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Obituary: Harold M. Hoffman

Harold M. Hoffman, 82, died March 17, 2012 at his home in Great Neck Estates after a long illness. He is survived by his devoted wife of 60 years, Lillian; his loving children Steven J. Hoffman of Takoma Park MD, Jane C. Hoffman (and husband Kevin Crowe) of Larchmont NY, and Carol H. Sampson (and husband David) of Westport CT; and his cherished grandchildren, Jeremy Hoffman, Rachel Crowe, Daniel Crowe and Claire Sampson. He is also survived by his loving sister-in-law Bernice Cassedy and her children: his adoring niece Nancy Herman and nephew Glen Herman.

Born in The Bronx a month before the onset of the Great Depression, he was determined from a young age to escape from poverty, which he did with grit and determination, graduating from City College of New York in 1949, immediately getting a master’s degree from Columbia University, and then enrolling at Yale Law School on full scholarship, obtaining his J.D. in 1952. He then entered into a long and successful corporate and commercial law practice, culminating in a distinguished career as partner in the law firm of Kronish Lieb Weiner & Hellman, LLP (now Cooley LLP), from which he was retired. He also served proudly for 31 years as village justice for Great Neck Estates, where he was held in highest esteem by all who entered his court and respected for his firm but fair rulings.

In both in his business and personal life, he was loved and was respected by family, friends, colleagues, and clients alike for his compassion, caring, clear-headedness, negotiating skills, and wise counsel. He truly served the role of “benevolent patriarch” of his immediate and extended families. When it came to his families and to his beloved alma maters CCNY and Yale Law School, his generosity knew no bounds. He funded scholarships for needy students at CCNY and Yale Law School, and his gift to CCNY funded the construction and operation of the Harold and Lillian Hoffman Student Center on its campus.

He was an avid tennis player, an active participant in Great Neck civic affairs, a life-long fan of the New York Yankees, and an unabashed liberal who always voted Democratic. He and his wife Lillian lived in the same house in Great Neck Estates since 1959, and his children were all educated in the Great Neck public school system.

A memorial service will be held at Temple Beth-El, 5 Old Mill Road, Great Neck, Thursday March 22 at 11 a.m. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Riverside/Nassau North Chapel of Great Neck.