Frederick M. Hart
Hart, former dean of the University of New Mexico Law School, revered teacher and legal scholar, beloved husband of Joan Monaghan Hart, and devoted father of eight children, died peacefully on Sunday surrounded by family and friends.
Fred arrived in New Mexico in 1966 for a one-year visiting professorship at UNM Law School, but so loved New Mexico and the school that he stayed to raise his family and educate thousands of law students. One year after he arrived in New Mexico, Fred was asked to start a summer program for Indigenous students, with the goal of increasing the number of Indigenous lawyers. He initially declined, but ultimately accepted after conferring with Joan. The program, now called the Pre-Law Summer Institute for American Indians and Alaska Natives (PLSI), was wildly successful, and has significantly increased the number of Indigenous lawyers by providing not only the skills and confidence to succeed in law school, but also mentors, networks, and the sense of belonging crucial to legal practice.
The PLSI was part of a commitment to diversity that underpinned Fred's life and career. He worked tirelessly to open the doors of the legal profession to underrepresented populations, and, as dean, he hired the school's first Hispanic faculty member, and first female faculty member. Fred was also a champion of UNM Law's Clinical Program, which was at the forefront of legal education, a first of its kind to be required of every graduate and one of the only programs in the nation that made positions in the clinic tenure-track.
In addition to his work at UNM, Fred was a force in legal education on the national level holding leadership positions in the American Bar Association, the Law School Admission Council, the Association of American Law Schools, the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, and the Council on Legal Education for professional opportunity, and he was a founding partner in the SMH Bar Review. Fred's scholarship resulted in the authorship or co-authorship of many books on legal education, legal writing, and the Uniform Commercial Code including Forms and Procedures Under the Uniform Commercial Code.
However, Fred will be most remembered for less quantifiable achievements. Scores of New Mexico's most accomplished lawyers and politicians credit him with changing their livesâ€"encouraging them to start or finish law school, making them feel they belonged, or showing them how law could be wielded to create policy and serve and protect marginalized and disenfranchised individuals and populations. His guidance and encouragement helped colleagues become better teachers, and as an administrator he had a talent for bringing together generous professionals who cared more about the institution than their own advancement and who were dedicated to making UNM Law a humane institution. He was a fierce competitor at the bridge table and on the softball field where he played for many years for The Bad Guys. Most important to Fred, he was the foundation of the family he and Joan
created- providing constant love, humor, wisdom, and support to his eight children, their spouses and partners, and to more than 20 grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Fred Hart was born in Flushing New York on December 5, 1929. His parents were Doris (Laurian) Hart, a seamstress and pianist, and Frederick Joseph Hart, a shoe inspector. In elementary school, a teacher recognized Fred's talent and tutored him so that he could win a scholarship to Brooklyn Preparatory School. Though neither had gone to college, Fred's parents never questioned whether he wouldâ€"they spent all their savings to pay for his freshman year at Georgetown University. During the summer after his first year, as he was casting about to find a college in New York to attend, he got a call from Georgetown offering him a job that included room and board, so he returned to finish his B.S. After college, Fred served in the Air Force during the Korean War, and then returned to Georgetown for Law School. After graduation, he spent a year teaching at NYU; during that year, he married the love of his life, Joan Monaghan. Fred and Joan spent the following year in Frankfurt Germany where Fred had a fellowship to study food law. Fred taught law at Albany Law School and Boston College before joining the UNM Law faculty as a visiting professor in 1966.
Fred was preceded in death by Joan and by a son-in-law, Reg Fitz, and he is survived by eight children and their spouses: Joan Marie Hart, Ellen Hart and Rob Woodruff, Christiane and Carlton Cuse, F. Michael and Alisa Hart, Maggie Hart Stebbins and Eric Stebbins, Andy Hart and Tracy Brooks, Brigid and George Ovitt, and Patrick and Joanna Hart; twenty grandchildren and their spouses: Jamie and Jason Cloyes, Nelia PeÃ±a and Daniell Williams, Cristina PeÃ±a and Scott Baitz, Ryan PeÃ±a, Caroline Cuse and Sean Duncan, Nicholas Cuse, Conor Cuse, Sarah Hart, Michael Hart, Willis Stebbins, Margaret Stebbins, Elizabeth Stebbins, Lucy Stebbins, Andrew Hart, Samuel Hart, Molly Hart, Dorothy Ovitt, Ada Ovitt, Sofia Hart, and Norah Hart; and two great grandchildren: Bodie and Noelle Cloyes.
Fred's family would like to thank Sylvia Hayes, and caregivers Cristina Bullerwell, Stephanie Moralez, Judy Hallmark, and Margie Robertson, for their hard work, and for the love and care they shared with our parents and with all of us.
Funeral liturgy will be held at noon on Saturday, June 12, at St. Therese Little Flower Church, 3424 Fourth St. NW. Livestream available at https://www.facebook.com/littleflowerabq/
. Donations to The Frederick M. Hart and Joan M. Hart Opportunity Scholarship can be made care of the Dean of UNM School of Law.
Published by Albuquerque Journal from Jun. 11 to Jun. 13, 2021.