Henry (Hank) Myron Aldrich, son of Henry Mann Aldrich and Lillian Wagner Aldrich, passed away peacefully at Middlesex Hospital, on May 16, 2020, from complications of COVID-19. Hank was born in Connecticut on November 9, 1942. He was raised an only child in a close-knit family in Haddam, CT, and spent most of his adult life in East Haddam. He leaves behind his beloved wife, Virginia Aiello Aldrich, as well as his two daughters from his first marriage to Linda Jahelka Aldrich: Vicki Fewell and her husband Scott, of Shelburne, VT; and Jesse Strassman and her husband Mark, of Marin County, CA. Hank was very proud of his grandchildren, who held a special place in his heart: Olivia, Georgia and Eva Fewell; and Benjamin, Mia and Sophie Strassman. His cousins Marlene Rickert and Loralee Woods were an integral part of his life. Hank often said his family was the most important people in his life.
In 1961, he graduated from Nathan Hale Ray High School, where he was known to “hold court” at the Coke machine. He graduated with a business degree from Nichols College in Dudley, MA, in 1965. Hank started his career as a buyer at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. In 1968, he began working as a manager for the Southern New England Telephone Company, and in 1972 transferred to Southern Bell in Boca Raton, Florida.
From the age of eleven, he treasured his time boating on the Connecticut River. An avid fisherman, he cherished many wonderful memories night fishing with friends off Race Rock Lighthouse in Long Island Sound. Longtime member of Shennecossett Yacht Club in Groton, he enjoyed boating with friends along the New England coast. He was so devoted that he even spent one night on his boat, stranded with a buddy in dense fog, tied up to a buoy! His love of boating and family brought him back to East Haddam from Florida to pursue a career in the boat industry. He worked in sales for many years at Petzold’s Marine in Portland. In 1990, he opened Hank Aldrich Yacht Sales in Essex, and he was also a licensed yacht broker in Florida. He sold his business and retired a few years ago.
Hank was a good man who touched the lives of many. No matter where he went, he was recognized. Deeply committed to his community, he was a long-time member of the East Haddam Lion’s Club, served on the East Haddam Board of Education, and supported the East Haddam Food Bank. He partnered with Attorney Scott Jezek in several land developments, donating a portion to the East Haddam Land Trust.
He was optimistic, honest, dependable, and straightforward. His good spirit and deep-seated calmness and wisdom were appreciated by his many good friends, many of whom went back to his youth. He also had a great sense of humor peppered with salty sarcasm. Hank loved being home working on his tractors and mowing his lawn wearing his ratty straw hat – so dear to his heart that he would not part with it. Football was one of his lifelong passions, and he enjoyed talking about the games with his friends, often while they were in progress.
The family greatly appreciates the doctors, nurses, and staff at Middlesex Hospital, who soothed his way through his illness. A private graveside service will be held at Cove Cemetery in Lyme, CT, and later, when it becomes possible, a celebration of his life will take place. In lieu of flowers, Hank would welcome a contribution to the East Haddam Food Bank c/o Youth and Family Services, 387 East Haddam /Moodus Road, P.O. Box 572, Moodus, CT 06469. To share memories or send condolences to the family, please visit www.doolittlefuneralservice.com.
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