Harry W. `Mo' Haight, 65, Carroll funeral director

October 02, 2006|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,sun reporter

Harry W. "Mo" Haight, a well-known Carroll County funeral director and community activist, died of pulmonary fibrosis Thursday at Carroll Hospital Center. The longtime Sykesville resident was 65.

He was born in Baltimore and raised on Central Avenue in Sykesville. He was a 1959 graduate of the now-defunct Sykesville High School and began his college career at Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College. He later transferred to the Cincinnati College of Embalming, from which he graduated in 1963.

In 1960, he joined his father, Luther H. Haight, in the business that had been established in 1888 by James R. Weer on Main Street in Sykesville.

The elder Mr. Haight joined the business in 1933 and after being named a partner in 1951, the business was renamed the Weer-Haight Funeral Home. Since 1961, the business has operated as the Haight Funeral Home and Chapel, on Route 32, a few blocks south of Liberty Road.

"He hadn't retired and was here every day. Work and being active in the community were his hobbies," said his son, Brian L. Haight of Sykesville, who has worked with his father since 1984.

"He came from a give-back family and Sykesville is really going to miss him," said Neil L. Forthman, a boyhood friend, and a senior mortgage analyst. "He was born with a likable and congenial personality and was always looking out for the other guy."

Mr. Haight was known for his welcoming smile and compassion and understanding for those who had lost loved ones.

He "made sure that patients at Springfield Hospital Center who had died and had no family or money were given a decent and dignified funeral," his son said.

"If indigent people in the community died, he'd take care of them as well," said C. Todd Brown, a retired banker, who had grown up with Mr. Haight. "He's done so much for the community and South Carroll through his professional, civic and fraternal life."

"He was loved and revered by the community and he gave of himself unselfishly," said Sykesville Mayor Jonathan S. Herman.

Mr. Haight was a member of the Sykesville-South Carroll Rotary Club for more than 40 years. As club president, he spearheaded a $10,500 project that built a 700-square-foot replica of a rural railroad station to complement the vintage 1949 amusement park locomotive and four passengers cars purchased by the town for $9,500 from a Pennsylvania shopping center.

The Little Sykes Railway train, painted in original B & O royal blue and gray, transports passengers along 700 feet of track.

"It became our special project and a way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Rotary International," Mr. Haight said in a 2004 interview with The Sun. "We wanted to do something for the town and the railroad station really caught our eye. We are really pleased and proud of the project."

In 2004, The Eldersburg Eagle newspaper named him Man of the Year.

Mr. Haight was the first to hold the title of chairman of the board of the Sykesville Federal Savings Association. He was a life member of the Sykesville-Freedom District Volunteer Fire Department where he had chaired the building fund committee.

He was also a member of the board of the Carroll Community Foundation, which administers millions of dollars in scholarships for students, and was a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Mr. Haight loved collecting and playing vintage 1960s pinball machines, which he displayed in the basement of his home.

A musician who played both piano and trumpet, he was a member of Donald Wooden's Woodenaires, a Dixieland band, for many years. "He could hear a song twice and then sit down and play it. And one of his favorites was `Jada,' which sounds really great played on a trumpet," said Mr. Brown, a fellow musician.

Mr. Haight was a communicant of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 915 Liberty Road, Eldersburg, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. today.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 42 years, the former Susan Doyle; two daughters, Susan Paige Herbert of Sykesville and Jacqueline Haight Guenther of Ellicott City; a sister, Lou Ann Estes of Sykesville; and six grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Ellie Baublitz contributed to this article.

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