John Cantwell Ziegler

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“Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering your loved one today and always. Please except my warmest condolences. ”
1 of 2 | Posted by: Simone Taylor

“Condolences to the family and Henry in particular. ”
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John Cantwell Ziegler died March 4th, 2021 in New York City of Covid-19. John was born on November 27, 1931 to Alice Cantwell Ziegler and Frederick J. Ziegler, a sculptor and director of Steinway & Sons. He grew up in New York City, attended St. Mark's School, and graduated from Harvard College in 1953. After serving in the US Army as a translator in France, he studied Architecture at Columbia University and received his graduate degree in 1961. He practiced as an architect in Paris, New York and Boston, and was an early advocate for, and expert in, residential solar architecture. In 1970, John became the Deputy Regional Director of FEMA for Region 2 and was involved in the clean-up of Love Canal. He then went on to work as the Deputy Regional Director of the Federal Insurance Administration, overseeing flood plain mapping programs.

During his time with the government he earned a Masters in Urban Planning at New York University. In 1989, with his daughter Jessica, he co-founded Space Track Inc, a pioneering Geographic Information Systems (GIS) consulting firm that developed the LotInfo interactive property map. In the early '90s he introduced GIS to the curriculum at NYU's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service as an adjunct faculty member. He was a charter member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and he co-wrote GIS for The Urban Environment (E.S.R.I. Press, 2006), a college textbook that continues to be widely used.

John was an artist and sculptor as well as an architect. He adored great cities, especially New York and Paris, and had a deep knowledge of fine arts, architecture, music, piano, and history. He loved to travel and had a remarkable ability to connect with people, no matter the circumstance. He had a truly kind and generous spirit which is cherished by his family and friends.

John is survived by his brother, Henry S. Ziegler, and his sister, Eleanor Z. Lodge; his children, Natalie Ziegler and her husband John Zirschky, Jessica Ziegler and her husband James Lucey, Sophie Ziegler and her husband Jonathan Schwartz, their mother, Carter Carroll Ziegler, and five grandchildren: Lexie, Kit, Catherine, Reed and Simon. His wife, the photographer Marie Claire Montanari, predeceased him in 2015 following a long battle with Parkinson's Disease.


Burial will be private and a memorial is planned for later in the year. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Parkinson Foundation at parkinson.org or Parkinson Foundation, 200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131.