James De Vries, 62, passed away in Paris, France Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. Born to Hans and Mary Lou De Vries in Estherville Nov. 6, 1954, he grew up in Eagle Grove, Sigourney, Sully and Newton, graduating from Newton High in 1972.
Always unconventional, he hitch-hiked across America for several years, visiting 40 states before enrolling at the University of Iowa, where he developed a sharp intellect and an empathy for all people. After graduation, he worked in the foreign student support office and helped welcome newcomers from all corners of the world adapt to Iowa City. One of those students was a young woman, Esther Heboyan of France. They fell in love, married and relocated to Paris in 1982, where they raised two children.
In France, he worked as a translator, technical writer and aspiring journalist. His passions were his children, Roman history and world politics. He was pleased to recently get opinion pieces published in major newspapers but his journalistic progress was unfortunately cut short by cancer.
He is survived by son, Nathanaël; daughter, Lily Jane, Esther Heboyan; father Hans; and three brothers, Steve, John and Charles. A memorial service was Sept. 20 in Paris.