2013-06-06 / Obituaries

John Lloyd Hadden

BRUNSWICK — John Lloyd Hadden, who lived in Brunswick, Maine with his wife Kathryn Falck Hadden, died peacefully at home on May 27, 2013. He was 89.

He was born August 30, 1923, in New York City, the fourth of five children of Gavin and Rebecca Hadden. His father was a structural engineer and designer of curved buildings, such as the Cornell Stadium, whose company foundered during the Depression. Gavin Hadden then went to work for General Groves, who ran the Manhattan Project. John’s mother was the daughter of an Episcopal bishop of New York.

John was intent on going to West Point but spent a year at Harvard while waiting for his appointment to the USMA. He graduated as an engineer in ‘45 but was discharged because of a sports injury. He wrangled an “emergency commission” after the war and spent several years in Germany building roads and bridges and on one occasion, an airstrip for General Curtis LeMay. When the emergency was over, he had to resign his commission, but he secured a job in the fledgling CIA in order to return to Berlin, a city he fell in love with during the Airlift. He met his future life partner his first day on the job. He and Kathryn married in 1952. They lived in Berlin, Hamburg, Salzburg and Israel, with brief stints in Washington, D.C., until his retirement in 1973. He was Station Chief in Tel Aviv during the Six-Day War in 1967.

After his retirement, he taught history and world affairs, bound books, made toys for his grandsons and all sorts of things for other people.

He received a dozen or so commissions to make “portraits in wood,” boxes filled with symbolic carvings to celebrate the subject’s life and interests, and occasionally gave talks at the Town and College Club, including one on the sex life of the lobster, which he researched with customary diligence.

He was an affectionate and tough-minded father to three sons and a daughter — John, Barbara, Alexander and James, a theater director, abstract painter, boat-builder and metal fabricator, respectively — whom he taught to sail, make things, and look at the world from an oblique angle. He is also survived by two grandsons, Reilly and Will.

He had a great appetite for books on history and science, was an enthusiastic conversationalist, particularly with strangers and people from walks of life different from his own, played squash into his late seventies and kept up a voluminous correspondence with colleagues from the field, remaining especially focused on unfolding events in the Middle East. He was paradoxically a loving friend to many and a keen skeptic about the human species. He often said that Gibbon, author of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, would have given anything to have had the front row seat at the decline of civilization that he so enjoyed and railed at ceaselessly throughout his life.

In lieu of a memorial service, which he expressly wished not to take place, friends are invited to call and visit his beloved Kathryn (“my friend”) when the opportunity arises.

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