Arthur Donald Asher, who owned a paint store in Havre de Grace and was a former City Council member, died Friday at Lorien Nursing Home in Columbia. Mr. Asher, who suffered complications after bypass surgery and a stroke this year, was 80.
A lifelong resident of Havre de Grace, Mr. Asher, a prominent businessman, was involved in many Harford County civic activities. His most significant achievement might be the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum, which he helped found in the 1980s.
Mr. Asher served on the Havre de Grace City Council from 1965 to 1973, and was a life member of Susquehanna Hose Fire Company and a member of Elks Lodge 1564.
The museum was Mr. Asher's "brainchild," said Dr. John Carriere, a retired physician and president of the museum's board of directors. It pays tribute to waterfowl carvings and area artisans such as R. Madison Mitchell, known as the grandfather of decoy carvers.
An anchor in a town known as the "Decoy Capital of the World," the museum is considered to have one of the finest collections of working decoys from the Chesapeake Bay.
Other exhibits help foster awareness and support for the conservation and preservation of waterfowl and their habitats.
The museum opened in 1986 and draws about 20,000 visitors a year. Mr. Asher, an avid hunter who enjoyed boating and fishing on the Susquehanna River, proposed a decoy museum in 1982 as a way to preserve a part of the town's heritage and draw visitors.
A decoy collector, Mr. Asher remained active with the museum after leaving the board of directors recently because of failing health.
A 1939 graduate of Havre de Grace High School, Mr. Asher attended Baltimore Business College before opening his business, Greenleaf Supply, in 1949.
Mr. Asher operated the paint supply store with his wife, the former Betty Louise Gordon, and customers could usually count on hearing a good yarn when they stopped in. Mrs. Asher died in 1993. The couple had been married 54 years.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Havre de Grace United Methodist Church, 101 S. Union Ave.
Mr. Asher is survived by a daughter, Donna Mae Asher; a son, Arthur P. G. Asher II; a sister, Kathryn Jefferson Asher; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. All are of Havre de Grace.