August (Augie) H. Haffenreffer, Jr., formerly of Wellesley and Marion, Massachusetts, passed away on Saturday, August 14, 2010. He was 94. The oldest child of Ruth and August H. Haffenreffer, Augie was born on March 27, 1916 and raised in Jamaica Plain. He attended the Roxbury Latin School where he won the distinguished Latin Prize and gave the school’s Latin Address. Majoring in biochemistry, Augie graduated from Harvard College in 1938 and went on to pursue a lengthy and successful career as an industrial microbiologist.
After college, Augie went to brewing school and then entered the family beer business in Boston at Haffenreffer & Company, which was started by his grandfather, Rudolf Haffenreffer. There, Augie became the Master Brewer and created the formula for the popular specialty beer, Haffenreffer Private Stock Malt Liquor.
Augie’s tireless working career spanned 54 years, with 27 years spent in the family business and another 27 years spent traveling the world and working with customers as a senior microbiologist for sales and engineering at Millipore Corporation of Billerica, MA. When Augie reached age 65, Millipore threw him a celebratory retirement party, after which Augie was called back to work, where he stayed – for another ten years.
In 1941, Augie married his college sweetheart, Marion Gibby, and they settled in Wellesley, MA, for most of their married life. Augie and Marion raised two children, Dr. Mark Haffenreffer of Dedham, MA, and Joan Haffenreffer Bartsch of Bronxville, New York. Mark is an orthopedic surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Joan is the Chief Administrative Officer of Citigroup Global Public Affairs.
After 45 years of marriage, Augie sadly lost his wife to Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) in 1986. Then Augie became a grandfather, four times over, as his daughter Joan gave birth to Andrew and Elliott Bartsch, and Mark’s children, Hartford and Anne Haffenreffer, were born.
Around 1992, Augie moved from Wellesley to a waterfront home in Marion, MA. There he made many new friends and enjoyed caring for the home’s extensive gardens. Then in 1997, he suffered a heart attack, and doctors warned him that he likely had only four more years to live. A tenacious survivor, Augie outlasted that prediction by almost a decade.
At 94, Augie’s health was frail, but his mind was still sharp as a tack, with a memory better than most half his age. He loved to discuss just about everything, including business, politics, history, science or religion. Friends have observed that Augie, while retaining a full head of hair and a still-handsome visage, was much admired by the single ladies in his seniors’ community. He had recently celebrated his 70th class reunion at Harvard.
Recalling what he loved most about his father, Mark said, “At no point did he take anything for granted. He appreciated everything around him and boredom never entered his life.”
Augie’s loving daughter Joan added, “He was a truly wonderful father whose personal example and commitment to family values has inspired me throughout my life. Given my mother’s “love” of camping, our family bonded on our treks across the United States, mishaps and all. I learned to appreciate the history and natural beauty of our country through my father’s eyes and the memories are as vivid today as they were years ago.”
Augie is also survived by his sister, Elizabeth (Betty) Haffenreffer Monrad, who remarked, “We have lost a very special and much-loved person – my brother was always the life of the party and the one who could make a good story out of anything. We will truly miss his humor, his positive attitude, and his infectious laugh.”
A memorial service will be held at the Lutheran Church of the Newtons, 1310 Centre Street, Newton Centre, MA, on September 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm. Funeral arrangements are being coordinated by the Eaton Funeral Home, 1351 Highland Avenue, Needham, MA . Augie’s family invites all who would like to join in celebrating and honoring Augie’s memory.
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