Remembering John Vornle

John Vornle von Haagenfels — a much-loved and very active Westport volunteer — died on Friday of a heart attack. He was 55. Here is his obituary:

Often referred to by family and friends as “a man bigger than life,” John was born in New York on July 22, 1958. He spent years traveling the world developing his mind and body, learning life skills that he loved to teach to those who knew him. Growing up in Belgium, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland before re-settling in the United States gave John a unique perspective on life, and living it to the fullest.

From the age of 9 to 18, John was schooled at Aiglon College in Villars, Switzerland. This experience left him with a profound love of the mountains, and an extended family with whom he kept in touch with throughout his life.

John Vornle

John Vornle

He graduated from Colgate University in 1980, and received a MBA from New York University School of Business in 1985. John was the president and managing director of Long Term Capital Company, a manager at Trust American, and a board member of the US-Austrian Chamber of Commerce. His interests included investments, private equity, business development, governance, art, music, and a passionate enthusiasm for the space industry.

John played an active role in his community. He championed many projects for teens and children. He was a troop leader for Troop 100 and the proud father of an Eagle Scout, Guerric. John was the ultimate Boy Scout, always prepared.

He also served on the Westport Youth Commission.

John is survived by his wife of 31 years, Beatrice Vornle von Haagenfels, and their 5 children: Stephanie, Nicholas, Marina, Alexandra and Guerric Vornle, and his parents, Rita and Paul Vornle.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, September 18, at St. Luke Church. The family will receive friends at the Harding Funeral Home in Westport on Tuesday from 5-9 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to fund a memorial art commission about “communication.” It will be donated to the Westport Library with a commemorative plaque, encouraging future generations to use the facility. Checks may be made payable to The Westport Library, with  “Vornle Memorial Fund” in the memo line, or they can be made online — click here.


9 responses to “Remembering John Vornle

  1. I am so sad to read this. My thoughts and prayers go out to Beatrice and the entire family.
    Jill Denowitz

  2. My condolences to his family. I did not know John, but 55 is too young. Hopefully Westporters will remember his contributions to the community.

  3. My husband and I met John earlier this summer at a gallery opening. We must have spent just 20 minutes talking with him but he left such an impression on us. What a wonderful man and a loss for Westport. My condolences to his family.

  4. Armelle Daniels

    A huge loss for everyone. Keeping B & children in our prayers.

  5. I knew John and his family. He was an intelligent, kind, thoughtful and giving person. His son and my son Daniel experienced Scouting together.

    I would often run into him in town and he would always ask me how I was, Daniel and our family. He raised a beautiful family and taught his children the importance of life and community.

    My prayers and thoughts to all of his family and to his wife.

    Lou Gagliano

  6. Roger van Voorhees

    John consistently applied a non-judgmental and validating nature to all people and all things wrapped in a passion for exploration, learning and sharing.
    He recently met an extremely shy and insecure party who suffers from an eating disorder and presents oddly and disconcertingly in appearance. John’s warmth and engaging manner immediately disarmed the fear, opened the heart, and fed seed to this little bird as from an open and non-threatening hand. The real person emerged to break out in song – chirping in chatter with John, renewed – happy to be alive.
    It will and must be a matter of perception that John’s left since he hasn’t left the fabric of our consciousness. Moreover, Rita, Paul, Beatrice and the five stars will shine in testimony to John’s rare combination of attributes – his love resides and radiates in each of them and forever. And so, how is it that the pain of deep sadness won’t go away for knowing this? Quand meme – zut alors!

  7. I knew John very well. He was a truly extraordinary person…always upbeat and fun to be with, wise beyond his years, and willing to help out in every situation. I consider his passing a great personal loss

  8. My sincere condolences to the Vornle family, our prayers are with you. May you find strength through this trying time.


    Brian Nmezi

  9. Sandra & David Robinson

    Our condolences to Beatrice, the
    Children and our old friends Paul and Rita. My memory of John was being twirled around the dance floor at a wedding with great speed..and how kind he was to our daughter Aexandra when she moved toGeneva. He was a special man, full of laughter and energy, and too young to go. Rest in peace.