Thomas Benedict Albertson, 83

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 2:30pm

Thomas Benedict Albertson, 83, died of pancreatic cancer on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, at his home on Block Island, R.I., surrounded by his family.

Born Feb. 3, 1937, Tom attended Tabor Academy, Williams College, and Cornell Law School. An advocate for civic responsibility, Tom served as President of the Cornell Legal Aid Clinic, and later as Chairman of the Town Planning Board and President of the Library in Somers, N.Y., where he raised his family. He also was President of the New Rochelle Humane Society and a member of the Board of the New Rochelle Boys and Girls Club.

Tom began his legal career at the law firm of Cadwalader & Taft in New York City before joining his father’s law firm in New Rochelle, N.Y.

While these things list documented milestones in his life, they do not define the man we all knew and loved. As a trust and estates lawyer, his relationships with his clients were personal. Their lives mattered to him. But as much as he approached his work with integrity and humanity, it was his family and home life that defined him more than any career. He would trade his office chair for a seat on his lawnmower, with chickens scattered about, in a heartbeat.

For family and friends he was always ready for a good time, but he was also there for you when the chips were down. He made his mark on our lives through companionship, kind words, thoughtful conversations and some healthy swearing at life’s untimely upsets. An excellent raconteur, he regaled young and old alike with stories, factual and not so much.

In 1984, with the encouragement of old friends, he came to Block Island and fell in love with its beauty and simplicity. Tom embraced the “time warp” that Block Island represents. He rented for several years and then bought a house on Beacon Hill Road and later his current home on Southwest Point where he with his wife Katharine, children and grandchildren spent many happy summers.

Tom and Katharine decided to retire to Block Island and became permanent residents in February 2019.

Tom was many things to many people, but the constant was that once he was your friend he remained unconditionally loyal.

He is survived by his wife Katharine; his children Carole Albertson, Mary Katharine Albertson, Jennifer Albertson Erickson and Hilary Albertson Wharton; his grandchildren Willow Gallagher, Finn Gallagher, Dolan Wells Gallagher, Payton Gallagher, Cole Wharton and Wells Wharton; his sister Ethel France, his brother Joseph Albertson and their children.