone Desbrosse Vest, 82, native of France with an impressive knowledge of botany, ornithology

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Simone Desbrosse Vest
Simone Desbrosse Vest

Simone Desbrosse Vest died Nov. 9, 2015, at Heron Cove Nursing Home in Gloucester. She was 82.

She was born in a small village outside of Périgueux, France and grew up in the Dordogne region before moving to England in 1952. She met and married Ervin Vest, who was stationed there with the U.S. Air Force. She immigrated to Louisiana in 1956 and became a citizen a year later. She became a Virginian after they settled in Hampton in 1967, and resided over the rest of her life in Gloucester, Grafton, Alexandria and Williamsburg.

She loved gardening and nature and had an impressive knowledge of botany and ornithology. She was also a fan of classical music and an opera buff. In later life, she traveled extensively around the U. S. and the world and thoroughly enjoyed visiting new places and learning about local culture and arts. She had a soft spot for cats and they loved her, too.

In 1972, she and her husband purchased and renovated Showan, an 18th-century home in Gloucester thought to be the caretaker’s house for the adjacent Airville plantation. They enjoyed growing a wide variety of fresh vegetables. They also harvested pecans from the large trees on the property and she made wonderful pecan pies. Indeed, she was a marvelous chef, blending her native French cuisine with traditional southern cooking.

She was a federal employee for most of her career from 1963 to 1994 and served at the Federal Aviation Agency at the Tampa airport, the Department of the Air Force at Langley AFB and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. She also tutored English as a volunteer in Williamsburg after retirement.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Ervin and her brother, Jean Desbrosse.

She is survived by her son, Kevin Vest (Patricia); grandsons, Samuel Vest (Carol) and Daniel Vest (Michele); and sisters-in-law, Mavis Jacqueline “Jackie” Blankenship (Leon) and Linda “Gayle” Lane (Charles “Shorty”).

The family is very appreciative of the love and care that Mrs. Vest received from the staff of Sanders Assisted Living.

Memorials may be given to the Heritage Humane Society, Williamsburg.

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