It is with deep sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of John W. "Red" van der Kieft III on September 28, 2023. John was the son of Mr. John W. van der Kieft II and Patricia Eakin van der Kieft. He was born on August 20th, 1937, in Norwalk CT. He was 86 years old.
John attended Hindley, Royle and Holmes Elementary Schools, Darien Junior High School and graduated from Darien High School in the class of 1955. During his high school years, he played JV football, varsity hockey, and ran cross country. In summers, he worked construction on I-95. John then went on to attend Lafayette College and graduated from Boston University's College of liberal arts in 1961. John was the Rush Chairman of Sigma Phi Epsilon and a fine tennis player. He enlisted on November 17 1958 by K Company, 6 Regiment, Army ROTC and was a member of the National Society of Scabbard and Blade. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army Artillery Branch upon graduation.
John was a graduate of the Army Airborne School of Fort Benning, Georgia. During the Cuban missile crisis, he served as the Launch Platoon Leader at Battery D, 4th Battalion, 59th Artillery Brigade, the closest missile battery to Cuba. After serving in the military for two years, he began his career in consumer advertising and marketing. He started at NBC-TV in the network sales department and then moved on to work at various account management positions at advertising agencies including Benton and Bowles, SSC&B, William Esty, and Warwick Baker & Fiore. He worked on Noxell and Heineken accounts.
John was one of the founding members of the Darien Junior Hockey League and coached for eight years. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Darien YMCA. John served as a Representative from District V in the RTM and was Chairman of the Planning Zoning & Housing Committee. He was a member of the Republican Town Committee and a Board member of The Republican Club of Darien, where he served as Vice President of Communications. He was also a member of the Darien Sail & Power Squadron and served as Treasurer for four years. John was a part-owner of the Darien clothing store, Inez. In 2008, he was awarded the Darien Old Timers Award by the Darien Oldtimers Athletic Association.
Raising his children and grandchildren, John had a deep sense of family values and traditions. He encouraged them to discover nature through frequent hikes along the Hudson, the Adirondacks, the White Mountains and his commitment to the Appalachian Mountain Club and Norwegian Trekking Association (Norwegian: Den norske turistforening).
He greatly enjoyed visiting his family in Holland, Germany, England, France and Australia. In the 1800s the van der Kiefts emigrated from The Netherlands to Cuba. To avoid the Cuban Revolution with Spain they eventually immigrated to Orange, New Jersey, finally settling in Darien, Connecticut.
The day of his passing coincided with the last supermoon of the year, the "Harvest Moon", like John known for the color red.
John is survived by: Wife Michele Trowbridge Montgelas, who is also from Darien. They have three children: John IV, Barbara Latimer, and Daphne Bourne. Additionally, they have two granddaughters, Kyle and Sloane Latimer, and four grandsons, John V and Jason van der Kieft, and Connor and Willem Bourne as well as John's two younger brothers Michael and Peter van der Kieft.