Ruurd Gerben Leegstra
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04/04/1940 – 02/17/2020
The Life Of: Ruurd was born in Amsterdam, Holland, and with his family emigrated to the United States in 1945. His parents had both been active in the Dutch Resistance to the German occupation, and in later years, Ruurd with the help of a good friend was able to have his mother recognized by Jad Vachem for her heroic act of hiding a Jewish child in her home. This recognition for Ruurd was extremely important, and he received this posthumous award for his mother, making his acceptance speech in Dutch. Ruurd “grew up” in Rye, New York, and attended Rye public schools. He became a Naturalized Citizen in 1956. Duke University was his next stop and after four years, he entered the US Navy as an Ensign. The Vietnam War was in full battle, and he like many other men served for three and a half years. In 1964, he married Elaine Ricci in Rye, New York. They met in high school. Following his Honorable Discharge as a Lieutenant Junior Grade, in January of 1973, he attended St. John’s Law School on the GI Bill and received a law degree. He never practiced law, but passed the CPA Exam as well, and in 1978 was admitted to Coopers and Lybrand as a tax specialist. He would achieve Partnership with Coopers and later be admitted as a Partner with Price Waterhouse. His position was to establish a State and Local Tax Practice. He and Elaine moved to Greenwich and have resided there since 1984. In 2000, his professional career with Price Waterhouse Coopers (now merged) ended with mandatory retirement at age 60 for all partners. The interim period was filled with volunteering, (Meals on Wheels, Red Baron Greenwich Hospital), enjoying his boating experiences at Riverside Yacht Club and traveling. He loved to cook and with Elaine attended “cooking school” in Italy, indulged his passion for collecting stamps, coins, books and serving on the board of Westchester Country Club in Harrison, NY. He also served on the Board of Silverhill Hospital in New Canaan, CT. His second career presented itself in 2003 when he was invited to become the Chief Financial Officer at the hospital. He served until 2015. During this time, the hospital was renovated, upgraded and enhanced by the addition of more programs. It is a full service and independent psychiatric hospital. In 2015, his life changed when he received a diagnosis that indicated the onset of dementia. Still making an effort to remain active, he “worked out” three days a week, traveled when he could and attended the Horseneck Club or the Nutmegger Club when he could, During this period, the devotion of good friends allowed him to attend these gatherings because he could no longer drive. Those faithful friends drove him to and from those weekly lunches and dinners and assured him that he still had a place in the world. Having been a student, sailor, reader, collector and husband for all those years, the rapid onset of a rare disease interrupted his health a month ago. “Good Pasture” is an auto-immune condition which attacked his system, and he died in Greenwich Hospital. The superb care he received and the efforts made in an attempt to extend his life ended on Monday, February 17, 2020. A funeral mass is planned for Saturday, February 22, 2020 at 10:00 A.M. at St. Catherine Church, Riverside CT. Burial will follow in the family plot at Putnam Cemetery and a reception will follow for family and friends at Riverside Yacht Club. Elaine wishes to thank all those who were able to help Ruurd achieve his life goals and enjoy himself in life itself. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to charities that benefit veterans. To leave an online condolence please visit www.castiglionefh.com