Lloyd Hull, of Greenwich more than half a century, turns 93 on October 28. He is a survivor. In April of this year he was found to have cancer. “They have it under control, he says. “They had me on ‘chemo’- in four weeks it shrunk and in five weeks it was down to nothing.” He’s lost a few pounds but is working on getting them back.
“Life is a very precious thing,” he says, “for me and for everyone around me.”
Counted first amongst them is the beloved wife, Mary, ever present in his life as she calls him in his downtown Greenwich office to check in. A lawyer of long standing, Hull has been on his own the last few years “doing estates and trusts now” with some cases ongoing in New York. He enjoys hearing from clients he’s had over the years, like the one in Norway who emailed recently, “Get well, get well.” So I showed her,” he says.
He’s proud of his wife who produced their three children then when they were out of the nest founded Greenwich Green & Clean. “She’s a smart lady, he says, “She could have been a business leader.” He likes to tell the story of how they met when he was working for the SEC in New York. A friend asked if he would take Mary to a party, and he got the call, “Some cute little thing would like to speak to you.” “She was a junior at Vassar College, and boy did she give me a hard time.”
Lesson number one he learned, “Nothing is worthwhile if it comes easy.”
He was put off twice asking her out, “Very sorry but I make my dates two weeks ahead.” “So that,” he thought, “was the end of that.” So Christmas time rolls around, “and he’s “busy as hell at the SEC and trying to get away,” when she calls. ‘Would you take me out to a dinner party?’” And that was the beginning of things.
Fifty-eight years later, the secret of success for his marriage? “Behave yourself,” he says with a knowing smile. “Every one of us – men and women – receives certain discipline that your parents have given you.” He found the discipline in the military no different. “It’s very parental – you have to treat your men the same way.”
Hull is a survivor of some tough action in WWII as a Naval Combat Information Center officer aboard the storied destroyer, the USS Laffey in both the European and Pacific theaters. “We survived bombarding Cherbourg, in France while being hit by a German 88-milimeter dud on our starboard side at the waterline, returning to Boston for repairs, then joining our division in the Pacific for the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima, – ending up at Okinawa where we got hit by seven kamikaze and four bombs. We lost 40 percent of our crew off Okinawa. Why I’m alive today is a miracle.”
Hull would call his early days of commuting into New York as a young married also a tale of survival. “I was working with the SEC and I hated the commute. I’d have to take two trains to get to Wall Street. I’d arrive all sweaty and have to change into clean clothes when I got to work.”
He still celebrates his choosing to practice law in Greenwich. “Here the air is sweet. I liked being home in 10 minutes,” he says, “Working here I could get home in time to see my kids. It was a relief.”
The practice of law has been a satisfying livelihood, he says, “I like helping my clients and seeing how they prosper.” He also saw how his kids prospered.
He describes his backcountry neighborhood where he raised his kids and still lives as “the prettiest part of the world.” “It’s been fabulous for our children. Our kids used to build these forts in the woods. They had a ball. Nobody could bother them. Our children thank us for this.”
Serving twice as president of his neighborhood Round Hill Association, Hull has worked to protect and preserve it.
Nor has he sat on the sidelines when it comes to the workings of his town. He’s been a member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) since 1970. “I’m chairman of District 10,” he says, “With the RTM you know what’s going on. If you’re not interested in your town, you take what you get.” He takes pride in helping to bring Tom Bryne to the RTM moderator podium. “Tom does an excellent job. He’s a very good lawyer now teaching in New Rochelle, and his daughter is a graduate from Annapolis flying jets.”
Hull is unabashedly proud of his country. “If you’ve been out of this country,” he says, “when you return, it’s the bee’s knees.” “This country didn’t just happen -we’ve fought for everything we have.” He then asks the rhetorical question, “What are we going to do to preserve this great country?” His answer, “Each of us has a part in this.” And taking a part he says starts with the RTM.
But his political stripe is a bit blurred these days. “I’m a Republican,” he says, “but they’ve screwed themselves up terribly. Have you read the latest from this guy Trump!”
Hull has arrived at the age of having lost good friends like Win Adkins. “I go to the same church as Win did – the Round Hill Community Church,” he says, but demurs, “I’m not a religious man, but you’ve got to have something to believe in.”
“The most important thing is to have faith,” he says. “You can’t be afraid – then you’re timid. With faith you are not so afraid.”
Looking back over his own upbringing he reflects, “The atmosphere I lived in was conducive to going forward to doing things, to walking through the meadows and forests and not being afraid of anything. I was encouraged to do things even when there were those who didn’t like what I was doing.”
His bedrock is his children. “I love my children, my lovely daughters, and fabulous son. They are all successful.” He seems to have practiced what he preaches.
“If you see your children doing something right, you encourage them. You make the atmosphere around them conducive to what they’re doing.”
He regrets he says, that, “A lot of people are giving up the chance to have children,” when “family is so important.”
“We had three children and our children each had three children so we have nine grandchildren.” Hull is now expecting his second great grandchild. “It’s on the way, a great granddaughter from daughter Lisa and husband Scott Weicker who live in Riverside.”
Son Rob and family live in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and daughter Victoria or Vicky lives in England with her second husband Simon Robey, former head of Morgan Stanley in London.
Vicky was recently awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth for her services heading up the London Philharmonic the last five years. “I’m giving this award to an American,” Hull quoted the Queen with a grin. Vicky was eligible for the award with her dual citizenship.
Vicky lives in the land of her roots as her father’s grandmother, Blumah Nerod was British. “She was 16 when my grandfather met her in England doing business as a cattle trader,” says Hull. “He sent for her when he was back in New York. She arrived before he received her letter, came through customs and made her way across the city to his office. Can you imagine that – a girl of 16?”
Lloyd Hull’s survival secret seems to be in his genes – it’s the power of positive living.