Hearn remembered for his love of nature

June 14, 1996|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

With loving hands, Harry C. Hearn built Wincopia Farms' nursery operation in North Laurel into a major supplier of landscaping plants to such places as the White House, the Kennedy Center and the Washington Monument.

This week, Mr. Hearn -- who died June 3 of myelodysplasia, a bone marrow disorder -- was remembered at a burial service for his love of nature and his tender heart toward people. He was 68.

"He loved life. He loved the things of nature," said one of his daughters, Sarah Pichardo. "And he wanted good things for all people."

The Hearn family has lived on its 100-acre farm off Gorman Road in North Laurel since the early 1800s. Harry Hearn's death saddened the community, which is asking Howard County officials to name a new road near the farm after him. It would be called Harry C. Hearn Drive.

"He was a very selfless person," recalled Gregory Fries, one of Mr. Hearn's neighbors who is leading the effort to have the new road named in Mr. Hearn's honor. "The day after I met him, he showed up at my house with a truck load of flowers for my family.

"That was about a year after we moved to the area in 1989," Mr. Fries said. "And he didn't expect anything in return."

Added longtime neighbor Norman Pessin: "I regret his loss. He was a man of impeccable integrity and honesty. a truly valued person for Howard County and the state of Maryland."

Mr. Hearn, who was born Sept. 8, 1927, in Baltimore, grew up on the Hearn property called Wincopia Farms.

In 1945, after years of raising livestock, Mr. Hearn began building greenhouses on the family land. That operation now produces hundreds of varieties of plants under 3 acres of greenhouses.

"He was an honest man who believed in doing things by example," said his son, Harry Hearn. "He was an example."

The respect the elder Mr. Hearn had earned throughout the community was evident Feb. 11, 1974, when a fire destroyed most of the farm's greenhouses. Other nursery operators rushed to his aid, providing supplies and equipment to help keep the business going.

"In most cases, a competitor would have fanned the fire and watched the business burn," the younger Mr. Hearn said. "But they came to help."

Most of Mr. Hearn's activities revolved around family and work.

For more than 25 years, Mr. Hearn was active in the 4-H Maryland All-Stars and the National Horticulture Association. He also loved fishing and playing chess with his grandchildren, family members said.

About a year ago, he began struggling with myelodysplasia. Mr. Hearn asked doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City to continue seeking a cure. "The only thing that I've known him to asked for was to set up a fund" to find the cure for myelodys-plasia, Ms. Pichardo said. "That way, if they couldn't cure him, someone else might be helped."

In addition to Sarah Pichardo and the younger Harry Hearn, Mr. Hearn is survived by his wife, Ruth Virginia Roberts Hearn; six other children: Stanley Gordon Hearn, Emily Carol Hearn, Mary Frances Rauch, Rebecca Jane Burchell, Linda Ruth Sanborn and Richard Roberts Hearn; 14 grandchildren and two sisters.

Donations to support research on a cure for myelodysplasia may be sent to Dr. Lewis Silverman, Division of Neoplastic Diseases, Box 1129, Mount Sinai Medical Center, 1 Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, N.Y. 10029. A notation should be made that the donation is for myelodysplasia research.

Pub Date: 6/14/96

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