August 3, 2007
By ANN MARIE SOMMA, Courant Staff Writer
Harry Franklin Merrow, a champion of social and racial justice in the Hartford area and a moral mentor to city leaders, died Wednesday in Bloomfield. He was 82.
In the 1980s, Merrow founded an American Leadership Forum chapter that works to form a bond between the public and private sectors of Greater Hartford.
While heading the forum's yearly classes, he provided a moral and ethical foundation for city leaders and even inspired former Mayor Mike Peters to run for office.
"He brought people together to strengthen our community, to figure out where we had to go as a community," Peters said. "He was a wonderful man."
During the 1970s, he served as a founder, director and chairman of the Hartford Economic Development Corp. and chairman of a committee that formed Asylum Hill Inc., which represents 10 institutions that promote and provide money for Asylum Hill improvements.
He is best remembered for his work advancing social, racial, economic and religious justice in the Hartford area. He served on many boards and committees, including the United Way, the Downtown Council and Campfire Girls.
He also was a director of Greater Hartford Process and coordinated its executive committee, made up of executives from Hartford's major corporations who worked with local governments to plan for the future of Hartford and the region.
In 1994, then-Speaker of the House Thomas D. Ritter asked him to serve as a senior adviser to organize Ritter's transition team during his first term.
Merrow retired in 1981 from the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Co. as senior vice president and a member of its senior management policy committee, where he worked to pioneer and define corporate social responsibility.
He attended Bristol High School and received a bachelor of science degree from Northwestern University in 1949 and a master's from Trinity College in 1951.
Molloy Funeral Home of West Hartford is responsible for arrangements. A memorial service with reception will be held Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Duncaster, 40 Loeffler Road in Bloomfield. Private burial will be at the convenience of the family.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Merrow Family Memorial Fund, c/o the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, 10 Columbus Blvd., Hartford, CT 06106.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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