Hanlon Charles, the State Bar's elegant and articulate communications director, died July
5 after a six-month battle with cancer. She was 58.
As communications director, Mrs.
Charles was an effective spokesman for the bar during many stormy years at the
organization, fielding calls on stories ranging from the
O.J. Simpson case to the bar's near demise last year.
"No one could have done a better job," said former bar President Marc Adelman
of San Diego, who presided over the organization last year as it tried to win funding in
Jeffrey T. Gersick, acting executive director of the bar, said, "Anne was
extremely effective in representing the best interests of the State Bar in addressing the
needs of the media. She was a joyful individual and had a wonderful sense of humor, always
able to place the issue of the moment in the proper perspective."
Mrs. Charles was active in state and local politics and was instrumental in 1976 in
helping U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer win her first political office a seat on the Marin
County Board of Supervisors.
Indeed, her convictions and values guided her life. Fran Bassios, a bar executive who
was a close friend, said Mrs. Charles' beliefs "were not situational; they were not
taken out of the attic when appropriate. They were an integral part of her life. She
actually lived what she believed."
And Sen. Boxer added: "Anne was a person of great intelligence, wit, charm and a
loving family member. She will be sorely missed in the community."
Mrs. Charles joined the bar in 1985, and with style and composure, she maintained a
delicate balance in keeping news organizations informed and persuading bar officials to
improve the organization's public relations. She respected and understood the media and
over the years formed good relationships with many reporters.
In addition to serving as a contact for the media, Mrs. Charles supervised consumer
education activities, such as the production of educational pamphlets.
"Anne had a keen appreciation of the value of communication and technology,"
said bar President Raymond Marshall. "She really pushed the board to meet those
"The reason why she did such a good job was that she believed in total
honesty," said James Towery of San Jose, a former bar president.
Born in Bethlehem, Pa., Mrs. Charles attended Marymount College in Tarrytown, N.Y.,
graduating magna cum laude. She was a recipient of an honorable mention from the Woodrow
She was a public affairs consultant from 1976 until 1985, with clients that included
Boxer, former Contra Costa County Supervisor Sunne Wright McPeak and the Marin County
district attorney's office.
In 1980, she was a candidate for the Ninth Assembly District in northern California. A
member of the National Association of Bar Executives, she was elected last year to its
board of directors.
She was a former state leader of the National Women's Political Caucus, was a past
president of the Louise A. Boyd Museum in Marin County and served on the board of
directors of the Northern California Mediation Center.
She had been on leave from the State Bar since learning that she had cancer six months
Mrs. Charles is survived by her husband of 35 years, Peter, four children, her mother,
and two brothers and two sisters.