‘Consummate lawyer and gentleman’ Hank Anderson dies at 101
Longtime attorney Henry B “Hank” Anderson, who was a founding partner of Cramer & Anderson LLP, which has offices throughout Litchfield County, has died.
The 101-year-old decorated veteran died June 22 at his home in Brewster, Mass., where he had lived with his wife “Bunny” since 1999.
Services will be held at a later date.
Three of the firm’s six offices are in New Milford, Kent and Washington.
“The passing of Attorney Henry ‘Hank’ Anderson was the end of an era not only for Cramer & Anderson but also for the Connecticut Bar,” said Cramer & Anderson partner Art Weinshank. “His personal accomplishments, prominence in the field of law and his exceptional character made our firm more than a Litchfield County firm but gave us statewide recognition.”
“Mr. Anderson was the consummate lawyer and gentleman. He was devoted to the law and the profession and was passionate about helping those who came to him with their legal problem,” said Cramer & Anderson partner Randy DiBella.
Anderson was a well-known and respected attorney, having had a distinguished career for five decades (see tribute letter, Page S4). He also loved the arts, travel, history and gardening.
“Hank was the last of an era of attorneys in Litchfield County who were gentleman, collegial, and willing to mentor, irrespective if you were in their firm,” said local attorney Terry Pellegrini. “You could always rely on their word.”
Anderson resided in Warren, Southbury and Sherman, where he served as town counsel for 20 years beginning in 1949. He was also Sherman Judge of Probate.
He served as president of the Litchfield County Bar Association and was a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Association and American Bar Association, numerous statewide and national roles.
Among them was his role on a Real Property Committee of the National Conference of Bar Examiners from 1974 to 1985, according to an article about Anderson posted on Cramer & Anderson’s website.
It was during this time, Anderson drafted real estate questions for bar examining committees throughout the nation.
He was also “a lecturer on real estate law for the Connecticut Board of Realtors, and chairman of the Real Property Section of the Connecticut Bar Association,” the article states.
Anderson was born May 30, 1918, in Wilkinsburg, Pa., son of Dr. Henry B. Anderson and Adella (Stewart) Anderson.
He graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown in 1940. During his undergraduate years, he held several leadership roles, was active in sports and was a member of honorary societies.
Anderson worked as assistant to the director of admissions at Wesleyan after graduation. While studying for a master’s degree, Anderson left Wesleyan and entered the U.S. Navy as a midshipman in 1941 and was commissioned an ensign that September, just months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
While serving, Anderson survived two kamikaze attacks on separate carriers. He was commended for his service with Silver and Bronze Awards.
When he returned from the war, he pursued his academic ambitions by attending law school and came to New Milford.
He first shared office space with Attorney Harry B. Bradbury until the fall of 1950, then became a partner with Francis S. Ferriss.
Ferriss died suddenly in 1957 at which time Anderson hired Paul Altermatt as an associate, who eventually became a partner and friend.
Their firm of Anderson & Altermatt served the community before merging with a Litchfield firm, Cramer, Blick Fitzgerald & Hume in 1962 to become Cramer & Anderson, with offices in New Milford and Litchfield.
“There was a discussion going on (when David Cramer and Anderson’s firms merged) about what the size of a law firm should be and whether mergers were good,” Anderson recalled in 2014.
“A lot of people thought it hurt firms to merge, since you might be representing a client who was in opposition to the client the other attorney was representing,” he said. “They thought you’d lose business.”
The men decided creating a larger firm of attorneys with specialized areas of expertise would be best.
“Specialization became the new direction,” Anderson said. “When I started out as an attorney, I took on everything of every kind. By the time I retired after 50 years, I was specializing in wills and trusts.”
Over the years, the firm grew to include six other offices in western Connecticut.
“There are many events and accomplishments during (Anderson’s) career that I can speak to, but one stands out which reflects his love and dedication to the law and his beloved profession,” Weinshank said.
“After Attorney and Danbury Probate Judge Richard L. Nahley, who embezzled over $3 million from his clients, died by suicide Hank Anderson dedicated over 900 hours of pro bono services as co-administrator of the Nahley estate to make Mr. Nahley’s clients whole and restore the public’s perception and confidence in Connecticut Bar,” Weinshank explained.
DiBella described Anderson, as a practitioner and mentor, as “especially adept at identifying significant but subtle issues in particular situations and was a terrific problem solver.”
“His lawyering talent allowed him to rapidly consider an entire catalogue of potential remedies,” he said. “And almost without exception, his determination of the most effective means and methods of handling the client’s problem was spot on.”
“It was a pleasure and honor to work with and learn from Hank Anderson,” DiBella summed up.
The law firm “traces its lineage to before the Civil War. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Attorney David Cramer was a law partner to Attorney and Connecticut Judge John T. Hubbard, whose father, John H. Hubbard, called “Old Connecticut” by President Abraham Lincoln, began his Litchfield law practice in 1854,” according to the firm’s website.