Girard S. Haviland


NORWAY — Girard S. Haviland, a long-time resident of West Hartford, Conn. and recently a resident of Norway, died on Friday, Sept. 8. He was 94 years old.

Gerry, as he was known, attended Hall High School and then Cornell University, where he received a McMullen Mechanical Engineering scholarship. The war interrupted his college education when he enlisted in the Army in 1941. Military service followed for two years where he served with 802nd Army Marine Ship Repair Unit. He returned to Cornell, graduating on the dean’s list and with engineering honors in 1948.

Gerry worked at Jacobs Manufacturing, now Jacobs Vehicle Systems in Bloomfield, Conn., for the first 20 years of his career. At Jacobs, he contributed to the technology of Jacobs’s chucks and the engine brake, which improved the safety of heavy trucks worldwide in the 1960’s. He went on to work for Loctite Corporation, now owned by Henkel, for 17 years, developing adhesive application machinery. His work on these products resulted in 55 patents in his name and the position of director of engineering at both of these companies.

He was an active member of the American Association of Manufacturing Engineers where he founded and chaired the Adhesives Council. For many years, he participated in writing military and adhesive specifications for the American Society for Testing Materials. In 1986, he wrote a book about the application of anaerobic adhesive chemistry to mechanical uses called Machinery Adhesives for Locking, Retaining and Sealing, which is still available today.

Gerry also was a major contributor to his community, serving as chairman of trustees at the Universalist Church in West Hartford and running for West Hartford Town Council. He was also president of the Hartford Ski Club during which time he saw to the building of the Hartford Ski Club at Mad River Glen in 1952.

He married Jane Marie Armstrong in 1950 and had three daughters, Mary, Hope, and Suzanne. The Haviland’s lived in West Hartford for 28 years until 1986 when Gerry and Jane retired to Naples. In Naples, Gerry continued his civic activities, serving as president of the board of the Naples Public Library. During his tenure, he raised the funds and oversaw a major renovation and expansion of the library in 1997. He also served as president of the board of directors of the Maine Lakes Environmental Association which, under his leadership, opened its new headquarters called the Bradley Environmental Center in 1995.

These activities took leadership, fundraising skills, design acumen, fiscal and workplace oversight; all skills that he had honed during his engineering career. He loved the creativity of designing new spaces and didn’t mind getting his hands dirty during construction. Finally, Gerry was an outdoor enthusiast who loved hiking, skiing, and sailing. His other hobbies included antique clock repair, gardening, and driving (and fixing) his own backhoe. Gerry’s family and friends will miss his civic spirit, his drive to fix things and his enthusiasm for hard work. He is preceded in death by his wife, Jane Haviland.

He is survived by his sisters, Phyllis Hildebrandt, Faith Duffy and Anne Taylor; his three daughters, Mary Haviland, Hope Haviland and Suzanne Haviland Best; as well as eight grandchildren, Reed McLean, Gem and Luck Haviland, Ciel Haviland, Matisse Hack and Kipling Haviland-Hack, and Jonah and Nathaniel Haviland-Markowitz.

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