James Russell Hahn, who started what became one of the state's biggest trucking firms hauling milk from Frederick County dairy farms in 1933, died Tuesday of respiratory failure at Frederick Memorial Hospital. The Frederick resident was 91.
At his retirement in 1972 as head of the family business, it had become in 40 years one of the region's biggest petroleum transportation companies. With headquarters in New Market, it employs 225 people and has a fleet of 200 trucks, serving an area from New Jersey to Georgia.
Mr. Hahn started the bulk petroleum transportation end of the business in 1946, but the company continues to haul milk as well.
Born and raised at Mount Pleasant, the son of a farmer, he left school in the fifth grade to help operate the family farm and to work with his father, Henry W. Hahn, who also served neighboring farmers with his horse-drawn wagons.
"He started in 1933 with one Ford truck and one employee, himself," said Mr. Hahn's granddaughter, Barbara Jean Windsor, of the present Hahn Transportation Inc. She is executive vice president.
Her grandfather, an early riser, would begin working at 6 a.m. After delivering the morning's milk to the creamery in Mount Airy, he would drive to Pennsylvania for a load of coal. After unloading the coal, he would wash his truck and return to the dairy farms to pick up the evening's milk before retiring for the night.
He also transported farm products to local processing factories and in the winter hauled fresh fruit from Florida to markets in the New Market-Frederick area.
In the early days, Mr. Hahn not only drove and unloaded his truck but managed to keep all of his company records in a little notebook that he tucked into the pocket of his shirt.
During the 1940s, when the federal government initiated a transportation tax and employment regulations, he asked his then-17-year-old daughter, Rebecca, recently graduated from high school and working in Washington as a secretary, to come back home and help him with the bookkeeping for a salary of $10 a week.
"Dad used to give service with less than 24 hours notice when some of the larger companies wanted at least a day's notice," said Rebecca Hahn Windsor, now chief executive of the trucking firm, in a 1992 interview in The Sun. Mrs. Windsor and her husband, Robert, who is president of the firm, took over management of the business when Mr. Hahn retired in 1972.
"We had a smooth relationship and I never heard an unkind word come from his mouth." said the daughter, who became the first woman to be elected president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association.
"He was a very kind and warm man who would roll up his sleeves and work right alongside his employees," said the granddaughter, Barbara Jean Windsor.
Mr. Hahn was named Man of the Year in 1982 by the Maryland Motor Truck Association and served as state president and president of the Western Maryland chapter of the organization.
He was a charter member, past president and chief for 17 years of the New Market District Fire and Rescue Company. He was a past president of the Frederick County Fireman's Association. Mr. Hahn was a member and former officer of the New Market District Lion's Club, Philanthropic Lodge No. 168, A.F. & A.M., Tall Cedars of Lebanon No. 132, and B.P.O.E. No. 1067, and had served as a City of New Market commissioner.
He was married for 60 years to the former Ruby Virginia Clark, who died in 1984.
Services are planned for 10 a.m. today at Calvary United Methodist Church, Bentz and Second streets, Frederick, where he was a longtime member.
In addition to his daughter and granddaughter, Mr. Hahn's survivors include another daughter, Mary Catherine Moser of Frederick; two other granddaughters; four great-grandchildren; and two half-brothers, Harry T. Hahn of Frederick and John M. Hahn of Lewistown; and several nieces and nephews.
Memorial donations may be made to the New Market District Fire and Rescue Company, P.O. Box 113, New Market 21774.