Hartley S. Connett ’57 died on March 2, 2022, in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
(The following was provided by Mauger Givnish Funeral Home on March 2, 2022)
Hartley S. Connett Sr., of Phoenixville, PA, born February 16, 1934, in Bryn Mawr, PA, passed peacefully into the arms of God with family gathered around him on March 2, 2022.
Hartley is survived by his beloved wife of sixty-eight years, Barbara; his sons Hartley Jr (Abigail) of Dobbs Ferry, NY; Bradford (Ginger) of Wrightsville Beach, NC; and Thomas (Allison) of Phoenixville, PA; his loving grandchildren Ian (Sarah), Zachary, Samuel, Molly, Jessica (Colston), Tristan, Cassidy (Garrison), Tucker, Landon, Olivia, Carter, and four great-grandchildren Thomas, Bradford, Charlie, and Walt, as well as many nieces and nephews whom he held dear. He knew his grandchildren well and they all affectionately called him “Pop-pop.”
Hartley was born in Bryn Mawr, PA, and was the youngest son of five children to Harold and Zeadora Connett. The family split their time between their home in Haverford, PA, and Quogue, NY, where they spent every summer sailing, fishing, and enjoying every aspect of life on the water. The family enjoyed many years of time together in their beloved home, affectionately named “Gitchee Gumee.” This is where Hartley’s love of the water began, particularly on his family’s boat, Fiji. As a youngster Hartley loved the annual “Race Week” event involving seven days of racing the family’s wooden SS sailing boat against other skippers from Babylon on the Great South Bay eastward to Moriches Bay and Shinnecock. His love of the water never waned, and he spent many years taking family and friends on his famous power boat, the White Whale; and his lifelong chase for those elusive blue fish and striped bass. Family was of utmost importance to Hartley, and he often spoke fondly of the good times spent with his beloved siblings Harold Jr., Theodora, Hugh, and Albert on the water, the beach, and the porch of “Gitchee Gumee.”
Hartley attended Montgomery Day school as a child and then followed his brothers to Kent school in Connecticut and it was there that he developed his deeply meaningful spiritual life as well his love for sports. He excelled at football, wrestling, and was an oarsman on the varsity eight first crew boat that competed at the 1953 Henley Royal Regatta in England. Despite losing to the Princeton freshman crew the Kent boys still set a race record. Hartley was proud to be appointed the sacristan of Kent School during his senior year where he was in charge of the church’s sacristy. Following Kent he attended Bowdoin College. After college he went to work at his first job at Trojan Boat Company, keeping with his love of boating. Shortly thereafter he joined the family leather business at Surpass working alongside his dad and brothers. In 1985 he and Barbara decided to take a risk, and as Hartley liked to say “he went to the dogs;” acquiring Hickory Springs Farm Kennels in Phoenixville, PA. Together Hartley and Barbara built a thriving business which members of their family continue to support to this day. When he couldn’t be on the water he could be found driving or tinkering with his antique 1940 Red Ford 9N Tractor.
Hartley was a deeply generous man dedicating his life to many causes close to his heart. He spent many years serving at The Mill at Anselma, the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trusts, Alpha USA, and the Church of the Transfiguration. His love of the Church and his commitment to serving God was evident in his years spent as a confirmation class teacher (thirty-four years!), a lay minister, a Stephen’s minister, multiple stints on the Vestry, and many other positions at the Church of the Good Samaritan. He was known to help people of all walks of life and was always willing to listen, pray, or give of himself in whatever way he could to help those in need. In 2016 Hartley wrote a book, titled A Twenty-Five Cent Investment, outlining his own spiritual journey and the hope he held that all would come to know God as he did. We stand comforted and confident that our beloved Father and Pop-pop is enjoying his hope fulfilled as he expressed in his prologue, that “when I meet my Maker face to face, I can thank Him for a wonderful trip.”