C. David Haacke, a former mayor of Chestertown and one-time member of the Kent County Board of Commissioners, died of lung cancer Tuesday at the Bonnie Blink Masonic Home in Cockeysville. He was 82.
A Baltimore native and 1950 graduate of the Johns Hopkins University, where he received a degree in chemical engineering, Mr. Haacke was a successful business owner who played an active role in Kent County civic and political affairs.
He was well-known for his work with the Masons, rising to the fraternal organization's highest rank in Maryland - Most Worshipful Grand Master - in 1985-1986. Among his legacies was the creation of Masonic Charities of Maryland Inc., which has raised money for student scholarships and drug awareness programs, as well as other projects.
"The Masons were a huge part of his life," said his daughter Terri Cox of Wilton, Conn.
Mr. Haacke was the son of William John Haacke and Gertrude Clara Bruning Haacke.
As a young man, he worked for an uncle at Bruning Brothers Paint Co. in Baltimore before taking a position in 1952 with Lehigh Chemical Products in Chestertown. He acquired Lehigh's assets in 1960.
Mr. Haacke sold the company in 1966 to Tenneco Chemicals Inc. After working for a time for Tenneco, he started a new company, Business Management Services Inc., a consulting firm for small businesses. He sold it in 1983 and retired five years later.
A longtime friend and neighbor, retired Kent County Circuit Judge George B. Rasin Jr., said Mr. Haacke "had such a great personality. He liked everybody and everybody liked him."
Mrs. Cox said her father always had a "strong sense of community and a strong faith."
She recalled the advice he gave her as a young girl. She had been looking on as he was shaving in the bathroom mirror.
"He said, `It's important to be proud of yourself and the things you do. If you ever wake up in the morning and can't look at yourself, you need to ask yourself why,'" Mrs. Cox recounted.
Jonathan C. Kurrle of Arlington, Va., said Mr. Haacke was generous with his time, helping in 1995 to establish a Masonic Lodge in the District of Columbia that now has more than 50 members.
"He means an awful lot to so many of us," Mr. Kurrle said.
Mr. Haacke was recognized for his service to Masonry with some of the organization's top honors. In 2007, he received the Thomas J. Shyrock Medal for Meritorious Service, the highest award given by the Grand Lodge of Maryland.
In addition to serving as Chestertown's mayor from 1962 to 1967, Mr. Haacke was a Kent County commissioner from 1974 to 1978. He also was a former chairman of the Kent County Republican Central Committee.
A longtime director of Chestertown Bank of Maryland, Mr. Haacke served on the boards of many local businesses and organizations. He was an active member of Christ United Methodist Church.
A memorial service will be held in the chapel of Bonnie Blink Masonic Home at 10 a.m. Saturday for family, friends and residents and staff of Bonnie Blink, followed by Masonic services in the chapel at 11:30 a.m.
A memorial service also will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Christ United Methodist Church in Chestertown.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Haacke is survived by two other daughters, Kathi Morehead of Brunswick and Debbi Haacke of Dallas; and three grandchildren. His wife of 54 years, the former Kathleen Estepp, died in 2004.