F.C. Native & Painter John Vanderheyden Dies at 66

John W. Vanderheyden, 66, an exhibited landscape painter in the Washington, D.C., area and central North Carolina, died suddenly on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, as the result of a fall while hiking near Pittsboro, North Carolina.

A native of Falls Church, Vanderheyden began working in oils in high school, where he was one of three class valedictorians and captain of the soccer team. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1977 with a degree in art history and studio painting. He spent his career working as a telecommunications technology specialist, beginning with C&P Telephone and retiring from Verizon after 35 years with the company. Following retirement, he and his beloved wife of 40 years, Gail, moved from Fairfax County to the North Carolina piedmont town of Pittsboro.

Vanderheyden was an accomplished painter of landscape scenes chosen from the National Capital area, as well as Colorado and the American Southwest, Cape Cod, and the North Carolina piedmont. He exhibited regularly at the annual juried Labor Day art shows at Glen Echo Park, Maryland, sponsored by the National Park Service, as well as annual juried shows at Oxon Hill Manor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. He had exhibits in the Virginia General Assembly office building in Richmond, Virginia, John Tyler Community College in Midlothian, Virginia; and on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; Seven Corners, Herndon, Old Town Alexandria, and at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens headquarters in Fairfax. Vanderheyden participated in various art league shows in the National Capital area, where he won recognition for several works. He was a member of the Fairfax, Vienna, and Great Falls art leagues. He also exhibited in The Roxboro, North Carolina Arts Center and the Mebane, North Carolina Arts Center. For a time was represented by Lazy Lane Gallery in Key West, Florida.

In recent years, he taught painting classes at Shakori Hills Arts Center in Pittsboro and The Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, New York.

In retirement, John spent his time painting, hiking, going to live music shows and festivals, and dancing with his beloved friends. He loved a good time, was extremely well read and content with his life.

In addition to his wife, Vanderheyden is survived by his sister, Dale, of Richmond. He was predeceased by his parents, Frank and Marion, and by his cherished daughter, Jaime. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in his honor to, or