Charles R. 'Hap' Hazard, former longtime Baltimore Sun artist, dies

Charles R. “Hap” Hazard, a former longtime Baltimore Sun artist known for his pen and ink drawings of subjects ranging from city neighborhoods to newsmakers, died Tuesday at his Owings Mills home from complications from diabetes. He was 70.

Mr. Hazard was a respected figure for more than three decades for readers of The Sun. With his head perpetually wreathed in smoke from his ever-present pipe and his casual attire, he commanded an art department drawing table in the newsroom littered with brushes, pens, ink, paints, paper and a half-cocked glue pot.

“He had an exquisite talent for drawing wildlife and pungent cartoons of political figures. They were very old-school,” said Ann Feild, a Waverly resident and former Sun artist who worked alongside Mr. Hazard from 1980 to 1992. She likened his style to Thomas Nast, the 19th century caricaturist and editorial cartoonist. Another influence was Edmund Duffy, the Pulitzer-winning cartoonist who worked for The Sun from 1924 to 1948.

“Hap was very smart and a guy who knew a lot about a lot of things,” said Ms. Feild. “He was a very solid person, a good father and a man who worked hard at his job.”

“Hap was so perfect for newspaper work because he could do anything, and do it well and fast,” said Kathy Cordes, another artist who worked at The Sun from 1985 to 1997.

“Being around Hap meant a chance to laugh — and that meant the world, especially while under stress, said Ms. Cordes, an Ednor Gardens resident. “He was a great raconteur.”

Charles Rodger Hazard was born in Baltimore and raised in Sudbrook Park. He was the son of Charles O. Hazard, a graphic artist, and Stella Dernoga Hazard also an artist who had worked at The Sun during World War II. She was the newspaper’s first female staff artist. His parents were also instructors at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

When he was in sixth grade at Maryvale Preparatory School — which at the time enrolled boys — the fledgling artist executed a drawing on the school bus of a “hootchy-kootchy girl,” complete with fishnet stockings, according to a 2007 profile in the Washington Examiner. The image was inspired by tales from his grandfather, who served in the Navy during World War I.

“It was a good sketch, so much so that it got Hazard in trouble with a nun at school,” the Examiner profile said. “She confiscated the drawing and alerted his parents.”

They “pleaded on my behalf,” Mr. Hazard told the paper.

A 1965 graduate of Calvert Hall High School, Mr. Hazard attended the Maryland Institute College of Art for two years before enlisting in the Army. He learned Vietnamese and served in Vietnam for 13 months with an intelligence unit.

After being discharged in 1969, he joined The Sun’s Universal Art Department, which furnished work for The Sun, The Sunday Sun and The Evening Sun.

He provided weekly front page drawings for the Sunday Perspective section, as well as for the old Sunday Sun Magazine and feature sections.

He was also a prolific courtroom artist for the newspaper. He covered Gov. Marvin Mandel’s 1974 corruption trial; the 1977 deportation trial of former Nazi concentration camp guard Karlis Detlavs; the 1985 case of former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. William C. Westmoreland, who had filed a $120 million libel suit against CBS News; and the 1982 trial of would-be presidential assassin John W. Hinckley Jr., among others.

His pen and ink courtroom drawings often appeared daily above the fold on the front page of The Sun.

One day during a break in his case, which was later settled out of court, Gen. Westmoreland asked Mr. Hazard why he always portrayed him as looking so sad.

“Because you are, general,” Mr. Hazard told the former commander — whom he had served under in Vietnam.

His drawings of Detlavs are in the permanent collection of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington.

A 1991 article in The Evening Sun observed that Mr. Hazard’s courtroom work “meticulously records the placement of every document on every trial table, as well as every person in the room.”

Steeped in the history of the U.S., Maryland and Baltimore, Mr. Hazard brought this knowledge to his work. He had a kinetic appreciation of the city’s neighborhoods. He walked the streets, and their inhabitants came to know him and became subjects in many of his cityscape drawings.

He illustrated Mary Leister’s weekly Sunday wildlife column, which she turned into a 1982 book, “Seasons on Heron Pond: Wildlings of Air and Water,” with his illustrations. He also illustrated “Bay Country,” written by Tom Horton, then The Sun’s environmental reporter. It was published in 1987 by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Whether an elaborate drawing or a simple map, he brought depth and precision to his work. He created meticulous, three-dimensional drawings of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the USS Constellation. With his pen, he could deconstruct complex machinery onto paper — even the Hubble Telescope.

“He could turn an object in his mind and render it,” Ms. Cordes said.

“When he was thinking about a cartoon or drawing, his eyebrows rose higher and higher as he envisioned it in his head,” Ms. Feild said.

A man of strong opinions, Mr. Hazard could at times be the bane of editors. But he delivered work that pleased them. And readers.

“His meticulous draftsmanship, his strong sense of design and his fluid adaptability to his assignments, from courtroom sketches or political portraits to his magnificently decorative nature studies, have impressed me and given me much pleasure,” one reader wrote in 1982.

Mr. Hazard relished chronicling his newsroom colleagues and situations in quickly executed cartoons.

“He was the 20-second master as he did these masterpieces — and they were hilarious,” Ms. Feild recalled.

“Cartoons and caricatures were his forte and he eagerly showed these things widely, with a sly grin and then that burst of laughter,” Ms. Cordes said. “We called them quick-hit drawings.”

When someone fired a single shot from the Jones Falls expressway one night that entered the fifth floor art department, not far from where Mr. Hazard sat, he drew a sign and glued it over the hole that read: “INCOMING.”

After leaving The Sun in 1998, he worked as an artist-illustrator for Insight Magazine, published by The Washington Times. He retired in 2002.

A Civil War buff, he collected memorabilia and was an expert on the Battle of Gettysburg. He created 14 drawings of the battle, commissioned by the National Park Service, that are on display at the Museum and Visitor Center at the Gettysburg National Military Park.

He was also co-author with Mike O’Donnell and Sue Boardman of “Gettysburg Relics & Souvenirs.”

After retiring he worked at Fader’s, a tobacco shop, while freelancing as an artist. In his Ritters Lane home he worked on a drawing board on the kitchen table or spread between the arms of a chair, puffing his pipe and listening to the radio.

He collected antiques — especially bottles and Native American art from the Southwest — and enjoyed taking walks in the woods and spending time at a second home in Nottingham, Pa.

He was a talented writer — in 1983, he wrote about making maple syrup after tapping a tree in his backyard, calling it “a rewarding way to pass a winter day or two, not to mention the enjoyment of four kids who love pancakes for breakfast.”

Mr. Hazard was a communicant of St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church, 101 Church Lane, Pikesville, where a Mass of Christian burial will be held 10 a.m. Monday.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, the former Miriam Deborah Wolfe; a son, Charles A. Hazard Jr. of Reisterstown; three daughters, Ruth Elisabeth Kashnow of Pikesville, Sarah Ellen Molk of Centennial, Colo., and Brenda Ann Corral of Pacioma, Calif.; his mother, Stella D. Hazard of Pikesville; a sister, Carla Tomaszewski of Piney Point; and eight grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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