Henry Heinmuller Jr., 93, director of state's retail sales tax division

October 08, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Henry A. Heinmuller Jr., retired director of the state's retail sales tax division and a founder of the State Employees Credit Union, died Tuesday of complications from a fractured hip at Ridgeway Manor Nursing Home in Catonsville. He was 93.

A Catonsville native and lifelong resident, he was a 1928 graduate of Catonsville High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in accounting and studied law at the University of Baltimore.

He was drafted into the Army during World War II and served with the Transportation Corps in Europe. He participated in planning for the D-Day invasion and landed at Normandy on June 7, 1944. He remained in the Army Reserve and attained the rank of major.

He was assistant office manager in the Baltimore office of H.J. Heinz Co. for 15 years before joining the state comptroller's office in 1947. He was named assistant chief of the retail sales tax division in 1960 by then-Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein, and in 1968, became its chief.

In 1974, Mr. Heinmuller created a stir when he reminded organizations and groups planning to hold flea markets on a regular basis that they were required to purchase a $1 sales tax license from each vendor and collect the 4 percent state sales tax.

After about 1,000 phone calls from nervous homeowners flooded his office, he said he had "no intention of cracking down on garage sales involving housewives selling a few items from their attics," The Evening Sun reported.

An editorial in The Sun at his retirement in 1980 referred to him as Maryland's "penny man."

"He was the last of his generation, the last member of the handful who set up the machinery to collect and administer the new sales tax in 1947," said the editorial.

"With Mr. Heinmuller's retirement, there will be no one around to recall the days when they did the job with second-hand equipment and no budget. He saw a lot of pennies turned over to the state during those years. All told, it amounted to 629 billion pennies. That's 629,000,000,000 one-cent pieces. Henry Heinmuller certainly was this state's penny man."

A founder in 1951 of the State Employees Credit Union, he served several terms as its president.

Mr. Heinmuller. a tenor who had studied music, sang with many area choirs during his retirement. He also enjoyed traveling and playing golf, and was a member of the Rolling Road Golf Club. He was a former treasurer of the Catonsville Historical Society.

Mr. Heinmuller was a member for many years of St. John's United Church of Christ, South Rolling Road and Wilkens Avenue, where services will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Survivors include a brother, N. Charles Heinmuller of Towson; a sister, M. Elizabeth Heinmuller of Catonsville; a niece; and two great-nephews.

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