Edward R. Haley

[ Age 83] The World War II veteran and Harvard graduate was known for his `Boston Irish-Catholic wry wit.'

October 28, 2007|By Ruma Kumar | Ruma Kumar,SUN REPORTER

Edward R. Haley, a World War II veteran, Harvard graduate and tractor-trailer salesman known for his dry wit, died Wednesday of complications from pneumonia and lung disease at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The 83-year-old had been living with his son in Jarrettsville.

Mr. Haley, the youngest of five brothers, grew up outside Boston in Medford, Mass. He was an athletic youth, spending much of his time playing football and hockey with neighborhood boys. He attended Medford High School and graduated in 1940 at 16.

"Growing up in Boston, he had that stoic, Boston Irish-Catholic wry wit," said his daughter, Christine Haley Thomas of Baltimore.

Mr. Haley served in the Navy from 1941 to 1945, Ms. Thomas said. In his four years of service, she said, he earned the Philippine Liberation Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal.

He enrolled at Harvard University in 1945 and earned a bachelor's degree with honors in economics. He graduated in 1948, the same year he married Shirley Howell, the sister of a friend from Medford.

Mr. Haley went into sales after graduating from Harvard, spending more than 30 years selling tractor-trailers and winning commendations for his sales record. He and his wife had five children, and after living in Lancaster, Pa., and Atlanta, the family settled in Baltimore in the late 1960s.

Though his sales job kept him traveling and away from his family during the week, Ms. Thomas said, her father brought gifts home every weekend: toys, candy and newspapers from cities he'd visited across the country.

He was a devoted family man, Ms. Thomas said, who instilled in his children a love for reading. Mr. Haley read at least three newspapers a day and enjoyed challenging himself with The New York Times crossword puzzles, Ms. Thomas said.

Ms. Thomas said her earliest memories are of trips to the library with her father. "My father really instilled us with this insatiable thirst for reading, knowledge," she said.

Mr. Haley was a sports buff who enjoyed taking his family to University of Maryland and Baltimore Colts games. When his children were young, he formed family hockey teams and tobogganed with them in the winter.

Mr. Haley was a devout Catholic who tipped his hat whenever he passed by a church and brought fish home every Friday. He also held steadfastly to the Boston traditions of his youth, insisting on Saturday meals of steak, baked beans and brown bread.

Mr. Haley retired 18 years ago and spent much of his time reading newspapers and novels, and swimming, walking and lifting weights at a gymnasium in Bel Air.

His wife died in 1998.

Services for Mr. Haley will be held at Kurtz Funeral Home in Jarrettsville tomorrow .

In addition to Ms. Thomas, Mr. Haley is survived by another daughter, Maureen Haley of Jarrettsville; two sons, Matthew Haley of Plymouth, Mass., and Mark Haley of Jarrettsville; and five grandchildren.

ruma.kumar@baltsun.com

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