John Rich, 86
John Daniel Rich passed away on Dec. 7th, 2013 of cardiac arrest at his home in Wilton, CT. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, December 14th at 11:00 a.m. followed by a life celebration at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 36 New Canaan Road in Wilton.
John was born in New York City on May 29, 1927 to Lester and Jonita Rich. He was the grandson of the founder of Rich’s Dept. Store, in Atlanta. John attended Horace Mann School for Boys and graduated with a B.S. from Wharton School of Economics in 1948 where he was a member of Delta Upsilon. After graduation John lived in France, working for the US government under the Marshall Plan, to help revive the French wine industry by introducing wine producers to the nascent US market. During his time in Paris, John earned a certificate from the Sorbonne.
John studied the drums at an early age with renowned Dixieland drummer Cozy Cole (Louis Armstrong’s drummer), led several dance bands at Penn, and took one band to Europe after graduation. The culmination of John’s musical career was playing with Al Hirt at Preservation Hall in New Orleans.
John become a passionate wine connoisseur and was the youngest member of the elite Chevalier de taste du Vin in Europe. He returned to the United States in 1953 with French wine importer Dreyfus, Ashby. During this time he met his wife, Nanette Offray. They were married in St. Thomas, USVI in 1957.
John left the import business and entered the advertising industry during the “Mad Men” era on Madison Avenue in the early 1960s. He was on the marketing team that developed and introduced the American Express credit card. John and his young family moved to an apple orchard on Olmstead Hill, in Wilton CT in January 1962.
John became President of Bossard Consultants in 1985. John was a partner in DeTurk, Rich and JDR Associates management consulting firms. He served in Morocco as a member of the Business Council of the United Nations before moving in 1990 to St. Thomas, USVI, where he taught business at the University of the VI.
John was an active member of the Wilton community for over 50 years, playing drums in Wilton Playshop productions, most notably in “Cabaret” in 1970. He served on the founding board of the Wilton Family YMCA. John was well known for his annual apple picking festival on Olmstead Hill. John was pre-deceased by his daughter, Denise de Mille Rich, and is survived by his wife of 56 years, Nanette, his three children Karen, Douglas and Bryan and his four grandchildren Tyler, Corey, Ariel and Aragon.