Donald R. “Pete” Hart, Jr. ’33, 1918 – 2011, A Mooreland Treasure – The oldest Mooreland Hill School alumnus, Donald R, “Pete” Hart, Jr. ’33, April 17, 2011. One of the first four students in the little school founded by his mother and friends, Pete Hart began a 78-year history with Mooreland Hill School (nee Shuttle Meadow School, from which he graduated in 1933. He prepped at Avon Old Farms School (classmate and dear friend of folksinger Pete Seeger), spent his college days at Amherst College, studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, master 13 languages, taught French, German, Spanish and Latin and headed the Language Department at Avon Old Farms.
Pete was truly a man for all seasons. Drafted early in World War II, he was one of a select group of individuals who founded the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) now the C.I.A. During his time of service, he handled French sabotage operations in France, ran a spy transit station and captured Nazi collaborators in Paris after its liberation, all for which he received the prestigious and coveted Legion of Honor medal from the French Government. From 1983 to 1999, he and his wife Vera volunteered fro the disaster program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), working at more than 30 disaster sites.
His Mooreland Hill connections were also legion: student, graduate, alumnus, parent, Board member and volunteer extraordinary. During his Mooreland years he often rode his horse to school “parking” him in the school’s red barn, now the site of the Robert C. Vance Center. For as long as can be remembered he annually attended Mooreland graduations along with his sister Mary Jane Hart Clark ’35 and was often a guest speaker for special campus events. During the school’s 75th anniversary celebration he was unanimously selected for the Volunteer of The Century Award.
A Special note is Pete’s stint as an editor. With the help of Mooreland friend and cousin Norman Eddy ’34, Pete created a neighborhood mimeographed weekly Current Events of the Week, while he was a Mooreland student. The paper was filled with gossip, school news, creative writing and sold for five cents a copy. It was a total moneymaker; all of the proceeds paid for a cruise to Bermuda for the young boys, all by themselves. In the 1980’s Pete resurrected the newspaper as Current Events of the World, compiling news from a cadre of 200 family members and friends for over 20 years.
In addition to his wife Vera and sister Mary Jane, Pete leaves behind a wealth of family and friends including his brother Dr. David L. Hart “33, and his children Peter R. Hart, Christine H. Hart ’68, and Philip D. Hart.
The obituary of Donald R. “Pete” Hart, Jr. closed with” a direct quote from a ‘self obit’ he wrote a few years ago: ‘Now you have read quite enough, and so I bid you all adieu.’”