TONDRO, Terry J.

Terry J. Tondro, 73, of Hartford, beloved husband of Helle (Stueland) Tondro for 47 years, died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on April 26, 2012. He was born in Santa Monica, CA on May 7, 1938. After graduating from Cornell University with an A.B. in 1961, he served for two years as a tank commander in the U.S. Army in Germany, where he was known as the "red fox" for his red hair and his strategic cunning. Terry then earned an L.L.B. from New York University School of Law in 1967 and proudly served as an attorney in the General Counsel's Office of the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity directed by Sargent Shriver as part of the "War on Poverty." After a year (1968-69) as an Associate at Paul, Weiss, Goldberg, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City, Terry earned an M.Phil. in American Studies from Yale University in 1972, specializing in the history of American city planning and public housing. Terry combined his legal and historical training as professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law for 35 years (1973-2008). He loved to teach, working closely with students and his fellow colleagues. Terry taught a wide variety of courses reflecting the breadth of his interests, including Property, Real Estate Transactions, Law and the Visual Arts, Environmental Law, Cities and Suburbs, and especially Land Use Controls, his passion. His "Connecticut Land Use Regulation: A Legal Guide for Lawyers, Commissioners, Consultants, and other Users of the Land" became an authority often cited by lawyers, courts, municipal officials and zoning boards. Terry strongly believed in the cross-fertilization between academia and legal practice and often served as an expert witness and legal consultant on zoning ordinances and land use matters throughout Connecticut, working with countless Connecticut cities and towns, land use agencies, developers and neighborhood groups. One of his proudest achievements was his leading role in the creation of Connecticut's first National Park, the Weir Farm National Historic Site, a 62-acre farm on the border of Ridgefield and Wilton that had been painted frequently by its owner, J. Alden Weir and his fellow American Impressionist painters. Terry was a strong proponent of historic preservation, including buildings as well as natural landscapes. He played a crucial role in planning and effectuating the School of Law's move to its current beautiful Gothic campus in Hartford's West End and remained involved in the successive campus renovations. An early and active member of the Hartford Architecture Conservancy (HAC), Terry served as its president from 1979-84. His experiences with HAC in revitalizing Congress Street in downtown Hartford led to his publication of "Design Controls for Residential Neighborhoods" that sought to maintain the architectural character of an historic neighborhood while also enabling its economic revitalization. Terry served as a Trustee for the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation from 1975-78, and then on the Trust's Advisory Board. He chaired the Governor's Task Force on the Preservation of Connecticut's Heritage from 1979-1981. For the National Trust for Historic Preservation, he was one of two Connecticut Representatives to the National Board of Advisors from 1990-98, chair of the Task Force on Lead Paint and Historic Preservation (1996-2000), and then as an advisor emeritus focused on affordable housing and community development. Terry was a strong advocate for urban revitalization, representing Hartford on the Regional Planning Commission of the Capital Region of Governments (1974-79). He served as a member of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Housing (1987-89), as a member of the Advisory Committee on Deed Restrictions for Contaminated Sites for the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (1993-94), and as a consultant on "smart growth" statutes and regulations for the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (2002). In 1990 Terry was appointed the inaugural holder of the Thomas F. Gallivan, Jr. Chair of Real Property Law at the School of Law. For the 13 years he served in the Gallivan chair, he strove to link practicing and academic lawyers, organizing conferences with national scholars on a wide range of subjects designed to address current issues in real estate law relevant to Connecticut practitioners. The proceedings of these conferences, published in the School of Law's "Law Review," also reflected Terry's diverse interests and included: "Reclaiming Brownfields to Save Greenfields: Shifting the Environmental Risks of Acquiring and Reusing Contaminated Land"; "The Legacy of Lead Paint in Real Estate Transactions: Legal, Social, Housing, and Public Health Perspectives"; "Selling Municipal Property Tax Receivables: Economics, Privatization, and Public Policy in an Era of Urban Distress"; "Revitalizing America's Cities"; "Creating Effective Environmental Covenants to Support Brownfields Cleanups"; and "Sprawl and Its Enemies: The Experience of Two Cities." He served on numerous panels and wrote articles on affordable housing, regional planning, brownfields remediation, moratoria on land development permits, condominium conversion controls, reform of Connecticut's subdivision regulations, preserving Hartford's neighborhoods through private land use controls, and other topics in land use, real estate and historic preservation. An institutionalist, Terry was deeply committed to and active in the School of Law, where he helped create the School of Law's joint J.D.-M.A. program in Public Policy Studies with Trinity College. He participated in the School of Law's exchange program with the Chinese University of International Business and Economics, teaching American Real Estate Law in Beijing for a month in 1990. A member of the Connecticut and New York Bars, and a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, Terry actively participated on numerous legal panels and conferences. He was elected a member of the prestigious American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) in 1988. He was a co-founder of the Connecticut Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Terry was a warm and gentle man, vibrant and generous, always questioning and trying to solve problems, never satisfied with easy solutions. In addition to his academic and professional interests and activities, he was known as an extraordinary chef and enjoyed preparing interesting dishes and entertaining at home. Terry loved to travel and explore new countries and cultures, especially together with his wife and two sons. For the last 12 years, he and his wife spent several months each winter living in Rome, where they relished going to the open-air markets and restaurants, visiting museums and galleries, attending to concerts, and exploring the many fascinating sights. He leaves behind his wife, two sons, Maximilian L.S. Tondro of Baltimore, MD, and Trevor C. Tondro of Brooklyn, NY and their wives, April Oettinger and Déva Lord; and three grandchildren, Finn, Rowan and Tuesday.
There will be a memorial service to celebrate Terry's life (to be followed by a reception) on Monday, May 7 at 4 p.m. in the Reading Room in Starr Hall at University of Connecticut School of Law, 65 Elizabeth Street in Hartford. The family requests that in lieu of flowers or other thoughtful gifts, contributions be made to The University of Connecticut Law School Foundation for the Terry J. Tondro Award, an annual essay competition for law students on issues dear to Terry (land use, historic preservation, affordable housing and urban revitalization).

Published in The Hartford Courant from May 1 to May 7, 2012