Thomas A. Hart, Sr., 93, former professor and athletic coach at Howard University and executive at Westinghouse Electric Corporation died at the Residences at Thomas Circle in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 5. Mr. Hart moved to the District of Columbia in 1948. He was born in Williamstown, MA in 1919. He attended Hampton University (where he met his wife, the late Adalyne Monroe Hart), New York University and the University of Illinois. He earned his doctorate in education from NYU.
Dr. Hart served in the U.S. Army from 1942-1946. He served as a technical sergeant and was in charge of physical fitness for all “colored” troops at Chanute Field, IL. From 1946-48 he served as athletic director, head basketball and track coach and Professor of Health and Physical Education at Talladega College, Talladega, AL. He was professor of health, physical education and recreation at Howard University from 1948 to 1964. Also, he served as varsity head coach for basketball, track and field, golf, swimming and wrestling. His team won Howard’s first wrestling championship in the CIAA in 1951 and later he was inducted into the Howard University Hall of Fame.
On leave from Howard University, he was sent to Ghana, West Africa by the U.S. Department of State where he and his family lived from 1958-61. In Ghana, Dr. Hart served as National Track and Field coach and Head Olympic coach for the Ghanaian men and women’s track teams for the 1960 Olympics held in Rome, Italy.
Dr. Hart served two terms on the board of trustees of the University of the District of Columbia. He served on the board of directors of the National YMCA, the D.C. Striders, the Junior Citizens Corps, and the International Association of Free Enterprise Trade Zones. Dr. Hart also worked closely with the Congressional Black Caucus. Dr. Hart was one of the founders and officers of the American Association of Blacks in Energy and he received the James E. Stewart award from that association in 1991.
In 1947 Dr. Hart founded Camp Hart in Williamstown, MA. The camp (from 1948-1963) provided youth the opportunity to gain leadership skills and an appreciation of the great outdoors. In later years the operation focused on golf instruction as well as an emphasis on fitness and the importance of higher education. From 1964-1989 Dr. Hart worked for Westinghouse Electric Corporation and from 1964-71 he served as director of the Job Corps Center at Camp Atterbury in Indiana. Following that he was executive administrator for the president of Westinghouse Electric Corporation Defense Center. From 1974-89 he served as director of community services and executive assistant to the vice president of public affairs in Washington, DC.
Dr. Hart received the Westinghouse Order of Merit in May, 1969 as recognition of his distinguished service. This is the highest award a Westinghouse employee can receive and he was the first African American so honored.
Dr. Hart was a life member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity where he served as Basileus (President) of the Alpha Omega’s chapter for two terms. He was elected national Omega Man of the Year in 1975. Dr. Hart was also a life member of the NAACP and the National Urban League. He was also an active member of The Group. He was a long time member of the first United Methodist Church of Williamstown, MA and served as an elder at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Washington. He later joined Sargent Memorial Presbyterian Church. He served on the board of trustees of the Eastern Board of Officials and on the Pigskin Club of Washington. Both voted him into their Hall of Fame. In 2006, Dr Hart was also inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame. He also served as president of the East Rock Creek Civic Association. He served as chairman of the Commission on Health and Safety for the District of Columbia and as chairman of the Committee on Education.
Survivors include his wife, the former Gloria Davidson and a brother James Y. Hart (Mary Hart). Other survivors include daughters Prof. Brenda Hart and Elaine Monroe Hart Brothers, MD. (George B. Brothers, MD). Other family members include a son Thomas A. Hart Jr. Esq. (Norma Alexander Hart), a step-son Michael Davidson, eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Thomas A. Hart Sr. Scholarship Fund at Industrial Bank, 4812 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20011.
Copies of Dr. Hart’s recently published memoir entitled “Opening Doors” are available for a donation by calling 1-800-696-HART.
Visitation will be at 10 a.m., Jan. 19 at Sargent Memorial Presbyterian Church followed by the funeral at 11 a.m.
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