Larchmont’s Oldest Citizen Remembered
Even beyond 100 years old, Joseph Vandernoot had a knack for engaging people
on a multitude of levels, even those generations apart.
“Keeping a class of sixth-graders interested and engaged is no easy feat, but Mr. Vandernoot had the students hanging on his every word,”said Debra Quintana, a religious school teacher at St. Augustine Church, whose class hosted Vandernoot as a guest speaker two years ago.
“It was amazing to see this 100-year-old man connect so well with the group of 10 and 11 year olds,” she said.
But that sort of connection with the Larchmont community, inwhich Vandernoot lived for 66 years, was typical of Vandernoot, who passed away Oct. 21 at the age of 102.
A daily churchgoer (and quite possibly the world’s oldest altar boy), former Town of Mamaroneck supervisor and devoted family man, Vandernoot’s life was celebrated at his funeral Monday – an event one of his grandchildren said was a testament to “one of my best friends.”
“He touched everybody he talked to,” Larchmont resident Ann Betkowski, his granddaughter, said. “He was just an amazing person.”
Married to his late wife, Alice, for 74 years, Vandernoot worked for 45 years at Pressprich & Co., eventually as a Senior V.P., andplayed an important role locally during his time on the Town Board, during which time he addressed flood control, expanding playing fields and sharing services with the Village of Larchmont.
In his retirement, Vandernoot helped organizations like the Larchmont Manor Park Society and Friends of the Reservoir, and was a founding member of the Knights of Columbus.
With friends, church leaders and great-grandchildren playing, Monday’s funeral was just the sort of celebration that would have made Vandernoot very happy, Betkowski said.
“He would have loved it,” she said “And I’m sure he did from wherever he was.”
Joe was a great man, for our town and village, and every individual who knew him.
I’m sad to hear of Joe’s passing. I knew him through my work at LIFE Center/Sheldrake, and always enjoyed speaking with him. After not seeing him for a couple of years, he still knew who I was at 101! He had a sharp mind and a quick wit. I will miss him.
Was he the last of Larchmont’s Knickerbockers? He was among a few decedents of the original Dutch Colony in New York. He was a true gentleman and loved our community. I am very glad I knew him.