Henry Lathrop Petty

Henry Lathrop Petty

Died November 23, 2005

In our graduation class book, Henry ventured his future occupation as “educational administration” – eventually true but a long time coming. Along the way his jobs included positions with Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, National Broadcasting, WSOC-AM/FM in Charlotte, NC, L.L. Bean, Acme Newspapers and the Hartford Courant.

After 1986 Henry entered the education profession, first through substitute teaching (English, geography, history and social studies) at various high schools in Stonington, North Stonington, Old Lyme, Fairfield and Weston while continuing Stonington Lighthouse duties and coaching Choate junior varsity boys crew.

Henry prepared for Yale at the Pomfret School and was preceded at Yale by his father, William C. Petty, Jr.,Y’33G, his grandfather, H.M. Lathrop, Y’12S, his uncle, R.P. Lathrop, Y’42E, and brother, W.C. Petty, III, Y’63. While a member of Calhoun, Henry earned his Major Y while part of varsity crew and sang with the Apollo Glee Club.

Writing for our 35th reunion class directory, Henry notes a bursary job under legendary Coach (Iron Man) Murray Murdoch stoked his life-long passion for Yale ice hockey. Henry’s oldest brother, Bill Petty, Y’63, remembers their days together on the Yale heavyweight crew and that Henry later went on to coach prep school crews as well as referee at various regattas. Bill also enjoyed watching Henry in several productions of the Blue Hill Troupe where he was a vocal mainstay in the chorus. As a rabid Yale hockey fan, Henry often took his nephews and other youth groups, to the Whale.

Henry’s widow, Lois, remembers: “ Henry’s and my courtship took place almost entirely at Yale sporting events. Our first date was on October 1987 at a Yale vs. William and Mary football game. After football season he invited me to hockey games, then crew races, and after that he proposed and we married in September 1988. He loved Yale and enjoyed spending time with Yale classmates long after graduation. Henry was a wonderful uncle to many nieces and nephew and loving step-father to my daughter, Giulietta. Two years before he died on November 23, 2005, we welcomed granddaughter, Hazel Lilly Drake.”

Erich Cluxton remembers:
Although Henry and I lived virtually next door to each other (he in Stonington, CT and I in Westerly, RI) and played against each other in high school (he at Pomfret and I at Avon Old Farms School), we did not actually meet until we both joined the Crew in our Freshman year. Our friendship grew through both the Crew and our common geography (sharing rides home during the vacations). In our sophomore year, Henry and I, along with Dick Ruffin and Al Sharp, roomed together in a quad in Calhoun. Henry was an ideal room mate: Quiet, neat, studious, always thoughtful about the needs of others (which no doubt came from his growing up in a family with five other siblings), and in possession of both an unwavering spiritual side and a fine sense of humor. He was also very loyal to his friends. We became very good friends during freshman year and roomed together sophomore through our senior year. For a short time after college, Henry and I shared an apartment on the Upper East Side in NYC, when he was working at NBC and I was working for Harris-Intertype Corp. and beginning graduate school at Columbia University. I remember, particularly, that while he was in NYC Henry was an enthusiastic singer/performer with the Blue Hill Troupe (a Gilbert and Sullivan society). He loved to sing and belonged to the Apollo Glee Club at Yale. He continued expressing his musical talents with a variety of other groups and choirs throughout his life. Henry and I remained friends until his all-too-early death in 2005, visiting each other occasionally, and corresponding regularly. The excellent qualities that Henry manifested early at Yale brought much happiness many people, especially his talented wife Lois, his family, and his many friends.