Fernand (FT) Gilles Marie Tersiguel
March 12, 1942 – July 24, 2020
On Friday, July 24, 2020, Fernand, age 78, passed from this life to the next; beloved husband to Odette, devoted father and father-in-law to Michel and Angela, loving grandfather to Lucas and Landon. He is survived by older brother Yves Tersiguel, older sister Germaine Rolland, sister-in-law Aimee Even, and many nieces, nephews, and grand-nieces and nephews.
Fernand was born in Brittany, France to Michel and Marie (Hemery) Tersiguel on March 12, 1942. Fernand spent his formidable years helping on the family farm and attended boarding school. He later joined the French Army, serving two years.
He and Odette were married in 1963. It was in that same year they would move to the United States. Both shared a dream of coming to America to work, and return home to their native country, France. Through hard work and dedication, FT was quickly met with success in New York City. In 1966, he was hired as head bartender and manager at Du Midi. From this experience, he opened his first restaurant, La Poularde in 1968. This success put Fernand on a national stage. In 1972, he was recruited by the state of Maryland tourism industry to bring his success to Maryland. He relocated and began managing the Cross Keys Inn in Columbia. From there, he moved to Papillion in Ellicott City. In 1975, he and Odette opened Chez Fernand on Main Street in Ellicott City. Thus began a forty-five year love affair with the Ellicott City community. In 1984, Chez Fernand was met with a devastating fire. The restaurant moved for short period of time to Baltimore City, or as it was endearingly referred, the restaurant by the Shot Tower. In 1990, Fernand and Odette returned to Ellicott City, opening Tersiguel’s French Country Restaurant. Fernand would spend the remainder of his career at 8293 Main Street, greeting guests, friends, family and French students for close to thirty years.
Fernand made a career in making people feel welcome and that they belonged. When he wasn’t cooking alongside Odette, or standing at the podium to greet guests, he was a dedicated member of the community. He was actively involved with the Masons, establishing Ellicott City’s business association, the National Family Resiliency Center, Burleigh Manor Middle School Music Program, and the Sunrise Rotary Club of Ellicott City.
Fernand enjoyed coaching Michel in soccer for many years, playing boule, cheering on Rennes Football Club, and the Baltimore Ravens. He loved a glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a baguette and his French cheese. He loved spending time in his garden, and hosting guests to the farm or the bar.
Fernand’s greatest gifts and joy came long after an established career and success. His joy was in his grandsons, spending time with them, teaching them French, and watching them at basketball games, taekwondo, or swim meets.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Sunrise Rotary Club of Ellicott City, PO Box 849, Ellicott City, Maryland 21043.
A celebration of life will be held in the future due to COVID-19 restrictions.
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Sunrise Rotary Club of Ellicott City