Harold Pilskaln, Jr.

Obituary of Harold Pilskaln, Jr.

Harold Pilskaln, Jr., 92, of South Hadley, MA passed away in his sleep on January 31, 2023, due to complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, the first son of Harold and Elsie Pilskaln, he grew up in Twinsburg, Ohio and was known to all as Hal. He was a 1949 graduate of Western Reserve Academy, Hudson, Ohio, a proud member of the Princeton University class of 1953 where he rowed crew, and he received his L.L.D. from Harvard University Law School in 1956. Hal served in the US Marine Corps Reserves from 1951-1958, was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in 1956, and served as a base legal officer at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, Santa Ana, CA from 1957-1958. In 1955, Hal married Polly Hughes of Padanaram, MA and they raised three children, Cindy, Suzanne, and Peter, in southern CA and then in Wayland, MA. Professionally, Hal specialized in real estate and title insurance law on which he lectured frequently, was a member of the CA, MA, DC, and American Bar Associations, and achieved admission to the US Supreme Court Bar. He served as Executive Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors of several national cooperate title insurance companies, was a partner in a CA real estate law firm, and ran a private law practice in MA. He retired from practicing law in 1998.

Hal was a remarkable man, a fabulous father, and a devoted husband. He was known for his big, open smile, infectious laugh, great wry sense of humor, generous spirit, personal humility, and deep commitment to family and friends. He loved westerns, only happy-ending movies, big bowls of vanilla ice cream, jazz, rock n ’roll, Motown, George Booth and Gary Larson cartoons, and epic history novels. An impressive tennis player (Junior Davis Cup-ranked in his teens), he played into his 70’s, with a big boomer serve that helped lead to many tournament wins with his Wayland doubles partner and close friend Paul Crowley. Hal encouraged his three children to embrace team sports for the sheer joy of it, to learn to do your best, and to make friends for life. True to his Ohio roots, Hal was a life-long Cleveland Browns and Indians fan. For many years on Christmas Eve, he delighted in dressing up in his Santa Claus suit and white beard to personally deliver gifts to the youngest family members of Wayland friends. When Huntington’s Disease struck his young wife Polly, and then his daughter Suzanne and son Peter, he worked tirelessly for many years with the National Huntington’s Disease Society Board, the Northeast Regional HD organization, and Centers of Research Excellence on issues of care, family support, increasing awareness of the disease, and he privately raised an impressive amount of funding to support medical research on the development of a cure for HD. Even when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in his mid-80’s, Hal embraced all that he could do with good humor such as play the drums, sing in a chorus, and beat most at sports trivia games. His glass was always half-full, no matter what. Hal passed away as he lived, full of courage and spirit, and without complaint. A true prince among men, his kind will not be seen again anytime soon.

Predeceased by his parents Harold and Elsie, first wife Polly, daughter Suzanne, son Peter, and second wife Isabelle Magnus, Hal is survived by his brother Robert Pilskaln of Mesa, AZ, daughter Cindy Pilskaln of Westport, MA, grandson Harold Pilskaln of West Tisbury, MA, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. Private family celebrations of Hal’s life are tentatively planned for summer 2024. If so desired, donations in Hal’s memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of America (www.alz.org) and are deeply appreciated.

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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Beers & Story Funeral Homes - South Hadley
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