Richard Douglas Heacock Sr., 81, co-founder of Jiffy Lube International

April 29, 2000|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Richard Douglas Heacock Sr., one of the founders of the Jiffy Lube International franchise empire, died Tuesday of cancer at his Ellicott City home. He was 81.

Mr. Heacock, trained as a certified public accountant, joined other Baltimoreans in 1979 to open oil-change and car care centers, and built them into a coast-to-coast operation with 1,100 outlets, despite having no knowledge of car maintenance. He was the company's first comptroller.

"There were people who laughed at the idea of the franchise, but not Dick Heacock," said Jim Hineman, Jiffy Lube International's co-founder, who lives in Westminster. "He watched it grow and do $1 billion in systemwide sales."

Mr. Heacock got into the quick-oil-change business after a career as an accountant. His accounting firm served several small businesses in the Baltimore area, including Shaw's Bus Service; the Barn restaurant, a popular Severna Park gathering spot; and for fast-food franchises. He was also volunteer treasurer of the old Baltimore County General Hospital.

His experience with Ritchie Highway McDonald's franchise owners educated him about franchise operations in the 1960s and 1970s.

"Dick brought common-sense, prudent, hands-on management skill to individual franchises," said Ed Kelly, a former business associate who lives in Ellicott City. "He wrote our first accounting manual."

The first Jiffy Lube International franchise was on Security Boulevard near the Baltimore Beltway. It opened in 1979.

In 1985, Mr. Heacock sold his accounting firm and opened several Jiffy Lube franchises in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia with his sons.

Born near Loch Raven in Baltimore County to a Quaker family, Mr. Heacock was a 1936 graduate of Catonsville High School. He studied accounting at Baltimore College of Commerce in the downtown YMCA, then at Cathedral and Franklin streets.

He served in the Navy from 1942 to 1946 as a chief steward on Guam.

He was an active member and past president of the Lions Club of Woodlawn.

In 1946, he married Katherine F. Brohmeyer, who died in 1986. In 1989, he married Margaret Sheroky, who survives him.

Funeral services will be held at 9 a.m. today at St. John's Episcopal Church, 3427 Olney-Laytonsville Road (Route 108) in Olney.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three sons, Richard D. Heacock Jr. of Columbia, Ronald C. Heacock of Severna Park and Donald G. Heacock of Catonsville; two stepdaughters, Carol Malstrom of Monkton and M. Susan Droulette of Greenbelt; a sister, Dorothy Hartig of Randallstown; and 10 grandchildren.

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