Henry Hart III, 64, a lawyer who had held several positions in state government, died April 18 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at his home in West Mt. Airy.
When he retired in 2012 because of his illness, Mr. Hart was attorney-in-charge of the Philadelphia Bureau of Consumer Protection for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, a position he had held for 10 years.
Earlier he had worked in the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General, eventually serving as Acting Inspector General, and before that he was chief counsel to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
Born in North Adams, Mass., he was raised in Germantown and was a graduate of Germantown Friends School. He was a graduate of Amherst College and Boston University’s School of Law.
After graduating from law school, Mr. Hart returned to Philadelphia and accepted a position with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, but soon after moved on to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, where he spent nearly two decades as a trial lawyer, teacher and supervisor.
Jeffrey Minehart, one of his chiefs in the District Attorney’s Office who currently is supervising judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, praised Mr. Hart’s skills as a lawyer.
“Henry always had a great perspective on how to approach a criminal case,” Minehart said. “He was extremely bright and never hesitated to give his opinion on how to proceed. He was usually right.”
Gary Tennis, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, said that “sharing a courtroom with Henry Hart in the Major Crimes Unit was a humbling experience.”
”His intelligence, humor and just plain skill were beyond reach,” Tennis said. I couldn’t have asked for a better and kinder mentor.”
Physically active for most of his life, Mr. Hart liked to ride fast bikes, lift weights and drive powerful cars. He also enjoyed traveling with his family on road trips to New England.
He is survived by his wife, the former Sarah Baseden; sons Alex and Rich; daughters Jackie Vandenbraak Pfeiffenberger and Tessa Hart; his mother, Ann Hart; a sister, Elizabeth Hart, and two grandchildren.
A memorial service was held April 25 at Germantown Friends Meeting. Memorial donations may be made to Stratford Friends School, 2 Bishop Hollow Road, Newtown Square, PA 19073, or to the Ellyn Fund, ALS Association, Philadelphia Chapter, 321 Norristown Road, Lower Gwynedd, PA 19002. – WF