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Nicholas van Laer

June 6, 2014

Southern Shores- Nicholas van Laer died peacefully at home of natural causes on June 6, 2014.

Born in 1928 in Arnhem, Holland of parents Johnnas Adriaan van Laer and Betsy Marcella Veder van Laer, he came to America with his parents when he was 4 years old. He was educated in the US school system and lived in Yonkers, NY. Mr. van Laer received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from St. Lawrence University in Canton NY. Following graduation he joined the US Navy and entered OCS in Newport, RI. After receiving his commission he served in the Amphibious Fleet during the Korean War.

Subsequent to his Navy tour, he spent 5 years in advertising, including time as an account executive with the J. Walter Thompson Company. He then joined the Colgate Palmolive Company as a product manager. During this period, he was the creative genius who conceived of and introduced Colgate-Palmolive’s iconic product, green Palmolive dishwashing liquid, which went on to become one of the world’s most famous and bestselling dishwashing liquids, a distinction it still enjoys to this day.

In 1962, he was transferred to Colgate’s German subsidiary in Hamburg, where he spent most of his career as the General Manager. While in Hamburg, he served as vice president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany. He served 9 years as a vestry member and as Chaplin’s Warden for the Anglican Church of St. Thomas A’ Becket, where he was also a Lay Eucharistic Minister.

After returning to the US he became the International Director of Colgate Palmolive’s world wide toothpaste business. Following his retirement he was a long time resident of Southern Shores. He served 15 years as a volunteer with the Outer Banks Chapter of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), serving two terms as Chairman. He was a founding member of All Saints Episcopal Church of Southern Shores. His favorite pastime during his retirement years was maintaining hives as a beekeeper. He was a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees.

Nick is survived by his wife Helen Louise, nee Ruark, formerly of Baltimore, MD. They rejoiced in nearly 62 years of marriage. He is also survived by his brother Jan and his family, his son Lee Edward van Laer, his son-in-law Harry Hansen, his sister-in-law Patricia Obert and her family, and 4 grand children, Adriaan and Rebecca van Laer and Nicholas and Thomas Hansen. Many cousins in Holland also survive. His daughter, Sarah Hansen, predeceased him.

A memorial service is planned at All Saints Episcopal Church, Pintail Trail, Southern Shores NC, for Monday, June 9, at 2 p.m.

A reception will be held at the church immediately after the service. Interment will take placement at a later date.

Memorial gifts may be made to All Saints Episcopal Church or to Feline Hope. Condolences to the family may be expressed via the online register at Gallop Funeral Services, Inc. was entrusted with arrangements.