M. JOHN H. WANSINK, a native of the Netherlands who was an officer in the Royal Dutch Army, a world traveler, mountain climber and all-around adventurer, wound up a proud American citizen who lectured his grandchildren on how lucky they were to be born in the U.S.A.
He died last Thursday after a fierce battle with cancer. He was 78 and lived in Malvern.
John packed more action into his 78 years than most people even dream of. But when he arrived in the U.S. in 1955, after he and his wife had pondered living in Africa or Australia, he set about to become a successful businessman in several enterprises.
"John never regretted moving to the United States," his family said in an obituary. "John repeatedly told his grandchildren, 'You are lucky to be born a U.S. citizen.'
"He felt he was living proof that with hard work - and a little bit of luck - anyone can make it in the U.S.A. Until his last days, John would rise to salute the U.S. flag and its servicemen."
He was born in Rotterdam the eldest of the two sons of Marinus and Hendrika Wansink. He survived five years of German occupation during World War II and had a lifelong gratitude to the American troops who liberated his country. In fact, he developed a close friendship with many of the troops who lived in the Philadelphia area.
John received his early education in the Netherlands and served six years as a first lieutenant in the Royal Dutch Army.
He married the former Ada van't Hoog in 1955. They embarked on numerous adventures. They traveled through Europe and across the Alps to Italy, carrying camping and mountaineering equipment on a small motorcycle. They climbed mountains and crossed glaciers.
Late in 1955, each carrying one suitcase, they arrived in the U.S.
"The couple believed that the U.S. held the American dream," the family said. "And though they continued to travel for vacations to destinations such as Europe, Africa, Mexico, Thailand, Asia, Canada and the Caribbean, they made the U.S. their home."
John's first business was a small import firm that was later augmented by a chartered-aircraft-service venture. He worked hard to build the business, coordinating 21-hour flights to Europe by a four-engine propeller airplane.
Later he became vice president of the International Service Corp. of INA Insurance Co. As a risk- management consultant he developed several successful companies.
He and his wife were proud to become American citizens.
He was active with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5203 in Paoli.
Besides his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Marian Schweighofer; a son, John H.; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by a brother, Johannes.
Services: 2 p.m. today at the D'Anjolell Memorial Home of Malvern/Frazer, 392 Lancaster Ave., Malvern. Friends may call at noon. Burial will be in Valley Forge Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the American Cancer Society, 1615 West Chester Pike, Suite 102, West Chester PA 19382. *