The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel mourns the death of ACTEC’s 41st President L. Henry Gissel, Jr., who passed away on Tuesday, September 15, 2020.
Henry was a pillar of the estate planning field in Texas and across the United States. Current ACTEC President Stephen R. Akers said, "Henry is someone that I have looked up to (I literally "looked up" to Henry, as most of us have when we talked with him) as one of the few truly key leaders in the estate planning field throughout my four decades of practice."
While serving as Chair of what is now known as the American Bar Association Real Property Trust and Estate Law Section, Henry was instrumental in negotiating key tax legislative issues with congressional leaders. He also served as President of the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils and was a recipient of its prestigious Hartman Axley Lifetime Service Award. Most importantly to ACTEC, Henry was a key leader of the College for decades, serving in many leadership roles including as ACTEC President from 1995-1996 and as the President of The ACTEC Foundation from 2017-2020. In each of these positions, Henry always brought his special passion and innovative ideas.
Henry gave the prestigious Trachtman Lecture in 1990, "Reflections of a Fellow on Lawyers, the Law and After Thirty-Odd Years of Exposure." In The History of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Henry shared, "The College was already the finest professional organization of which I was aware at the time I became President, so my challenge was to try to maintain and improve its institutional qualities and momentum during my year of stewardship. Accordingly, my approach was more evolutionary than revolutionary, and my goals were to try to make membership in the College as rewarding and enjoyable as possible while maintaining its high standards for membership and professional activity."
Henry rarely missed a national meeting over his 47 years of being an ACTEC Fellow. During his tenure as President, the ACTEC Meetings were held in Calgary, Canada: Arlington, Virginia; and Puerto Rico. He served as Immediate Past President from 1996-1997 and has served as an Emeritus Members of the Board of Regents since 1997. He served as a member of the College's Executive Committee from 1991-1997; was President of Convention Coordinators, Inc. from 1999-2001; was Chair of the Membership Selection Committee from 1998-2000; Chair of the Nominating Committee from 1997-1998; and Chair of the Program Committee from 1993-1994.
ACTEC celebrates all of Henry's achievements and reflects on a life well lived.
Read more about Henry's life in his impressive obituary.