COOPERSTOWN _ Harold L. Stults Jr., a highly esteemed New York attorney, died Sunday afternoon, Aug. 14, 2011, at Otsego Manor in Cooperstown. He was 67.
Patricia Thorpe, his wife of 33 years, said the cause of death was Alzheimer’s.
Harold’s legal career started at Breed, Abbot & Morgan, a large Wall Street firm, in 1968, where he worked as a tax associate. After a transformative trip to India, he left Wall Street for the public sector and in 1970, joined the Health Services Administration of New York City, an umbrella agency created by the Lindsay administration to coordinate the work of the many city agencies involved in healthcare.
Harold was recognized not just for his legal expertise but also for his outstanding judgment on policy questions. He eventually became General Counsel of HSA before leaving city government in 1973, to begin private practice.
Harold shared office space with the firm Butkowsky, Schwenke and Devine and worked with that firm on the SEC investigation into the complex securities frauds perpetrated by Robert Vesco, which called for his expertise in international tax law. Later he took part in a similar investigation of John DeLorean and his failed automobile company.
In 1978, Harold embarked in a partnership with litigator S. Pitkin Marshall. They set up offices on the 62nd floor of the Chrysler Building.
Much of the early work of the firm came from the Health Systems Agency of New York City, an agency organized to help local consumers and providers of health care to develop long-term plans for medical facilities in the region, with a goal of reducing both redundancy in the system and health-care costs.
Harold’s ability to identify long-term problems and develop solutions, as well as his invaluable talent for writing brilliant, insightful andclear policy documents, were widely recognized throughout the healthcare field.
A very different area of legal work developed from the burgeoning art scene taking place in downtown Manhattan in the late 70s into the 80s. Stults & Marshall beganconsulting with artists living and working _ often illegally _ in former industrial buildings in SoHo and Tribeca.
They advised clients on buying buildings, converting them into co-ops, and obtaining Certificates of Occupancy to make them legal residences.
As the partners readily agreed, this was not financially rewarding work, but it involved interesting people _ many of Harold’s artist-clients became lifelong friends _ and issues that could be resolved in a positive way.
Stults & Marshall became Stults, Marshall & Gabler in 1980, gradually expanding and adding partners. The firm continues today as Balber, Pickard, Maldonado and Van Der Tuin.
Harold Stults was born Dec. 25, 1943, in Milburn, N.J., to Harold L. and Ruth (Kaul) Stults, both now deceased. He attended Phillips Academy, Andover; Harvard University; and Harvard Law School. His love of literature ranged from the Greek and Latin classics to Golden Age Spanish poetry and drama to ancient and modern philosophy.
He was an avid runner who completed the NYC Marathon twice. The garden he helped to create in East Worcester was featured in House & Garden. He was a superb cook who delighted in gathering friends for spontaneous, often chaotic and delicious dinners. He enjoyed mountain climbing and wilderness camping, particularly with his son, Sam.
He was a man of prodigious energy, brilliant intellect, flawless integrity and unfailing good humor, abilities which made him widely admired and much loved.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his son, Sam Stults, of Hawthorne, Calif.; his brother, Robert Stults, of Woodstock; his aunt, Dorothy Leslie of Maplewood, N.J.; and three nieces and three nephews.
Visitation was held from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut St., Cooperstown.
A Memorial Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011, at St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Roman Catholic Church, 31 Elm St., Cooperstown.
Interment will take place privately in the Cooper Memorial Garden at Christ Church in Short Hills, N.J. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to Catskill Area Hospice & Palliative Care, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820 or Rolling Hills Activities Fund at Otsego Manor, 128 Phoenix Mills Cross Road, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
Arrangements are under the guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.
Published on  August 19, 2011