Victims were en route to New Hampton School trustee meeting
NEW HAMPTON - New Hampton School's trustees were gathering Thursday night for a weekend board of trustees meeting when they heard the news that one of their own, Herman Hassinger, had died.
Hassinger, 83, of Block Island, R.I., and a native of Philadelphia, Pa., was a trustee emeritus at the school and was on his way to the meeting with his wife, Doris, 83, when their plane crashed Thursday afternoon, killing both of them.
The chairman of the New Hampton Board of Trustees, Peter Galletly of Winhall, Vt., got the news of his death late Thursday afternoon as the trustees gathered.
'I just heard and now I have to tell the other trustees,' Galletly said.
Hassinger, an self-employed architect and retired U.S. Coast Guard Commander, was the owner of Herman Hassinger Architects of Mooorestown, N.J., and was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. His daughter, Elizabeth, graduated from New Hampton School in 1977 and his son John graduated in 1978. He was the lead architect on several buildings at the school including Alumni Hall and the Academic Research Center.
He held a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a Chandler Graduate Fellowship. He was a past president of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects, a Lutheran church council member, and a trustee at Upsala College in East Orange, N.J.
He was a member of the International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians, and he was the chairman of the Block Island Historic District Commission, according to school officials.
School officials said Herman Hassinger Architects won numerous awards over the years for excellence in design and general practice of architecture. The business specialized in institutional, religious, geriatric, and health care facilities.
According to school officials, Hassinger and his wife routinely flew to the school's four annual Board of Trustees meetings, one of which is scheduled for Saturday.
In a statement late Thursday afternoon, the school said Hassinger will be missed.
'The entire New Hampton School community is saddened by the passing of longtime member of the Board of Trustees Herman Hassinger and his wife Doris,' the statement said.
"Herman and Doris were some of the greatest supporters of New Hampton School," said Galletly said. "Herman was the longest serving trustee on the board and he contributed in so many ways. Herman was the architect for many of our buildings on campus. He was incredibly generous with his time and thoughtful of the student experience at New Hampton. Our hearts go out to the Hassinger family. "
New Hampton's Head of School Andrew Menke said Hassinger was 'a wonderful presence and a consistent voice on the board of trustees.'
"Herman and Doris were wonderful people," said Menke. "He was instrumental in our adoption of the International Baccalaureate program, and as an outstanding architect, he was a strong supporter of campus capital improvements. His committed stewardship has helped the school reach unprecedented health.
'Herman and Doris will missed greatly, and their legacy will endure forever on this campus," Menke said.
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Dan Seufert may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org..