Harriet Granet, 49, state counsel

March 22, 2001|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Harriet Beth Granet, principal counsel to the State Retirement and Pension System of Maryland, died yesterday of cancer at her Guilford home. She was 49.

Until resigning last week because of failing health, Ms. Granet continued working in the post she had held since joining the agency in 1989.

"Harriet was held in the highest regard by her colleagues and clients alike, not only for her superior legal skills, but for her unfailing good humor, generosity and character," Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., said yesterday. "We will feel this loss for years to come. ... Harriet was a wonderful person. She is irreplaceable."

Peter Vaughn, executive director of the retirement and pension system, said the fact that she worked to the last minute increased his admiration for her. "Harriet truly showed her stripes. ... She was a true public servant," he said.

An expert in taxation, Ms. Granet also handled fiduciary, real estate and investment issues for the agency. She represented the state retirement and pension system in cases before the Circuit Court.

Born and raised in Cumberland, Ms. Granet was a graduate of the National Cathedral School in Washington. She started at Goucher College before transferring to the Johns Hopkins University, where she received her bachelor's degree in 1974.

After graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1977, she entered private practice. She became a partner in the Baltimore firm Steinmann, Granet and Hassani.

In the early 1980s, she and her partner, Frederick Steinmann, lectured on and helped pioneer the use of computers in the practice of law, said her husband of 12 years, Thomas P. Perkins, a partner in the law firm Venable, Baetjer and Howard.

She was an outdoorswoman who had participated in Outward Bound, and her husband said she demonstrated her perseverance on a wilderness trip to northern Alaska. "She badly sprained an ankle the first day out but kept on going, walking 50 miles over difficult terrain, carrying a 40-pound pack," he said.

"She faced her illness with great determination and courage, but this was characteristic of her entire life. The last 14 months of her life, she endured four types of chemotherapy," he said.

A woman of varied interests - she was a trained yoga instructor - Ms. Granet also was an accomplished golfer. At the Elkridge Club in 1999, she reached the semifinals of the women's championship, defeating the defending champion and the previous year's runner-up.

Ms. Granet had been a member of the board of trustees of the National Cathedral School and was president of the school's National Board of Visitors. She was a member of the Women's Hamilton Street Club and was a former member of the Ruxton-Riderwood-Lake Roland Improvement Association.

A service of celebration will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow in the garden of her home, at 101 E. Highfield Road in Guilford.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by her mother, Greta H. Granet of Longboat Key, Fla.; and a brother, Michael Granet of Cumberland.

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