|Henry Day Brigham Jr.
All of us at the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center have lost a true friend with the passing of Henry Day Brigham, Jr. His efforts on our behalf benefited us in a myriad of ways for the children and youth in Pittsfield.
When we think about H. Day and what he did for us, with us and for the children who come here every day, we recall a quote by Audrey Hepburn…. “Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm ... As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
He and his mother before him were truly about helping others, it was a way of life. At the dedication of the new name of our agency back in June 2005, Day remarked, “Though I haven’t lived in Pittsfield for 60 years I feel, as does Peter, like a real 'Pittsfielder'. I love this county, this city, this building and its mission.” We will be forever grateful to him for working with us to refine this organization into a lasting legacy for this community.
Henry Day Brigham, Jr., 81, of Chestnut Hill, a former Pittsfield resident and son of a prominent local family, died August 12 following a brief illness. He was known locally most recently as a major supporter of the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center, which had already been renamed in honor of his mother, a legendary Berkshire County civic and social service leader.
"Day" Brigham was born in Pittsfield on December 12, 1926 to Gladys Allen and Henry Day Brigham. His father was employed by the Eaton and Crane paper companies for 40 years, serving as both sales and general manager of the Crane Paper Company for a time prior to his death in 1944. His mother was active in both volunteer and professional health and social services and civic activities spanning 60 years from the mid-1920's through the 1980's. Mr. Brigham attended Pittsfield schools through 10th grade, finishing high school at the the Taft School in Watertown, Conn., where he was co-head monitor of his senior class, and graduating with honors in 1944. Accepted into the Navy V-12 program, an accelerated World War II officer training course, he was assigned first to Williams and then Holy Cross College before finishing college at Yale, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1947. He also graduated from Yale Law School in 1950.
Mr. Brigham began as a corporate lawyer with the New York firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hope & Hadley, later joining Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, before moving to Boston in 1966 as Vice President and General Counsel of Eaton & Howard, an early mutual fund company. In 1952 his civilian career was interrupted by two years of service in the Navy, during which he served as chief legal officer on the U.S.S. Pittsburgh and later the U.S.S. Wisconsin. When Eaton & Howard merged with Vance Sanders, Inc., in 1979 to form Eaton Vance, Mr. Brigham became Chairman of the new firm's Executive Committee, serving in that position until his retirement in 1996.
Mr. Brigham devoted leadership energy and financial support to numerous civic, religious, and environmental organizations in the Boston area and beyond. These included the Episcopal Church, where he served as Senior Warden of his local church and President of the Trustees of Donations of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
He particularly admired the natural beauty and community of Islesboro Island in Penobscot Bay, Maine, where his family had summered for several generations. He was instrumental in preserving significant wetlands and other open spaces on the island, in addition to participating in other charitable causes for the year-round community. Mr. Brigham enjoyed ice hockey well into his 70's, continuing in Brookline his devotion to the "pond hockey" tradition he had learned as a youngster at the Country Club of Pittsfield. He competed on a weekly basis, often with players a generation younger, on a variety of formal and informal teams in the Boston area. His greatest achievement was scoring the winning goal at age 76 for the 'Rusty Blades', a Massachusetts over-70 team, in the championship game of the annual Charles Schultz "Peanuts" age-graded tournament in Santa Rosa, California.
He leaves his wife of 47 years, Catherine van't Hul Brigham, a native of Groningen, the Netherlands; three sons, Henry D. III of Baltimore, Md., Johan V. of Boston and Alexander F.I. of Phoenix, Ariz.; a brother, Peter A., of Bala Cynwyd, Pa.; and seven grandchildren. FUNERAL NOTICE: A burial service was held at Islesboro on August 19, and a memorial service for Mr. Brigham will be held at The Church of the Redeemer, 379 Hammond Street, in Chestnut Hill on September 19 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Islesboro Islands Trust, PO 182, 376 West Bay Road, Islesboro, ME 04848, or the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center, 165 East Street, Pittsfield, MA, 01201.
Obituary published in the Berkshire Eagle