•••• John Jacob Vanderhorst 1932–2020
John began his life on earth in Venice, California, on May 11, 1932. Mary Louise Ryckebosch and John Jacob Vanderhorst were his parents. His paternal ancestry came from the Netherlands, and his maternal ancestry came from Belgium.
When young “Johnny” was 6 years old, the family moved to a cute two-bedroom home on Jasmine Avenue in Culver City. In 1941, the family purchased a double lot on Braddock Drive and built a home and small store, Cottage Grocery. John’s dad ran the butcher shop, and his mother ran the grocery part of the business. John attended St. Augustine Elementary School and then Loyola High School, in Los Angeles. After graduating high school in 1950, he began his studies in business administration at Loyola University in Westchester.
John’s dad, John Jacob, died in August 1952. John took over the butcher shop while continuing his education at Loyola University, graduating in June 1955.
It was June 13, 1953, when John married his high school sweetheart, Kathryn Kirchen. The newlyweds settled in their home on Jasmine Avenue in Culver City, just a block from John’s childhood home. Their family started with the birth of a daughter in July 1954. The family grew to have 10 wonderful children: Stephanie (Dean), Matthew (Judy), Joseph (Kristi), Paul, Kathryn “Katie” (Kees), Walter, twins Mark and Philip (Esther), Ann (John), and Mary Susan. John was very proud of his children. They have grown to be successful, caring adults. The family now includes 11 grandchildren– Charles, James (Hannah), Brian, Nicholas, Rebecca, Jonathan, Jacob, Stanley, Evelyn, Jackson and Miranda–and one great-grandson, Austin.
After his college graduation, John left the Cottage Grocery butcher shop and began his banking career at Security First National Bank. He started as a teller and worked his way up to vice president, managing loans to the oil and gas industry. But John’s real love was farming, and he moved the family to a 10-acre farm in Fallbrook in 1974, while he continued to work in banking in Los Angeles.
When Security Pacific National Bank was merged with Bank of America, John was offered and accepted an early retirement and devoted himself to developing a new farm on 10 acres of raw land in Temecula. This became his hobby farm. He had a barn built to live in while he worked the land. He planted orchards of limes and avocados and experimented with fruit trees. The farm became known to family and friends as the “Darn Barn,” and it provided years of enjoyment and memories. A perfect place to gather for games of horseshoes, barbecues, bird watching and star-gazing.
John continued to enjoy his farming life until a tumble down the barn stairs at the age of 84 forced a retirement. He sold the Darn Barn Farm in 2016 and began living full-time in Leisure World, Seal Beach. He shared this new retirement life with his longtime friend and companion Cathy Wells.
John enjoyed the simple pleasures in life. He never missed an opportunity to pitch a horseshoe or play a competitive game of dominoes. Bird watching was a true love that had him traveling across the southwestern United States. In his quiet time, he would often dig into a good non-fiction book; he loved history. The cursive writing he learned as a child remained elegant and beautiful, and was always written with one of his collection of prized fountain pens. Classical music brought him pure enjoyment, both at home and at the Long Beach Symphony and Opera.
John completed his life on earth peacefully on Dec. 29, 2020 after a brief illness. He was 88 years old. He leaves behind his children, grandchildren, great grandson and his sister, Mary Louise Hinshaw.