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Henry Norman Christensen, Jr. (Hank)

Died: November 3, 2017,New York, NY

Five hundred words; 50 years. Ten words per year. I guess we’ll stick to defining moments.

After law school I joined a boutique construction law firm in New York City. A few years later I was invited by the senior partner to form a new firm in rural Goshen, New York, making me a name partner in a law firm with a national practice before turning 30. It gave me the chance to work hard for many years for modest financial reward, but to do so in very pleasant surroundings.

The most successful thing I did was to meet, court and marry Susan, my multi-talented wife who raised our three wonderful children and gives me unstinting support in everything I do. She can do anything she sets her mind to, and I marvel at how many things she has set her mind to.

Since the early 1980s, Susan and I have devoted a major fraction of our waking hours to volunteer work. I served many years as a trustee, and six years as board chairman, of an independent school; as a member and chairman of a municipal planning board; as the chairman of a hospital foundation and trustee of the hospital board. Susan has organized a pre-school, presided over a GCA garden club, served as a village trustee, and is currently board chair of a nature museum in the Hudson Valley serving tens of thousands of people every year.

I was also a town chairman for the Republican Party for six or eight years in the 1990s. I continue to have strong political views, but I am no longer actively involved in politics and no longer a Republican. I believe term limits need to be in place for all public officials, and the leaders of the Republican party in Congress, having promised term limits in 1994, were in position to make that happen, but they allowed a few unprincipled individuals, including the congressman for whom I had carried petitions, to turncoat and kill the bill. I don’t know when or if there will ever be another moment when that will be possible, but until and unless it happens, the American people will continue to be in thrall to the permanent political class and the corrupt self interest of the two major parties. This is not what our country’s founders intended. The problem is not campaign contributions; the problem is government by governors whose primary goal is to govern.

My biggest regret in life is not having kept in close touch with so many friends. I see some classmates at the occasional football game or at the Yale Club in NYC, and I am in touch with only a few of the many friends I had at Yale. My best friend from the first day of seventh grade was also my Yale roommate for four years, and in recent years we hardly ever find/make the time to speak. Strange to say, I’m hoping our 50th reunion will make for a new start to the most important friendship in my life.