Gilbert Jean Barthe passed away peacefully at home on February 20. Born in 1926, he grew up in Blan and Soual, small towns in Southern France. As a teenager during the German occupation during WWII, Gilbert fought with the French Resistance to prevent the Germans from penetrating farther into France. He later joined the French Army and was stationed in Algeria. Gilbert's career in the restaurant industry began in 1954 when he emigrated to Montreal, Canada, and led him to San Francisco, where became maitre d' at the Ondine Restaurant in Sausalito. Shortly after marrying his wife, Patricia Naughton Barthe, in 1966, Gilbert was asked to manage the new Mirabeau restaurant Oakland. One of the restaurant's patrons, Robert Beaupre, President of the Seattle First National Bank, was so impressed that he decided to open another Mirabeau in Seattle, and Gilbert and his family moved to Redmond, Washington in 1969 in order to become co-owner and manager. The Mirabeau became a Seattle institution, known for its fine food and dazzling views from the 46th floor of the former Sea-First Building. Gilbert sold the Mirabeau in 1987.
Ever since he was a young boy, Gilbert had a passion for hunting and fishing, although for him, the game and fish were more for the table than to put a trophy on the wall. While he remained French through and through, he loved country music, the beauty of the American West, and the ranchers and cowboys that call it home. He was most at home swapping stories with his friends in their hunting cabin, grilling fresh-caught fish next to a river, or sharing a cup of coffee with a local in a cafe in Eastern Washington, Wyoming or Montana.
His greatest pleasure was preparing memorable meals for his family and friends. In his speech at his 80th birthday party, he said, "Here I am...a perfect specimen of the "French Paradox"...we drink, we smoke, we put butter on everything, and still we out live the average American!" He is survived by his wife Patricia; daughter Maryse Barthe of Cayrols, France; daughter Michele Walker and son in law Terry Walker of Snohomish; daughter Jennifer Graves and son in law Paul Graves of Clayton, CA; son Gilbert Barthe and daughter in law Cari Barthe of Snoqualmie; son Patrick Barthe of Kirkland; and his beloved grandchildren Camden and Chase Graves, Madeline and Trent Walker, Bradan and Addison Barthe and Alexis Barthe. A memorial gathering was held April 12, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the Hollywood Schoolhouse in Woodinville.
Seattle Times Obituary can be found at: legacy.com/obituaries/seattletimes/obituary.aspx?n=gilbert-jean-barthe