Obituary: Pieter Johannes Hoets
Pieter Johannes Hoets, a 31-year resident of Darien, died on Aug. 28, at Stamford Hospital. He was 93 years old and remained active until his last days. He was born in the Netherlands, a veteran of World War II, an attorney, a naturalized U.S. citizen, and a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather, his family said.
Mr. Hoets was born on April 24, 1921 in The Hague, the Netherlands. He was the second child of the late Pieter P. H. Hoets and the late Jeannette Hoets- Semster of The Hague and formerly of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. His older brother was the late Dr. Hendrik W. Hoets of Apeldoorn, the Netherlands.
Mr. Hoets grew up in The Hague, the Netherlands and attended the Netherlands Lyceum high school. After graduating high school, he studied law at the University of Leiden, completing his L.L.M. law degree shortly after the outbreak of World War II.
On May 10, 1940, Nazi Germany invaded and occupied the Netherlands. As a patriot, Mr. Hoets joined the Dutch Resistance, gathering intelligence for the Allies and disrupting German occupation. When the Nazis captured the leader of Mr. Hoets’ resistance group, Mr. Hoets eluded Nazi pursuit and escaped to neutral Sweden. He reported to the Dutch Embassy in Stockholm, providing intelligence briefs. Via a B-24 Liberator aircraft of the United States Army Air Forces, Mr. Hoets was flown from Sweden to the United Kingdom. In London, England, he joined the Netherlands East Indies Army, Special Operations Bureau. Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, he worked in Dutch Sector intelligence and security, under Allied Command.
After World War II, he attended Yale Law School, in New Haven, and obtained a Masters in Law. He returned to the Netherlands and worked in the legal department of K.L.M. Royal Dutch Airlines.
In 1953, he married Geertjen De Decker of The Hague. The next year, Mr. Hoets, Geertjen, and their young son Hendrik immigrated to the United States, where they eventually naturalized as American citizens in 1961. Their second son, Anthony, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. At the University School, Shaker Heights, Ohio, Mr. Hoets taught Latin and history, while he completed legal studies at the Cleveland Marshall Law School, obtaining a Juris Doctor degree (cum laude) in preparation for the Ohio State Bar exam.
After passing the Ohio State Bar, he joined the Coca-Cola Export Corporation. As its general consul, he worked in New York, N.Y. and eventually transferred to London, England, from where traveled extensively in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, directing the legal affairs of the company. After retiring from the Coca-Cola Corporation, he worked as an attorney at Jones Day law firm and Reid and Priest law firm in New York, N.Y. After Reid and Priest, he joined an international legal team commissioned by the Philippines Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and recovered a portion of the ill-gotten wealth that the former Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos had accumulated and stashed away in secret bank accounts around the globe.
Sharing his time, energy, and knowledge, Mr. Hoets was an active member in several associations and clubs.
He was the former president of The Netherland Club of New York, N.Y., the former president of the Anne Frank Center, New York, N.Y., and was a member of the Netherland — America Foundation, New York, N.Y. In addition, he was a member of the Tokeneke Club, Darien, the Darien Senior Men’s Club, the Special Forces Club, London, England, and The Hague Cricket and Soccer Club. In his most cherished association, he was an active member of the Englandvaarders Association; the group of Dutch men and women who escaped Nazi occupied Holland and joined the Allies to carry on the fight against the tyranny of Nazi Germany.
For his services to the Netherlands, Mr. Hoets was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau, under Royal patronage. For his efforts in World War II, the Netherlands awarded him military medals including the 1940-1945 War Cross, the Cross of Merritt, and the Resistance Memorial Cross. He was also awarded the Cross of the European Confederation of Former Combatants. With a strong passion for writing and a deep interest in history, Mr. Hoets authored five books published in the Dutch language, chronicling his adventures and interests: Vrijgevaren! (1976), Englandspiel Ontmaskkerd (1990), Spookspoor naar Moskou (1996) De Yale Connection (2000), and Buitengaats! (2006).
As a sportsman, he participated as an athlete in rowing, soccer, cricket, and field hockey. He was an avid fisherman and enjoyed hunting with his older brother Hendrik. Mr. Hoets regularly attended his grandchildren’s ice hockey, field hockey, and football games. Despite a bitter cold December day with 17 degrees temperature, Mr. Hoets attended the 2011 Connecticut State High School Class LL Championship football game between Staples and Xavier High Schools at Rentschler Field, East Hartford.
He is survived by his wife, Geertjen Hoets - De Decker of Darien - their marriage spanned 61 years - and his two sons, Hendrik P. Hoets of Westport, and Anthony W. Hoets of New York, N.Y., and two grandchildren Jeannette U. Hoets, and Pieter B. Hoets. In addition, he is survived by his nephew, Pieter, A. Hoets of New Canaan, and niece, Hetteke Hoets of Amsterdam, and their respective children including Erik, Paul, and Anniek, Pieter’s life serves as an inspiration and example for all of us, his family said. Family, friends, and neighbors will always remember Pieter’s good nature, optimism, determination, smile, and laughter.
On Saturday, Sept. 6, a private memorial service will be held for Pieter J. Hoets, in Darien.
Memorial donations can be made in his name to Darien EMS Post 53, P.O. Box 2066, Darien, CT 06820.
— by The Darien Times