To the Editor:

Gerrit Kouwenhoven, one of Vermont's most distinguished citizens, has left us.

His full life of the most wide ranging engagement with the world was marked by a matchless integrity. It seems like he served on the boards of every charitable organization in Vermont, and that he had been the president of most of them.

He was a teacher and a mentor. He seemed to know everybody, and he was loved and revered by every degree of society. The many stories of individuals that he helped at some important point in their lives cannot be counted. Often he was chosen as a father confessor, sometimes by those he hardly knew. Who but Gerrit would notice a child with a sad or troubled face getting off a school bus? The morning after our devastating house fire four years ago, there was the big man at the bottom of the driveway - how could he have known so soon? - calm and smiling, and he enveloped me with his compassion.

He taught me patience. Even now I look to see him, but he is gone. He was my friend, and the greatest man I have ever known.

Austin Chinn

Dorset