Harold Hal A Soloff

April 9, 1931September 23, 2013

Harold (Hal) Alan Soloff, born in Norwich April 9, 1931, the son of Bessie Bruckner Soloff and Simon Soloff, died on Monday, Sept. 23rd at his home.

He is survived by his son, David, of New York, and his daughter Jennifer and her husband Eric Hu of Hawai Kai, Hawaii. Stacy Gould is his Goddaughter.

Hal was married to his beloeve and best friend Phyllis Bernstein of Norwich for over fifty-three years. She predeceased him in August, 2009. He is also survived by his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Stephen and Barbara Berns of West Hartford, his niece, Attorney Debra Berns of Minneapolis, Minnesota, his nephew Mark Berns, his wife Sol, and their daughters Nicole and Gabrielle Berns of Avon, Connecticut, and his niece Karen Whipple and her husband Richard, and their daughters Ashley and Brittany of Gainesville, Florida. He also leaves his English cousins, Dr. Neville and Rosalind Soloff, of Milton Keynes, U.K., and their children.

When he was in high school, Hal was on the boxing team, and fought in the Golden Gloves competition. He started taking drum lessons at age ten, and began playing professionally at age sixteen. When he was seventeen, he attended the Juilliard School of Music in New York pre-college program, where he studied under Saul Goodman, the premier timpanist with the New York Philharmonic. Hal was in the Northwestern University Marching Band, and at Northwestern, he studied under Edward Metzenger, premier timpanist with the Chicago Symphony. Hal was the timpanist in a symphony orchestra, and played the drums in a dance band while in high school and college. He left college to enlist and serve in the Air Force during the Korean War, and returned to attend law school. Hal was an attorney and Registered Representative of the New York Stock Exchange when he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at age twenty eight. He was one of the oldest survivors of the disease. His younger sister, Jeanne Soloff Golder, mother of Karen Whipple, died at age twenty of CF. He taught at the Norwich Free Academy for twenty five years, and on the graduate level at Connecticut College for thirteen years. Hal drafted the legislation passed by the General Assembly that gave N.F.A. teachers the same rights to negotiate and due process that had been given to public school teachers. For over forty years, Hal and Phyllis traveled extensively throughout Europe, the United States including Alaska and Hawai, Canada and the Caribbean taking his medications and breathing devices wherever they went. Phyllis and Hal hiked in Glacier National park in Montana, and Waterton in Alberta, Canada, and the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. They climbed Mr. Cairngorm in Scotland, Snowdonia in Wales, hiked in the Swiss Alps, drove above the tundra line of Norway, and walked the coast of Cornwall to Land's End in the United Kingdom, which they said was their "home away from home." With their children, they spent a sabbatical year at the University of London, living in Greenwich, and both Hal and Phyllis were awarded the title of "Associate, University of London." He also took lectures on British politics at Nuffield College, Oxford University. Phyllis and Hal maintained a close relationship with their former neighbors and friends throughout the U.K. In addition, Hal earned a doctorate, a masters, and a Professional Diploma in Education. Hal served in several capacities in the Norwich City government including four charter revision commissions, and he chaired three of them. He was chair of the Codes Review Committee, and served on the Governor's Task Force for Higher Education. Hal was a member of the Democratic Town Committee, and was elected a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1972. In 2007, he was given a national award, "Hero of Hope" for his involvement with helping others with Cystic Fibrosis. Hal established an internet support group for those with CF, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He communicated with those who have CF all over the world through the internet and Skype. Although born in Norwich, Hal grew up in North Carolina, Texas, and Tennessee, but settled with the woman and children he loved in the city he loved, Norwich, the place he always considered his "home town." interment is in the I.O.B.A. cemetery, Greenville, where Hal's wife, great grandparents, grandparents, parents, sister, great aunts and uncles, and an aunt and uncle are buried.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Research, Inc., 2672 Bayshore Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043.


  • Graveside Service Sunday, September 29, 2013

Harold Hal A Soloff

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Kristen Morosky Day

September 9, 2014

I was saddened to read about Harold's passing while at the annual teacher's mass this year at the Cathedral. I noticed he had not written any fiery, factual letters to the editor to the Day or Bulletin lately, and was wondering if he had moved out of CT. To live a fulfilling life with CF gives hope to so many and Harold surely lived with gusto. Such a great guy, he will be sorely missed.

Terrie Trainor-Labelle

December 29, 2013

To Sir, with Love

Amelia Avila

October 16, 2013

I am saddened to hear of Hal's passing. I had the pleasure of meeting him and Phyllis many years ago in CT, when my daughter was first diagnosed with CF (she is 18, now). He was an active participant of a CF list that I was also a part of, called Cystic-L, which is how I came to know of him. He was, and will continue to be, an inspiration to us and many who fight CF every day. Many condolences to his family.

October 11, 2013

So sorry for this life lost to CF. It's good to hear of someone this age with CF. His long life gives hope to others with CF. Rest in peace Mr. Soloff. From grandmother of 8 yr old granddaughter with CF

Stefan Keasche

October 10, 2013

Mr. Soloff rest in peace.
You are an inspiration for all cfers around the world.

Mary Duncan

October 10, 2013

Very sorry to hear of your loss, Hal will be missed by all of us that live with CF.
God Bless.

Donna Vantlin

October 10, 2013

So very sorry for your loss. He was a great teacher/ person.. Very caring

Michael Schurig

October 9, 2013

your kindness and advice certainly made a difference for many parents learning about their children's cystic fibrosis.
Your testimony about having a good life with this disease was encouraging.
Thank you and rest in peace.
Michael from Berlin, Germany

Kim Witkowski

October 9, 2013

I met Hal through a Skype interview he did with us in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada about living with his Cystic Fibrosis. A wonderful man who will also be missed this side of the border. As a 44 yr old living with Cystic Fibrosis, his life gives me hope that I can live a long, productive life.

Lesli Contreras

October 9, 2013

I'm so osrry to hear of this sad news about Hal. I'd been on Cystic List for several years, not so much recently in the past couple years, but he was always so kind to me. He wrote me several times and shared stoires about so much in his life, his preicous wife and family. Our hearts and prayers are with you deeply.