Donald Hart Jr.

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Donald R. Hart Jr Donald R. "Pete" Hart Jr., beloved husband of Elvira (Horvath) Hart, passed into eternal rest on Sunday, April 17, 2011. He was 93. A lifelong New Britain resident until late in his retirement years, he was truly part of the "Greatest Generation."He was the first born child of Donald R. Hart and Elise Russell Hart and grew up on Hart St. in New Britain. He was one of the first four graduates of Mooreland Hill School in Berlin, Conn., and then went on to graduate from Avon Old Farms School in Avon, Conn., and Amherst College in Mass. He also took courses at La Sorbonne in Paris, France. Pete was multilingual, speaking over thirteen languages, (nine of them fluently), and later taught French, German, Spanish, and Latin after his graduation from Amherst. At one point he was Head of the Language Department of Avon Old Farms School. It was his innate language abilities that helped shape his military career. Drafted early in WWII he was one of 250 Americans asked to "volunteer" to start the O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services, which later became the C.I.A.) and he did. He served with distinction, handling French sabotage operations in occupied France, running a spy "transit station," and capturing Nazi collaborators in Paris after its liberation. He was especially pleased to receive the "Legion of Honor" medal from the French Government for his efforts, the highest award they bestow on a non-French citizen. After discharge he served in the U.S. Army Reserve for a total service of 33 years, retiring as a Colonel, with a top secret clearance. His government service didn't end there. Vera (who he married in 1979) and Pete again "volunteered" for the disaster relief program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Being on call 24/7 they flew out to over 30 disasters between 1983 to 1999 earning nothing but expenses. From 1981 on he was also a member of the National Defense Executive Reserve, a government organization set up to help the nation survive a nuclear attack. He was a true patriot. Pete loved the Island of Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts. The Hart family has had homes on the Island since 1811 with most of them in the community of Hart Haven and Up-Island in Chilmark. It was here that Pete organized an annual family gathering over Labor Day. Relatives and friends from all over the Island and main land came to "The Bash" each year. His last Island home was in Vineyard Haven. He leaves behind his devoted wife Vera, a sister, Mary Jane Clark of Kent, Conn., and a brother, Dr. David L. Hart of Oak Bluffs, Mass. He was predeceased by his brother Henry Russell Hart. Also mourning are his three children (from a previous marriage) Peter R. Hart and his wife Andrea of New Britain, Conn., Christine H. Hart and her husband William F. Morlock of Brattleboro, Vt., and Philip D. Hart and his wife Carol Gauthier of Oakland, Maine. Pete's six grandchildren will also miss him; Brittany, Zachery, Ben, Alexis, Nicholas, and Jennifer, as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. FUNERAL NOTICE: Pete was a life long Episcopalian. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on April 26th at St. John's Episcopal Church in Salisbury, CT. Internment with full military honors will take place on April 27th at 1:00 p.m. at the Bourne National Veterans Cemetery in, Bourne, Mass., as per Colonel Hart's request. Arrangements have been made through the Newkirk-Palmer Funeral Home, P.O. Box 815, Canaan, CT 06018.In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Sheriffs Meadow Foundation, Wakeman Conservation Center, 57 David Ave., Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, online at or; The Family Council, Noble Horizons Retirement Community, 17 Cobble Rd. Salisbury, CT 06068, online at Condolences may be sent to the funeral home or on line to his daughter at We close with a direct quote of Donald R. (Pete) Hart Jr. taken from a "self obit" he wrote a few years ago: "Now, you have read quite enough, and so I bid you all adieu."

Published in Brattleboro Reformer on Apr. 20, 2011
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