Hank touched all of us in different ways and made us better by his leadership. No matter what one’s background, all were welcome here. He made everyone feel equally involved and at the same time challenged us to try harder to be better no matter what lever or how proficient we were around the lathe or with a piece of wood.
Ode to Henry
Who will quickly forget his ready smile, quick wit, sage advice? A wise and loving father of a large family, he possesses all of the qualities of a great leader, woodcarver and woodturner. We will miss him!
“His life was gentle and the elements so mixed in him that nature stands up and says to all of the world, This is a man.”
I first met Hank several years ago when a group of my fellow woodworkers from Plymouth (Plymouth Woodchucks) and I came to see one of the monthly meetings we had been invited to attend. Hank greeted us warmly and this club put on an amazing presentation for us, showing the work involved in the reproduction of a model engine of the Spirit of St. Louis. I had never done any turning but was so impressed I joined this club. At the first Hands-On I attended, I was made to feel welcome and received excellent instruction from several members. Later, Hank took me under his wing and in his own inimitable fashion got me to turn a pretty good weed pot and then even showed me how to finish it with his lacquer technique. He was always willing to offer me pointers in the following years and I will always remember his kindness and patience as I bumbled along. I will miss him greatly even through I did not know him as long as many of the other members. I will miss him looking at me incredulously when I told some of my “jokes” and shaking his head in disbelief. Hank, you may not be with us but you will always be with us.
Hank will be missed. The sheer number of people who attended his wake attests to that. I liked the video they had at his wake showing Hank cooking (onions I think) while his daughter asked him; “what do you like most around he holidays?” His answer “getting the gang together” That says it all! Nothing more important than family and friends.
As a new member of the club I’ll remember Hank as someone who always made me feel welcome. He treated everyone with the same respect whether you’ve been turning for 1 year or 20 years. I’m glad I had the privilege of knowing Hank.
David E. Rice:
I was early for our monthly meeting two days before Hank left us I was fortunate to be invited in to the main house by his daughter Jane. He made me feel welcome by asking me how I was doing. We talked about how much Abington had changed. I am interested in family traditions. Hank & I talked about Saturday night suppers. Beans and frankforts was the mainstay. a smile came to Hank’s face when I mentioned brown bread.
When we had a father and son (about 10 years old) join this year I was sitting near Hank when he critiqued a small item the boy had made. The smile on the boy’s face and the care Hank was taking was indicative of his kindness. we will all miss you.
Looking back to when we first met brings me to a meeting at CNEW while I was still living in Newton and attended with Phil Bowman, president of the Chapter at that time. I had recently moved to Sharon and it was a long trip to Worcester and as I became acquainted with Hank he told me about MSSW monthly woodturning meetings in Abington and he would be willing to have me come down for some lessons to get me started. This was about the year 2001. Since that time he was my mentor in wood turning and responsible for having the Dustbowl play a very important part in my life; woodturning had become a daily part of the comfort and pleasure I enjoy, growing older in number of years yet keeping young in spirit as I keep looking ahead to new challenges in my woodshop.
In response to Nigel’s December 4, 2011 email to the membership to write down a few words in tribute to Hank I first began looking through back issues of Mal Partridge’s “As the Wood Turns”; my oldest is January 2004which shows three members wearing Bob Luliano’s Turned Hat, the same one that Bob so proudly wore at the December 20, 2011 Christmas Party in recognition of Hank. It was significant of the pride that I’m sure was carries within us all being together for a “Special Christmas Party”
Here it is over 11 years, that a mere acquaintance with Hank grew to a strong friendship we shared into his 90th year, which have given me great pleasure and a continuing thirst for knowledge in the craft of woodturning.
It was always good to make Hank laugh, when he laughed his whole body laughed. His laugh filled the room. I did worry at times that he might swallow his tooth pick, Thankfully he never did. He will be greatly missed.
Hank’s Place: A Legacy
Our formal title is The Massachusetts South Shore Woodturners – quite a mouthful with 10 syllables. A couple of shorthand versions often heard or written are MSSWT or South Shore Turners. I prefer the more descriptive “Hank’s Place”
The nest time you are asked which club you belong to , try the 10 syllable answer or any of the shortened versions. Most of the time you will get a blank stare. If you tell them Hank’s Place, I guarantee 99% will know what you are talking about. This holds true even at the National level. I thought about asking you why people so easily recognize Hank’s Place but I think you already know the answer.
When I was a new turner with zero experience, it was Hank who invited me over to his barn for a one-on-one session. I was quite surprised with his patience with such a novice as myself. I was surprised because I was new and just didn’t know Hank very well.
Hank was a leader. Under his leadership, the club grew into what itr is today. Our membership runs from the true experts (I call them Rock Stars), right through to the new diamonds in the rough making their first bowl. Never have I witnessed anyone being put down for their workmanship. Instead, all are encouraged to grow and perfect their newly discovered skill on the lathe. I believe Hank is directly responsible for that attitude.
Hank always had a sense of humor. Just think back to some of the show & tells. Hank (and others) often made a humorous comment about a piece being shown. Hidden within that comment was a gentle way of saying “we know you can do better”. It was criticism that was probably well deserved but done in such a way that it wasn’t offensive. It was simply a challenge to try to reach another level.
the tern Hank’s Place doesn’t stop with wood turners either. He was well known and extremely active in the community: His business as a General Contractor for over 40 years, Planning Board, Zoning Board and Water Board member; Board of directors of a bank; Founder of the Bird Carvers Club; VFW. The list goes on.
