Joseph Nathaniel French I (1888-1975)

Draftsman and architect with Albert Kahn Associates, Inc.

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Joseph Nathaniel French I (1888-1975) MIT graduate; Draftsman and Architect with Albert Kahn Associates, Inc. (b. October 24, 1888, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA – d. February 28, 1975, Livonia, Wayne County, Michigan, USA) Social Security Number H362094717.

Birth:

He was born on October 24, 1888 in Boston.

Education:
He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated in 1911.

First marriage:
He married Amie Gertrude Lathe (1885-1921) around 1912 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Children:
Juanita
Leslie French (1913-1978) who married Hugh Robert Murchie (1915-1978);
and Christina Lathe French (1915- ) who married William Stuart Charles
(1918-1980)

Fairlane Manor in Dearborn, Michigan:
He was put in charge of the last stages of construction on Henry Ford’s Fairlane Manor in Dearborn, Michigan in 1913.

Albert Kahn Associates, Inc.:
Joseph
worked for Albert Kahn Associates, Inc. in Detroit, Michigan, starting
in 1914 as a draftsman then as an architect. While at Kahn he was chief
architect for the Fisher Building in 1928. In 1930 he worked for the
Russian government. One of his projects was the steel work of the
General Motors Futurama building at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. He
worked on the design of the Chrysler plant near Kansas City. He retired
in 1967.

Second marriage:
He married Yolanda Christina Erlina
Tandberg (1902-2003) around 1920. Yolanda was the daughter of Thorvald
Martin Tandberg I (1874-1970); and Alvilde Marie Naess (1875-1933) of
Norway. Yolanda was 14 years younger than Joseph.

Children:
Carolyn
Alvilde French (1927- ) who married Victor Louis Kochajda (1926- ) on
April 28, 1945 in Fort Knox, Hardin, Kentucky; Natalie Joan French
(1931- ) who married Anthony Mario Cangelosi (1928-1985) and after a
divorce married George King Cheatham, Jr. (1928- ); Joseph Nathaniel
French, Jr. (1933- ) who studied Shakespearean Theatre in England and
married Reba Louella Emerson (1941-2006); and Yolanda Erlenia French
(1935-1976) who married Robert Charles Mills (1935-1986) and after a
divorce married Edward Joseph McHugh on January 14, 1966, and after a
divorce married David Peter Henning, Sr. (1932-2005) on August 05, 1971
in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan. Yolanda and her son Bobby were killed in a
car accident caused by a drunk driver.

Ralph Tandberg and Sigrid Andreassen:

Sigrid
Marie Andreassen (1905-1940) was married to Ralph Christian Andreas
Tandberg (1901-1995). Sigrid died in 1940, and the children, Adelma and
June lived with Joseph and Yolanda in Detroit, Michigan.

Memories about Joseph French:
Clifford
Milner wrote on May 27, 2006: Joe went to MIT. His training was more as
a draftsman and he was Chief Draftsman at Kahn’s and then I guess he
ended up being an architect there. One of his projects was the steel
work of the General Motors Futurama building at the 1940 New York
World’s Fair. He also was involved with a big Chrysler plant near
Kansas City. In the early 30′s he was one of the architects that worked
for the Russian government. When he came back, because of the
depression, he was out of work and he and his family lived at our farm
up in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. Joe has two [relatives] who are
architects. One is my son, the other is the son of Juanita or Kristina.

Death:
He
died on February 28, 1975 in Livonia, Wayne County, Michigan. He was
buried in Roseland Park Cemetery at 29001 Woodward Avenue, Berkley,
Michigan.

Funeral notices:

Joseph N. French, Fairlane
Architect. Services for Joseph Nathaniel French, a retired architect,
will be at 1 p.m. Monday at St. Paul Memorial Church, 14025 Hubbell.
Mr. French, 86, died Friday in his home in Livonia. A graduate of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he came to Detroit in 1913 to
work as an architect on Henry Ford’s home, Fairlane. He joined the
architectural firm of Albert Kahn Associates in 1914 and retired from
that company in 1967. In the meantime he had served as chief architect
for the Fisher Building, taught methods of industrial construction in
Russia and during World War II, designed installations for the Army and
Navy throughout the world. Surviving are his wife, Yolanda C.; five
daughters, Mrs. Juanita Murchie, Mrs. Christina Charles, Mrs. Victor
Kochajda, Mrs. Natalie Cangelosi and Mrs. David Henning; a son, Dr.
Joseph N.; one sister; 22 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Mr. French was a member of William M. Perrett Lodge No. 524 F&AM
and Detroit Commandery No. 1. A Masonic service will be held at 7:30
p.m. Sunday at the Lambert Funeral Home, 15443 Greenfield. Private
burial will be in Roseland Park Cemetery.

Joseph N. French,
retired architect. Services for Joseph Nathaniel French, retired
architect, will be held at 1 p.m. Monday in St. Paul’s Memorial
Episcopal Church, 14025 Hubbell at Grand River, Detroit. Private
internment will follow. Mr. French, 86, died Friday in his Livonia
home. A 1911 graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he
moved to Detroit in 1913 to work as architect on Henry Ford’s home,
Fairlane, in Dearborn. He joined the Albert Kahn architectural Firm in
1914, and was a chief architect on the Fisher Building for the firm.
During World War II he designed buildings and sites around the world
for the U.S. armed services. He retired in 1967 after 52 years with
Albert Kahn Associates. Surviving are his wife, Yolanda C.; five
daughters, Mrs. Juanita Murchie, Mrs. Christina Charles, Mrs. Carolyn
Kochajda, Mrs. Natalie Cangelosi and Mrs. Yolanda Henning; a son, Dr.
Joseph N.; a sister; 22 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Masonic memorial services under the auspices of Wm. M. Perrett Lodge
No. 524, F&AM, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the Lambert
Funeral Home, 15443 Greenfield.

Image:
Joseph French in 1931 in Russia. Image from the collection of S. Cangelosi.
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