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Yale 62

Noel Erskine Hanf, Jr.Noel E. Hanf, Jr.

Noel died peacefully at home in Jackson, NY, on Sunday, February 14, 2021, of advanced leukemia.

His eponymous father was in Yale ’21. After high school at the Kent School in Kent, CT, at Yale he was a member of Berkeley College, where he served as chief aide, Council member, and captain of the touch football team, besides playing hockey. He was on the Freshman crew, and lettered on the Varsity 150-pound crew. As a history major, he was a ranking scholar and on the Dean’s List. He was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon and Berzelius.

After Harvard Law School, he served in the Air Force JAG division, beginning as a defender, but after he started winning cases, he was re-assigned to prosecution. Upon discharge he first practiced law at Lord, Day and Lord in New York City, before moving to Wiggin and Dana in New Haven, where he remained as a Partner and later Managing Partner until retirement in 2008. He felt that his military service formed his attitude to social and institutional realities. During his career, he gave much time and energy to many boards and other civic pursuits,

He wrote eloquently and presciently in our 25th reunion book about his concerns. “During the past three years, the mismatch between what the country needs and what leaders are saying is most pronounced in the political sphere.  Believing that we can’t be successful as a country unless every individual has an opportunity to develop his or her potential… I fear that the continued repetition of untrue slogans will lead us away from what the country needs, which is to stimulate the economy in the short term and reduce the deficit in the long term with a combination of tax increases and reductions in spending.”

His last 13 years were spent on his farm in Jackson, NY. From his obituary: “Noel was a person of great integrity and democratic values. He was a quiet man, intelligent and understated, with a dry sense of humor and an enormous fund of knowledge. He cared deeply about tending to and conserving the land…A lover of history and biography, he was an avid reader who kept a different book in every room. He was an excellent cook, and he had a handyman’s skill with assorted tasks around the farm. He was loving and generous in helping others, often freely giving legal or other assistance to those who needed it. In his last years, he added to his board duties the chairmanship of the Jackson Planning Board, the Woodlands Cemetery Board, and the Agricultural Stewardship Association Board. He was much loved, a friend to many and a person of great humility whose fine work was often left unadvertised.

Noel is survived by his wife Judith S. Hanf, son Jonathan C. Hanf, two grandchildren, cousins and friends, nieces and nephews.

John Harger Stewart