John W. Highfield Jr., golf association president

August 31, 2008

John W. Highfield Jr., a former employee of McCormick & Co. and an avid golfer who served as president of the Maryland State Golf Association, died in his sleep Aug. 25 at his residence in Ruxton. He was 69.

Mr. Highfield was born in the Philadelphia suburb of Jenkintown, where he went to high school. He attended Lehigh University and graduated in 1961 with an undergraduate degree in English, according to his son, John Highfield III of Charleston, S.C.

Mr. Highfield was on the Lehigh football team and was starting quarterback part of his junior year and all of his senior year, said Charles P. Wentz, a teammate and friend. Mr. Highfield also played third base on the university baseball team. He won three letters each in varsity football and baseball, Mr. Wentz said.

After college, Mr. Highfield moved to Baltimore to work at McCormick & Co., where he was a distribution manager. He most recently worked at Under Armour in logistics, his son said.

Mr. Highfield was a member of the Elkridge Club, where he was chairman of the greens committee. He was president of the Maryland State Golf Association in the mid-1990s.

"Golf was a really big part of his life," said his son.

Friends recalled Mr. Highfield as personable and devoted to his family.

"He never really had something bad to say about somebody, which was to his credit," said Mr. Wentz, a salesman who lives in Morristown, N.J. "He was very liked by people. He also stayed in touch with his friends - a friendly, outgoing guy. He left a legacy of achievement, and he certainly was a strong family man who loved his kids and his grandkids."

Del Dressel was a friend of John Highfield III at Gilman School and met his friend's father when Mr. Highfield helped coach the football team in 1980.

"He would shake your hand and say, 'How are you doing?' You could tell by looking at his eyes that he was ready to listen," Mr. Dressel said.

Services were held Thursday.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 47 years, the former Carole Hayes; a daughter, Whitney Kemm of Fair Haven, N.J.; and four grandchildren.

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