JACKSONVILLE- Kent Straat, 86, died on Thursday, February 18, after a long battle with cancer. He died in the place he most loved, the home he designed, surrounded by his adoring family.
Mr. Straat often recalled his younger days of coming to Vermont in his little VW bug whenever he could to ski. He loved everything about Vermont, especially the people. When he and his dear wife Donna finally settled in Jacksonville more than 30 years ago, it took eight years of “roughing it” in “the shed” before their dream of a house - with plumbing - was realized.
Mr. Straat built deep friendships with his neighbors and people in the area through his love of tennis, painting, and cooking. When his daughter Hilary would jokingly comment that he’d done something like a true Vermonter, he would respond with the most joyful laugh, for it was obvious that for him that that was the greatest compliment.
Mr. Straat was born in Norwalk, CT, on November 7, 1934, the only child of Kent and Margaret (Fish) Straat. He grew up in Norwalk where he graduated from Norwalk High School and received his BA from Lehigh University. He served his country in the US Army from 1954 to 1957.
He began his career at Bethlehem Steel, then worked for IBM, and for many years was an executive recruiter at William H. Clark & Associates in New York. A direct descendent of Dirck Straatmaker who emigrated from Holland in 1642, he was active in genealogical groups. He served as president of the Sons of the Revolution in New York, and as president of the Saint Nicholas Society, and was also an active member of the Holland Society. He and Donna loved ballroom dancing, where he served as president of the Dinner Dancers and the Waltz Series in New York. He loved to cook and entertain family and friends, and was a prolific painter.
Mr. Straat is survived by his wife of 60 years, Donna Miller Straat, as well as his son, Theodore Straat, his daughter, Hilary Rath, and his three grandchildren, Casey, Dylan, and Mattie Rath. The Liturgy of Christian Death was held on Thursday, February 25, at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Wilmington. Burial will take place at St. John’s Cemetery in Norwalk in the spring. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Deerfield Valley Health Center, c/o Covey Allen & Shea Funeral Home, PO Box 215, Wilmington, VT 05363.