Renowned French chef Jacques Pépin is mourning the loss of his wife Gloria Evelyn Augier Pépin, who died Saturday. She was 83.
“She passed away peacefully in her own bed in Madison, CT, with Jacques, her daughter Claudine, her son-in-law Rollie, her granddaughter Shorey, close friends Tom Hopkins and Reza Yavari, and her beloved pup Gaston, by her side,” a statement posted to Pépin’s Facebook page read.
Gloria is survived by her husband, daughter Claudine, and granddaughter Shorey.
“We are overcome with grief, but Gloria was a fighter: a strong, resilient, ‘spill-no-tears’ woman. She would no doubt urge us to get on with living our lives and continue to do the work we were meant to do,” the post continued.
Gloria, born in New York City on June 19, 1937, of Puerto Rican and Cuban heritage, worked in the music industry in her 20s and met her beloved husband of 54 years while skiing in Hunter Mountain N.Y. Pépin, at the time, was a ski instructor, and Gloria signed up for lessons despite being an “excellent skier” in order to spend time with the Frenchman.
“He was so cute, I thought he was probably gay,” she reportedly remarked, per the statement posted to Facebook.
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The duo tied the knot in 1966 in longtime food editor and New York Times restaurant critic Craig Claiborne’s home in Long Island, N.Y., among a slew of notable chefs. The couple lived at an artists’ retreat on Hunter Mountain and relished in “food and wine and joie de vivre.” Their daughter, Claudine, was born in 1967.
Together, Pépin and Gloria opened a small soup restaurant in New York City’s Midtown neighborhood in 1970.
“Through it all, Gloria was his partner, his strength, his rock,” the statement read, describing the mother and grandmother as “stately, dignified and classically elegant.”
Jacques Pepin, seen here in 2017, had married wife Gloria in 1966.
(Brad Barket/Getty Images)
The post went on to detail Pépin and Gloria’s unwavering love for each other, particularly during the hardest of times. In 1974, Pépin suffered a “debilitating car accident,” and “Gloria showed her immense strength and resilience when, with limited resources, she nursed Jacques back to health,” the statement described.
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As Pépin grew famous, Gloria is remembered as remaining humble and true to her down-to-earth roots.
“She worshipped the sun and warmth. They wintered for years in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and later on Amelia Island in Florida. At least once each year they would sail on Oceania Cruises to someplace warm and delicious. We know that Gloria has now found a place full of sun and warmth and love in many hearts,” the post continued.
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There will be no funeral gathering due to COVID-19 concerns; however, there will be a “Boules’ des Dimanche Club” party with all of Gloria’s loved ones on her birthday, per her request, in June 2021.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested condolence gifts be donated to “the food insecurity or animal welfare charity of your choice,” as Gloria wished.