John W. Hartigan, Accomplished Engineer, Sales Executive, and Passionate Sailor, Passes Away at 89

by Madonna

DARIEN, CT – John William Hartigan, a multifaceted individual known for his roles as an engineer, sales executive, and avid sailor, peacefully departed this life on January 14, 2024, surrounded by the love of his family. He was 89 years old. John is survived by his devoted wife, Karin, and leaves behind a legacy of diverse accomplishments and a life filled with shared passions.

Born on November 28, 1934, in Syracuse, New York, to Mary (Perkins) Hartigan and John Joseph Hartigan, John’s early years were marked by multiple relocations. His family eventually settled in Rutland, Vermont, where John, true to his friendly nature, quickly made lasting connections, culminating in his graduation as the president of his senior class.


A proud Vermonter, John’s love for skiing blossomed on the slopes of Pico in Vermont, where he became a skilled skier and a dedicated member of the ski patrol. His academic excellence led him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he pursued engineering, was a member of the Chi Phi fraternity, and showcased his musical talents as a clarinetist and saxophonist in dance bands.


During his college years, John demonstrated his commitment to both education and service by joining the Army ROTC, attaining the rank of captain. Following graduation from MIT, he commenced his engineering career with Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut and later with NBC in Manhattan.


However, John’s magnetic personality and affinity for people eventually steered him towards a different path. Earning an MBA from Columbia, he transitioned to a successful career on Wall Street, starting at Smith Barney in Hartford before venturing into investment banking with Bear Stearns in Manhattan and San Francisco. He later returned to Smith Barney in Manhattan, where he played a pivotal role in securing large pension accounts.

John’s zest for life extended beyond the professional realm, as he was an accomplished sailor who participated in numerous Block Island Off Soundings race weekends, earning accolades and sharing his passion for sailing with family and friends. His love for the water led him to own several boats, fostering family summers spent cruising through New England’s picturesque islands.

Married for 41 years, John and Karin primarily resided in Darien, where they actively engaged in community life, supporting their son Matt’s Blue Wave teams and cherishing moments with friends at the Tokeneke Club and Wilson Cove.

In his later years, John found solace and joy at the lake house he and Karin owned on Lake Champlain in Westport, New York. Surrounded by the beauty of Vermont, he hosted gatherings that epitomized his love for family and friends, ensuring warm ambiance with lit candles, a roaring fire, and glasses always full.

John is survived by his loving wife, Karin; brother, Richard (Judy) of Southington; children: Jack (Cathie) of Wilton, Anne-Marie of Manchester, and Matthew (Margaret) of Wilton; grandchildren, Jackie (Chris) of Milford and Will of New York City; great-grandson, Luca of Milford; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother, William, of Salt Lake City, Utah, and his parents.

A funeral Mass in celebration of John’s life will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 20, 2024, at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, 1986 Post Road in Darien.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Lucky Dog Refuge in honor of John’s memory.


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