Twenty plus years ago when I thought I was the only woodturner in the world, I found Hank, Central NE Woodturners in Worcester and the AAW. Our monthly trips to Worcester, with all the local recruits, in all kinds of weather, is a story that leads to the creation of the Massachusetts South Shore Woodturners. Hank continued to return to Worcester for several years; he was a founding member and a treasure. Hank taught me C/A glue, backcut, shear scraping and power sanding. Our collaborative show at Audubon with Al Vandam and Jack Nash in 1997, organized by Elin Einhorn, was the beginning of MSSWT. we have been successful because of Hank’s leadership and his consummate generosity.
When I first met Henry
I met Henry about 15 years ago, he invited me over one friday night to his barn and he was turning a Russian olive wood vase. He asked me to bring something I had turned. Near the end of Henry’s lathe was a blue firewood barrel, well when I saw Henry’s vase I dropped my sad excuse of an ash bowl into the firewood barrel and Henry got a real good laugh. He took his vae off the lathe and out a piece of maple between centers and asked if I could turn beads & coves. I said “not a problem”. Then he said let’s turn a vase, the piece of wood Henry gave me was not just any piece of wood. Henry picked it up off the floor of his shop. It had a crack running down the side of it, a hole in the bottom, a real nice piece. when I asked Henry about the piece with the crack and hole in it he told me not to worry about it. After the outside was shaped we then started to hollowing the inside. Henry taught me how to hold the gouge in the right spot & rub the bevel. I spent some time while Henry sat at his table carving a gnome. I shut off the lathe and thought I was done. Henry came over and felt down the side of the vase with his fingers. He told me I was not done yet. Henry went back to carving & I went back to hollowing. A little while later I said “I think I’m done”. Henry didn’t even look up this time to check on me, he just said “she’s not singing yet!” I’m thinking what is this guy talking about? So I went thinner thinking this piece of wood is going to explode into a million pieces all over the barn. Shortly after thinking this, the sound of the tool to wood changed pitch and Henry sat in his chair and said”now she’s singing!” I learned more in that one night of turning with Henry tahan I ever will.
The Man, The Myth, The Legend & My Friend Henry
My first meeting with Hank took place at Wally’s shop fourteen years ago. There were about twelve members in attendance. I was there at Wally’s invitation. I had only recently acquired a Shopsmith multi purpose tool and lathe and wanted to learn how to use it. I remember being introduced to a large man with a deep voice who welcomed me to the group. everyone was friendly.
By and by I purchased Wally’s old lathe. Hank volunteered to help me move it to my barn with his front loader. Saturday morning I looked out the door and here were Hank with Wally’s lathe in his front loader coming up my driveway with Wally and Rich Friberg. It still sits right where Hank set it down so many years ago.
Farm Day in Marshfield: We had our lathe set up. A small crowd formed and I was turning a top. From actross the platform upon which we stood, a voice said “Raise that handle up”, it was Hank offering some hands-on instruction in the art of turning. Some of the best lessons occur on the spur of the moment.
I remember show and tell. Hank always seemed to have something new to show us. I remember a bowl with four feet he turned and wondering how he made the feet. This before I knew about indexing. Hank was like family.
I will miss the way Hank would bang the gavel to adjourn a meeting. I will also miss the way he would say after the Minutes, “Let’s have a cup of coffee” Hank was a great friend and a mentor. Like all of his greatest generation, his service and patriotism will be missed.
Charles R. Rosen:
I first met Hank at the Central New England Woodturners in Worcester. I would say that I was lucky that I joined that club, or I would not have had the opportunity to have known him for these 20 or so years. Over the years he has shown leadership and generosity as the president of the Massachusetts South Shore Woodturners, and has never hesitated to assist those that have asked questions. MSSW will find an individual that is willing to serve as president, the club is full of quality members, but I don’t feel we will find a new Hank.
I moved to Massachusetts late in 1999 and found Hank’s club a while later. Hank was always ready to help anyone who asked for help. If they did not know enough to ask for help he would volunteer some suggestions to make the work easier, simpler, or more interesting. If you insisted that you knew what you were up to, he would let you proceed along the primrose path as long as it was not dangerous. he was diplomatic enough not to publicly tell off a turner who was more ambitious than smart but would make quiet suggestions to other people on what they could do to help the turner who had started on a non-safe path.
Hank was an avid woodcarver and we often found each other at meetings of the New England Woodcarvers and at the carving retreats that the Mystic Woodcarvers organized at the Alton B. Jones campus in Rhode Island. I regret that I never took Hank up on his offer to show me how to paint my wood carvings.
“Hello, Hank.” “Hi, Emilio, how’s Vicki? Where’s the mouth (Bobio)?”
Month after month this was our traditional greeting at Hank’s Place. Music to my ears and warmth to my heart. So many memories, so many good times. I think Hank was happiest when we sat down to a good meal. We really got to know Hank well during all of those years at CNEW when we gathered at Tweed’s Pub before the meeting each month.
He would often tell me how much he enjoyed the fish and ships at Quito’s here in Bristol. And the great dinner we had at the Italian Club in East Providence around the time of the symposium in Providence.
In ’98 Hank rode with us to the Akron symposium. a two day trip. Going and coming we were hosted by Vicki’s parents at their home in western Pennsylvania. Hank couldn’t get enough of Nadine’s home made pies, for which he thanked her later by sending her a turned rolling pin. and at Christmas time, Hank would almost giggle to get a stash of Vicki’s homemade candy.
I am so happy to be among Hank’s many, many friends, I trust some day we will meet again at that big woodturning shop somewhere out there.
Big Smile, Big Heart, Good Friend
Follow this link to view Henry’s obituary