Former Westport first selectman John Kemish dies at 93

Former Westport First Selectman John Kemish, who died April 25, 2021 at age 93.

Former Westport First Selectman John Kemish, who died April 25, 2021 at age 93.

Courtesy of the Town of Westport /

WESTPORT — Former Westport First Selectman John Kemish died late last month at age 93, according to a statement Wendesday from current First Selectman Jim Marpe.

According to Marpe, Kemish died April 25. He served three two-year terms as Westport’s first selectman, from 1967 to 1973.

Prior to that, Kemish was Westport’s first professional controller (a position now known as finance director), and “played a pivotal role in the purchase of Longshore Country Club for the town under then First Selectman Herb Baldwin,” according to Marpe.

As first selectman, Kemish is credited from protecting Cockenoe Island from plans to build a nuclear power plant on the site. Other reported achievements of his include acquiring the Wakeman Farm as open space, establishing the town Beautification Committee and playing a role in the development of the original Levitt Pavilion.

“Those accomplishments notwithstanding, I understand that John was a dedicated public servant who placed the issues and concerns expressed by many Westporters first,” Marpe said in his statment. “I know that generations of Westporters have and will continue to benefit from his due diligence, calm demeanor and leadership capabilities. On behalf of the Town of Westport, I want to express my sincere condolences to his wife, Gloria, his sons, James and Steven, and his entire family.”