George Hassett, 1953-2012, was a standout defense attorney in courts across the United States known for helping clients and mentoring young attorneys. My father was a lawyer's lawyer who loved the clash of ideas and facts contained in the law.
More importantly, my father was a great Dad, husband, brother, uncle and friend. He always came through in the clutch - whether it was with timely advice or by offering a hand to someone in a bad situation. He never asked for anything in return for his many acts of charity, just an acknowledgment that "We're together forever baby."
My Dad was born to Mary and Robert Hassett on August 5, 1953. He was born with polio on the right side of his body but that did not stop him from playing Little League baseball (appropriately, he was a catcher - a spot usually reserved for a team leader) or participating in other youth activities.
Despite overcoming polio in so many ways, he took the advice of a childhood doctor who told him, "You're going to make it with your mind not your body." My Dad became a standout scholar at Boston College High School and earned a full academic scholarship to Boston College.
After working his way through Suffolk Law School my father hit the street as a young criminal defense attorney looking to make a name for himself. With an office in East Cambridge, he defended many people who could pay little in attorneys fees. But my father always believed in the best of people and he gave each client his best effort - no matter how infrequent their payment schedule.
In 1980 he met my mom Diane and in 1982 I was born. My father was the best Dad in the world. He encouraged me in all my pursuits and I always knew no matter what, my Dad would be on my side. Even when my parents marriage ended my Dad worked with my Mom to maintain our sense of family. As my mom said, he was an "ex" but he never exited our lives.
And that was the essence of my father. Even if he was trying a capital murder case in California he could still be completely present in our lives in Massachusetts. Nothing - not even his long hours of work and advocacy for his clients - took him away from his values of loyalty and family.