He was born in Mexico City to Dutch parents and learned English only when he was sent to the Choate School in Wallingford, Conn., at the age of 13. At Princeton he joined Quadrangle Club and majored in basic engineering.
He graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1957 and completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Duke University. He completed his cardiothoracic surgical training in Houston with Drs. DeBakey and Cooley and then moved to Erie, Pa., where he began his surgical practice.
In 1971 John moved his family to Amarillo, Texas, where he became a U.S. citizen and faithfully served the people of the Panhandle until he retired in 2002.
John is survived by Nan, his wife of almost 60 years; four children; 13 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.