David James Heyl, 78, owner of Moore's Candies

November 17, 1998|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

David James Heyl, who operated a candy business from his basement for nearly 20 years and was known as the "Candy Man" of Hamilton, died Saturday of septic shock at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. He was 78.

In addition to making and selling candies from his Northeast Baltimore home, Mr. Heyl owned a kiddie merry-go-round, Ferris wheel and cotton candy maker, wheeling them from neighborhood to neighborhood and to special events.

"What he did was a lot of fun, and he just loved to make people happy," said his daughter Nancy L. Siegert of Monkton.

Mr. Heyl and his wife bought Moore's Candies in 1964 and operated the business from their Pinewood Avenue home until 1981. They provided boxes of candy for numerous fund-raising efforts and had a brisk walk-up business.

The busiest times were around Christmas (his specialties were pound boxes of chocolate-covered cherries, raisins and nougats) and Easter (his chocolate, vanilla, and nut-and-fruit eggs were always in demand).

"He's worked 14-hour days during his busy season," Mrs. Siegert said. "He did almost everything for the business."

Now sold mostly in local hospitals and specialty shops, his candies have received local and national recognition over the years. The Los Angeles Times designated Moore's Candies as "America's Best Chocolate," and they have been praised by Baltimore and Tour magazines.

Mr. Heyl bought the business after a three-year apprenticeship in which he learned how to make and market candy. Although he learned the right proportions of each ingredient, much of his candy was made through trial and error, friends and relatives said.

His easy manner, as well as quality candy, gave him a loyal following.

"Well, you know it's homemade, and you can stand there and watch him make it," said Janon Chilcoat, a regular patron for 10 years. "The whole city of Baltimore buys his candy."

Mr. Heyl was known to give customers free samples when they came into his home. A customer once went overboard on the freebies, stuffing several chocolates into his pants pocket.

"Before he left, he bumped into something and you can imagine the mess he had," Mrs. Siegert said.

During Mr. Heyl's first years operating Moore's Candies, the goodies were not made during the summer because of the lack of air conditioning -- which led to the merry-go-round and Ferris wheel business.

"He became quite popular with his attractions and all," said Steven Enelow of Northeast Baltimore, a candy customer and merry-go-round patron. "All of the little kiddies went wild when he came around. Imagine how it would have been [with] candy then, too."

A lifelong Baltimore resident, Mr. Heyl graduated from City College in 1938 and the old Strayer Business College in 1940. He attended the University of Baltimore.

He worked various jobs before he started his candy business, including as a vacuum cleaner salesman for Electrolux, a stenographer for the War Department, and in the personnel department of the former Glenn L. Martin plant in Middle River.

Although Mr. Heyl sold his business to his son in 1981, he continued an active role in Moore's Candies, making deliveries and helping with the bookkeeping.

He was a member of the Boumi Temple, Scottish Rite, Masonic Lodge, and Tall Cedars of Lebanon.

Mr. Heyl was also a member of the Baltimore Tourism Association, where members recall introductions at monthly meetings, according to Carolyn Anderson, the group's treasurer and past president.

At each meeting, members would introduce themselves. When Mr. Heyl said his name, the members chanted in unison, "More people eat Moore's Candies every day."

"Everyone would always crack up then," Ms. Anderson said.

Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. tomorrow at Altenberg Funeral Home, 6009 Harford Road.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife, the former Clara Bessie Ault, whom he married in 1941; two sons, D. James ZTC Heyl Jr. of Lutherville and Michael R. Heyl of Gaithersburg; another daughter, Claire E. Hufnagel of Jarrettsville; and nine grandchildren.

Pub Date: 11/17/98

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