May 10, 1923 — March 23, 2020
QUEENSBURY — William “Bill” J. Hart, 96, beloved father, brother, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend of many, passed away with family by his side at his home at The Glen at Hiland Meadows on March 23, 2020.
Generous, kind, and funny among friends and family, he also valued logic, precision, and order, earning him the family nickname “Mr. Spock,” which he tolerated with good humor. Those who knew him well remember the precise care he gave to tasks like using his special ‘formula’ to make chocolate sauce as well as the small smile that warned of a devastating play in a Thanksgiving card game with his children and grandchildren. His attention to detail and accuracy also extended to his professional life and hobbies. As a recognized expert on U.S. postal history, accomplished amateur golfer, and chemical engineer, he was a role model for the younger generations of his family and an enthusiastic supporter of their interests and accomplishments.
Bill was born May 10, 1923, in Brooklyn, New York to the late J. Harry and Marian F. Hart. After his father passed away, Bill moved with his mother and siblings to the Ellenville, New York area in 1934 where he initially went to a two-room schoolhouse and ultimately graduated from Ellenville High School as salutatorian. He was the class president and captain of the golf team. He went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where his education was interrupted by World War II. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946 before returning to MIT, graduating in 1948 as a chemical engineer.
He lived an incredibly full life during his 96 years. He and his wife, Marie Therese (Rese) married in 1949 at St. Ignatius in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Rese then joined him in Glens Falls, New York where they raised their six children in the Halfway Brook Reservoir area. He created an arboretum of 50 different kinds of trees on their three quarters of an acre property. He was an active member of the community including an award winning member of the Glens Falls Country Club since 1948, a member of the choir at Annunciation Church, a Boy Scout counselor who took his whole family to Camp Wakpominee, and a mineral collector who donated superb specimens to Adirondack Community College.
Bill had moved to Glens Falls in 1948 after accepting a position at Imperial Color, Chemical and Paper Corporation in the pigment/paint industry. His expertise as a pigment specialist grew as he took on increasing managerial responsibilities and the company was acquired by Hercules Imperial and then by Ciba Geigy. He had many patents related to improving the quality of color for a variety of company products.
His professional expertise in pigments perfectly coincided with his childhood hobby collecting US Postal Stamps, which accelerated when he inherited his father’s philatelic collection during the Great Depression. He became a well-known expert in United States postal history and an exhibitor of the highest standard with many awards at both the regional and national levels. His keen eye for subtle color differences and his attention to detail made him a valued member of the American Philatelic Society Expertizing Committee. He collected a wide range of postal-related items including 1st day covers, RFD cancels, and a family favorite, a wonderful exhibit of picture postcards from 1900 to 1950 of the Hudson River from Lake Tear of the Clouds to NYC.
Toward the end of his career, Ciba Geigy transferred Bill to their Westchester County office. He and Rese lived in Yorktown, where Bill retired and they lived until 2009. When Rese passed away, he moved back to Queensbury and settled into The Glen at Hiland Meadows where he was known for the gladioli he grew every summer and displayed in the dining room. He stayed active, playing duplicate bridge weekly, teaching his Glen friends to play billiards, and regularly attending the Glen happy hour on Tuesdays and Fridays. He continued golfing into his 90s, “golfing his age” twice in his late 80s and besting his children and grandchildren at a mini-golf outing on his 90th birthday.
In addition to his parents, Bill was predeceased by his wife of 70 years, Rese; and his sister Joan. He is survived by his brothers, Edward of Phillipsport, New York and Joseph (Gladys) Hart of State College, Pennsylvania; his children, Michael Hart of Canton, New York, Bill (Johanna) Hart of Big Horn, Wyoming, Maureen Hart of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Patricia Hart, DO of Manlius, New York, Ed (Lynn) Hart of Pensacola, Florida, and Marguerite Le Garrec-Hart (Jean-Dominique) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Aria, Iara, Ian, Raphael, Daniel, Christopher, Bethie, Claire, Olivia, Jorlyn, Andrew, Zoë, Howie, and Juna; and numerous nephews, nieces, and their children. He will be missed by all who had the opportunity to know him.
Bill’s family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the staff at Southern Adirondack Independent Living for help with assistive technology; High Peaks Hospice for providing compassion, dignity and comfort in his final days; and the residents and staff of The Glen at Hiland Meadows for being a friendly, welcoming, and supportive community for his last 10 years.
In light of the current world health situation, his burial at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in West Roxbury, MA and a celebration of Bill’s life will be held as soon as it is safely possible for family and friends to gather.
In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy are welcomed in the form of donations to Southern Adirondack Independent Living (www.sailhelps.org).
Messages of condolence can be posted on the website of the Robert J Lawler & Crosby Funeral Home (www.lawlerfuneralhome.com).
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