Richard E. Haefner, 76, wine consultant, ad agency owner

May 22, 2006|By NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON | NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON,SUN REPORTER

Richard "Dick" Edward Haefner, an author, wine consultant and owner of an advertising agency in Annapolis, died of Parkinson's disease Tuesday at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The Annapolis resident was 76.

Mr. Haefner was born and raised in Newark, N.J., and attended public schools. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1952 and later attended law school there.

He worked in the advertising department of the Safeway supermarket chain and in the creative department of Richardson, Myers & Donofrio, now the Carton Donofrio Partners marketing firm in Baltimore. In 1982, Mr. Haefner opened Richard Haefner Advertising, and he operated the business for 20 years.

Mr. Haefner had been a wine consultant to several Annapolis-area restaurants and taught wine appreciation at Anne Arundel Community College.

A wine collector, Mr. Haefner liked to find a deal.

"He wasn't going to spend $100 on a bottle - he'd rather spend $5," said his daughter, Leigh Dempsey of Annapolis. "He loved a very fine wine but found joy in finding inexpensive bargain wine."

He was a founder of the Annapolis Food & Wine Society and the Annapolis chapter of Les Amis Du Vin, a wine group. He also reviewed restaurants for the old Baltimore News American and was a former wine columnist for The Capital newspaper in Annapolis.

Richard Brien was his preferred pseudonym.

In addition to his love of wine, Mr. Haefner enjoyed gourmet foods, often whipping up fancy meals for his family.

"We as children loved it when it was his turn to cook because Mom made spaghetti and he made cannelloni and the fancy stuff," his daughter said. "He had to be one of the first guys to buy Julia Child's cookbooks."

Mr. Haefner also loved Sherlock Holmes and belonged to the Baker Street Irregulars, a book club that gathered and discussed the Arthur Conan Doyle mysteries. He was also a member of the Annapolis Rotary Club and the Red Beans & Rice Society, a group that met at McGarvey's restaurant in Annapolis for 20 years.

A pet-lover, Mr. Haefner wrote How to Judge Your Personality By the Dog You Own, a book published in 1979.

Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 15 years ago, Mr. Haefner was involved with a research project at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, where he would submit to physical and mental tests to chart his illness. In 1999, Mr. Haefner fell and broke his back - an injury that slowed him down considerably. He retired from advertising in 2002.

Even in his last years, as he struggled with his back injury and complications from Parkinson's including dementia, he remained friendly and compassionate, his daughter said.

"He was a personality and very good to everybody, even with his dementia," Mrs. Dempsey said. "When I walk around Annapolis and say, `I'm Dick Haefner's daughter,' they say, `Oh, I love your father!'"

A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. tomorrow at Paul's on the South River restaurant, 3027 Riva Road, Annapolis.

Also surviving are his wife of 50 years, the former Helen Birkland; a son, Richard John Haefner of Arnold; and four grandsons.

nia.henderson@baltsun.com

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