A former Carroll County state’s attorney and member of Maryland’s House of Delegates is being remembered for his service, his appreciation of President Lincoln and his love of music and cars.
Vernon “Lanny” Harchenhorn, of New Windsor, passed away at Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore on Jan. 9. He was 76. A memorial service will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at Myers-Durboraw Funeral Home, 91 Willis St., Westminster.
Harchenorn was born in Baltimore on Feb. 15, 1943. He graduated from Francis Scott Key High School in 1961 and went on to attend Western Maryland College and then the University of Maryland School of Law. He worked for some 50 years as a lawyer in Carroll County.
Those who knew Harchenhorn said he was dedicated to helping others, following that ideal in his positions as state’s attorney, delegate and as a lawyer in private practice. Harchenhorn was also a member of the former Charles Carroll Lions Club, an organization that serves the community in a variety of helpful ways from clothes for the homeless to food for the hungry.
“Lanny loved people and that was a way to serve. He was very service-oriented; he was a member of the New Windsor Fire Company, as was his father, as is his sister, they’re very service-oriented,” said Lee Strine, Harchenhorn’s cousin.
Harchehorn served as the Carroll County’s state’s attorney from 1970 to 1974 and was elected to the House of Delegates as a Republican in 1974. He served as a delegate until 1986. He was a member of the judiciary committee and spent four years as chair of the Carroll County delegation.
“Apart from just being a very kind and good person one of the things that I think is important is that he really kept connected with our office,” said Carroll County State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo. “He was just very kind, very supportive, anything he could do to help and I think it’s a testament that even after, at that point it’d probably been 30-40 years since he had been in that position, you could still see that he took pride in it and it was still something he enjoyed being a part of.”
According to those close to him, Harchenhorn was as much of a good person outside of the office as in it.
“He was an honest person. He used to talk about one time that he borrowed a pen from one of the clerks in court and he had forgotten and the case was over and he walked out of the courtroom. He remembered he had her pen while he waited till the next court case was over and took the pen back to her ... a 79 cents pen," said Harchenhorn’s sister, Linda Bostian. “I said, ‘Well, why in the world did you do that? Who would have cared over a 79-cent pen?’ He recalled the story of Abe Lincoln. A woman came into a store that Abe Lincoln was working in and she left her three cents change laying on the counter. Abe walked back to her house when the store closed that night to give her that three cents.
"He said, ‘If it was the thing that Abe Lincoln would have done, I felt like I should do that, too.’”
According to Bostian, Harchenhorn looked up to Lincoln and lived his life in comparison to him.
Harchenhorn was also a lover of the Rolling Stones and of cars.
“First thing that comes to my mind when I think of Lanny is cars,” said Strine. “I think he must have been born with oil in his veins or something, especially foreign cars. His father was a mechanic, into cars, he was into Fords. Lanny was into foreign cars, probably his favorite car was an old MG TD.”
“The Rolling Stones was everything to him,” said Bostian. “He took me to a Rolling Stone concert one time and we just had the best time just watching Mick Jagger dance around. He took me to an Elvis Presley concert, he took me to a Beatles concert; it was just anything he knew you’d like to go to that one, he’d produce tickets and we would go."
One thing Bostian learned from her brother’s life was to follow dreams like he did.
“He had the dream when he graduated form high school that he was going to be a lawyer," Bostian said. “Our parents didn’t have the money to send him to law school. He did get a small scholarship to help him into Frederick Community College first, then he went to Western Maryland College and then he went to University of Maryland School of Law.
“He always told me, 'If you have a dream in your head, follow it. Follow that dream and strive for it.’ And that’s what he did. He lived his life exactly the way he wanted to live it, clear up until the day he died. He said he wanted to work all his life. He said, ‘I don’t want to retire and sit around doing nothing, I want to work until I die.’ And he did.”
Harchenhorn is survived by two sons, Vernon John Harchenhorn of Parkton and Hans William Harchenhorn of New Windsor; a brother, Terry Harchenhorn of Keymar; a sister, Linda Bostian of Union Bridge; three nieces; and his secretary and close friend, Kristina Krause of Carroll County.