Greenwich, Conn. — Stig Host of Greenwich, died on Wednesday, Jan, 9, 2013, at home. He was 86 years old and was married to Jeanne Grinnell Host for 62 years.
He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. His father left Denmark moments before the German invasion. They had received information on German troop movements and all of the Møller ships were instructed to ignore future orders from Copenhagen and divert to neutral or allied ports. He later ensured that the Danish ships were deployed for the benefit of the War Shipping Administration. Stig and his mother and two sisters remained in Denmark under German occupation for 18 months before embarking on a journey that took them to Berlin, Rome, Lisbon, Bermuda and finally New York.
Stig went to sea at 17 and served as a deck officer on convoys in the North Atlantic during World War II. After the War, the family stayed in the United States and Stig entered Harvard College, graduating in 1950. In 1949, he introduced himself to Jeanne Grinnell, a student at Vassar, at a concert at Lewisohn Stadium, and they were married on February 24, 1951.
Stig’s career with Mobil Oil Corporation took the family around the world. He opened the first Mobil office in Japan in 1959 after Standard Vacuum was dissolved, served as president of Mobil Oil Italy during a period of great growth from 1968-1972, and moved to London as vice president for Mobil Europe with responsibility for Austria, Switzerland, Greece and Cyprus.
In Rome, he served as a trustee of the Overseas School and of the Temple University School of Art, and on the Fulbright Commission promoting cultural exchange between the United States and Italy. President Saragat awarded him the Grande Ufficiale Order of Merit of the Italian Republic for outstanding service to the country, with special emphasis on his support of the Campania Region in the less developed southern part of Italy, and of the Spoleto Art Festivals.
In 1984, he lost his son, Alexander Host who was doing graduate work in water quality at Tufts. Sandy drowned in James’ Bay at the end of a 600-mile canoeing expedition on the Albany River. He was an ardent environmentalist, and Jeanne and Stig established in his memory the Alexander Host Foundation, dedicated to the environment. The Foundation has supported conservation and education projects in New Hampshire and Vermont.
His family’s involvement in the Danish Resistance in World War II, and the loss of an uncle who was imprisoned for his part in the Resistance, led him to write and speak publicly on the evacuation of the Danish Jews to Sweden during World War II. He was a trustee of the American Scandinavian Foundation for more than two decades and was instrumental in helping the Foundation locate to its present quarters on Park Avenue.
He loved his adopted country and particularly the people and the mountains of New Hampshire. He and Jeanne enjoyed summers in Orford, where Jeanne had gone as a child, and skiing the White Mountains.
In 2004, the Daughters of the American Revolution honored him with their Americanism Medal for “extraordinary qualities of leadership, trustworthiness, service and patriotism [and] outstanding ability in community affairs, preferably with emphasis on the foreign-born community”. He concurrently received a citation of recognition from the Connecticut General Assembly, and recognition by the Town of Greenwich.
Stig is survived by his wife and by three sons: George of Greenwich, Christian of Wallingford, Pa., and Amory of Boulder, Colo.; by nine grandchildren, Elizabeth, Brooks, Paige, Rachel, Alex, Philip, Chanel, Marco and William; and by one sister, Marianne Harrison of Greenwich. His sister, Mette predeceased him.
In lieu of flowers, any donations to the Alexander Host Foundation, 35 Mason Street, Greenwich, Conn. 06830 would be appreciated.