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Obituary: Christine Francoise Kenmore

Mother, trailblazing attorney, volunteer, traveler

Christine Francoise Kenmore, a sharp-witted, trailblazing corporate attorney who traded the big law firm grind for a quieter life in Claremont, died on March 3 after a decade-long dance (as she liked to call it) with cancer. She was 62.

Christine was born in Philadelphia on October 27, 1959 to Robert Kenmore, who owned Cartier New York, and his gemologist wife, Rosemarie. She spent her youth in Manhattan and later at a boarding school in Switzerland for which she had little love.

When Columbia University refused her application because they did not accept women, she earned a philosophy degree at Barnard College instead. Some of her fondest memories of those college years were exploring the gritty 1980s New York nightlife and spending summers at the beach on Fire Island.

After earning a law degree from Boston University, she spurned an offer from a Wall Street firm and joined Brobeck Phleger & Harrison in San Francisco, ultimately becoming one of the youngest women admitted to the partnership.

She met her first husband, Christophe Ertaud, while on a sabbatical in Paris. They returned to the United States and soon had a son, Alex. In 1993, the family moved to Los Angeles, where she became the senior commercial loan workout attorney at Wells Fargo Bank. Their second son, Remy, was born shortly after the 1994 Northridge earthquake in, as she would often recount, the hallway of a damaged Kaiser Permanente hospital in Los Angeles. Though her marriage to Christophe ended, they remained friends and co-parents for the rest of her life.

At work, clients and opposing counsel were frequently left speechless by her imposing intelligence, exhaustive (and exhausting) rhetorical skills and frequent ability to find creative solutions not immediately obvious to others.

She and her second husband, Eric Sanders, also a Los Angeles attorney, had a daughter, Genevieve. In 2006, she left the corporate world and the family relocated to Claremont. Life there was a contrast to the hurly-burly world of Los Angeles, but she quickly became involved in the Apples for Sycamore program at Genevieve’s school and served several terms on the board of directors of House of Ruth. The couple made new friends in Claremont and enjoyed frequent trips to Paris and entertaining in their home in Padua Hills. When asked during those years for her occupation on any form, Eric would teasingly suggest “homemaker.” This seemed not to bother her at all.

She is survived by her husband, Eric Sanders; son Alexander Ertaud of Bishop, California, who with fiancee Kathryn Britton recently welcomed Christine’s first grandson, Felix; son Remy Ertaud, a pastry chef in Paris; daughter Genevieve Sanders, a senior at her mother’s alma mater, Barnard College at Columbia University; and former husband Christophe Ertaud.

She is also survived by her mother, Rosemarie Kenmore of Claremont; her brother, Robert “Robin” Kenmore of New York; and her stepmother, Ayse Manyas Kenmore of New York.

She was predeceased by her father, Robert H. Kenmore.

A private interment service was held at Oak Park Cemetery in Claremont.

Memorial contributions may be made to House of Ruth at https://houseofruthinc.org/.

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