By Stapley Russell & Reprint from Anne W. Semmes
It is with deep sadness that we report the death of Lloyd Nelson Hull, who passed away last week, on January 13, at 95 years old. He was a well-loved and upstanding member of the Greenwich community and will be deeply missed.
Scott Frantz called Lloyd Hull “one of the truly greatest members of the Greatest Generation.” Going on to say that “Lloyd Hull served his country selflessly and heroically, fighting in more significant naval battles than most in World War II.”
What follows is an edited excerpt from an article by Anne W. Semmes, “One of Greenwich’s Cream of the Crop–Lloyd Hull,” which appeared in The Sentinel back in 2015:
“Life is a very precious thing,” Lloyd Hull 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.
He’s proud of his wife who raised 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?’”
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 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.”
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.”
A service to celebrate his life will be held at the Round Hill Community Church, 395 Round Hill Road, on Saturday, February 3 at 11 a.m. followed by a reception at the Community House next door.