John W. Hetherington

Former Connecticut State Representative John Warner Hetherington died at home on Flag Day surrounded by his family 246 years after the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777. He was 84. John was a true gentleman, a patriot, a loyal friend, and a scholar. He loved his family and his country deeply, and had a quiet, yet strong faith.

John was born in Queens, New York, on August 15, 1938, to John Kells Hetherington and Susanna Louisa Warner.

He spoke thoughtfully, often with a wry sense of humor and led by example. He retired with the rank of Captain after 30 years of Navy and Navy Reserve service. His military career included time on the USS John R. Pierce (DD-753), an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer.

John moved to New Canaan with his wife and children in 1983. Like many, he commuted into New York City daily, yet always made time for family and to participate in town committees and organizations.

A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, John worked at the Federal Reserve district bank of New York as an attorney and practiced maritime law before joining the legal department of West Virginia Pulp & Paper Corporation (Westvaco) in the 1960s. He retired from MeadWestvaco and joined Rucci, Burnham, Carta & Carello, LLP (Rucci Law Group, LLC) in New Canaan, where he did trust and estate work, and helped bring a successful class action lawsuit against CNA Insurance for its failure to pay long-term care insurance claims.

John represented New Canaan and the western portion of Wilton (125th Assembly District) in the Connecticut General Assembly from 2003 until 2013 when he did not seek re-election. He thoroughly enjoyed his time in Hartford, particularly when he was able to help constituents solve a difficult problem. He served on several committees, and one of his many highlights was being Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee. He understood that everyone wants to be heard and took time to listen, consider and respond to every phone call or letter he received.

In addition to his love of history, John cared deeply for animals. His passion for life and knowledge, and his interest in model trains was passed to his children and grandchildren.

John battled Alzheimer’s disease and died following two strokes. He is survived by his wife, Hope, his two children, Kells and Jane, and their spouses, Alison Hetherington and Greg Loop, and his two granddaughters, Charlie Loop and Lydia Hetherington.

We will miss his unwavering love, wise counsel, and endless array of bow ties.

A memorial service will be held at the New Canaan Congregational Church at 11 AM on Saturday, June 24. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the Connecticut Humane Society or the New Canaan Food Pantry.