Karel den Tex

Mystic - Karel den Tex, 92, died at home on Aug. 27, 2014.

He was born Aug. 13, 1922, in East Greenwich, R.I. His parents, Nicholas Jacob den Tex and Ermgard nee Baroness Taets van Amerongen van Woudenberg, had emigrated from the Netherlands in 1920, for his father's work as an aircraft designer. In the 1920s Karel and his mother and sisters spent much of their time in the Netherlands with her parents. His grandfather was Chamberlain to Queen Wilhelmina from 1914, until his death in 1940.

In 1930, the family moved to western Montana where Karel's father had acquired a dude ranch. This was a very impressionable experience for them, and Karel's love of the outdoors stems from that time. In 1938, their mother moved back to the Netherlands with the children, and Karel started school. He determined to study for a baccalaureate to gain admission to a university. Germany invaded in May 1940, and Karel was interrogated as a foreigner but allowed to go free as he was an American. When the U.S. entered the war, he was forced to go underground for the duration. Nonetheless, he managed to complete his studies for university admission and passed the national exam in 1942, when the Germans closed the school.

At the end of World War II in 1945, Karel attained a new U.S. passport and came to the United States. His U.S. godparents made a home for him, and he went to work. He studied a semester at Trinity College in Hartford and enlisted in the Army to do his U.S. service in addition to his underground service. After basic training, he was made an Air Force Counter Intelligence Corps agent because of his language skills was and assigned to Germany.

After his discharge, he entered MIT in 1948, and graduated in 1951, with a degree in mechanical engineering. While at MIT he was president of the MIT Student House and for several summers kept it open to accommodate Foreign Student Summer Project students. He joined IBM Corp., where he spent his career and was awarded a number of patents in the electro-mechanical field.

He and Anita "Ann" Triplett Cummings were married in 1953, in St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Beacon, N.Y. They were transferred from New York to Stuttgart, Germany, Lexington, Ky., Augsburg, Germany, Rochester, Minn., and decided to retire in Mystic in 1983.

Karel was the ultimate "fixer" of anything and was notably sparing with materials, having a grand collection of parts and hardware for most anything in the house. He was very active all his life. He laid out the 10 kilometer cross country ski trail in Rochester for the Sierra Club, continued Alpine skiing and distance ice skating and participated in several 100 mile bike tours. Karel, with his wife and children, wilderness camped from Maine to the West Coast and particularly relished the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. In Mystic, he spent a number of years as a volunteer, keeping the Stonington Lighthouse in repair as well as the Mystic Art Center. He was a member for many years of the Mystic Seaport Gung Ho Squad, was a Seaport Pilot, and a member of the Ram Island Yacht Club. He had a great affinity for sailing, and it provided him with many adventures. He and his wife developed an interest in tribal art and culture and made a number of visits to Oceania, Borneo, Indonesia, Australia, New Guinea, and West Africa, to witness life as it was.

Karel is survived by his wife, their daughter, Adrienne Louise den Tex of Mystic; their son, Charles Williams den Tex of Snohomish, Wash.; and a grandson, Nicolas Russell Ergle of Seattle, Wash.

A memorial service will be held at a later date at the conveneience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Karel's memory to the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, 58 Federal St., New London, CT 06320 or the G.W. Blunt White Library at Mystic Seaport, Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, CT 06355.

Published in The Day on Aug. 29, 2014