Donald R. (Pete) Hart Jr. died on Sunday, April 17. He was 93 and was the beloved husband of Elvira (Horvath) Hart.

A lifelong New Britain resident until late in his retirement years, he was truly part of the Greatest Generation.

He was the first child of Donald R. Hart and Elise Russell Hart and grew up on Hart street in New Britain. He was one of the first four graduates of Mooreland Hill School in Berlin, Conn., and then went on to graduate from Avon Old Farms School in Avon, Conn., and Amherst College. He also took courses at La Sorbonne in Paris, France.

Pete was multilingual, speaking over 13 languages, (nine of them fluently), and later taught French, German, Spanish, and Latin after his graduation from Amherst. At one point he was head of the language department of Avon Old Farms School.

His innate language abilities helped shape his military career. Drafted early in World War II, he was one of 250 Americans asked to volunteer to start the O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services, which later became the C.I.A.) and he did. He served with distinction, handling French sabotage operations in occupied France, running a spy “transit station,” and capturing Nazi collaborators in Paris after its liberation. He was especially pleased to receive the Legion of Honor medal from the French government for his efforts, the highest award bestowed on a non-French citizen. After discharge he served in the U.S. Army Reserve for 33 years, retiring as a colonel with a top secret clearance.

His government service didn’t end there. Vera (whom he married in 1979) and Pete again volunteered for the disaster relief program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Being on call 24/7, they flew out to over 30 disasters between 1983 to 1999 earning nothing but expenses. From 1981 on he was also a member of the National Defense Executive Reserve, a government organization set up to help the nation survive a nuclear attack. He was a true patriot.

Pete loved the Island, where the Hart family has had homes since 1811 with most of them in the community of Harthaven and up-Island in Chilmark. It was here that Pete organized an annual family gathering over Labor Day. Relatives and friends from all over the Island and mainland came to The Bash each year. His last Island home was in Vineyard Haven.

In addition to his devoted wife, he is survived by a sister, Mary Jane Clark of Kent, Conn; and a brother, Dr. David L. Hart of Oak Bluffs. He was predeceased by his brother Henry Russell Hart. Also mourning are his three children (from a previous marriage) Peter R. Hart and his wife, Andrea, of New Britain, Conn., Christine H. Hart and her husband, William F. Morlock, of Brattleboro, Vt., and Philip D. Hart and his wife, Carol Gauthier, of Oakland, Me. Pete’s six grandchildren will also miss him: Brittany, Zachery, Ben, Alexis, Nicholas, and Jennifer, as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Pete was a lifelong Episcopalian. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on April 26 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Salisbury, Conn.

Interment with full military honors will take place on April 27 at 1 p.m. at the Bourne National Veterans Cemetery in Bourne, per Colonel Hart’s request.

Memorial donations may be made to the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, Wakeman Conservation Center, 57 David Ave., Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, or The Family Council, Noble Horizons Retirement Community, 17 Cobble Rd. Salisbury, CT 06068.

Arrangements are under the care of the Newkirk-Palmer Funeral Home.

We close with a direct quote of Donald R. (Pete) Hart Jr. taken from a “self obit” he wrote a few years ago: “Now, you have read quite enough, and so I bid you all adieu.”