Frederick W. “Skip” Hearn, former vice president of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services whose career spanned nearly seven decades and who had a well-honed reputation for diligence and honesty, died Oct. 5 at his Cockeysville home of complications from a stroke. He was 87.
“Skip was knowledgeable, diligent and totally trustworthy,” said Gary Gill, president and CEO of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, who became acquainted with Mr. Hearn more than 30 years ago.
Born in Baltimore, Frederick William Hearn was born into the real estate business. He was the son of B. Franklin “Frank” Hearn Jr., who had been sales manager and vice president of the Roland Park Co. and later was president of the Roland Park Realty Co., and Anna Louise Wohnlich Hearn, a homemaker. Mr. Hearn was raised in Homeland — first at 222 St. Dunstans Road and later in a home on St. Albans Way.
His paternal grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Hearn, who died in 1921, was a partner in the real estate firm of Caughy, Hearn & Carter, and was considered, according to his obituary in The Sun, an “eminent authority on all matters pertaining to valuations of real estate.”
Mr. Hearn attended the old Mount Washington Country School for Boys. After completing elementary school, he entered Friends School, where he was an outstanding football, basketball and lacrosse player. He was later named to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and was senior class president and the recipient of the McCormick Unsung Hero Award for football.
After graduation in 1953, he began his college studies at Duke University, where he played varsity lacrosse as a defenseman his entire college career. In 1957, he was invited to start in the North-South Game, the premier all-star game for seniors.
He and his teammates played against a North squad that included Syracuse University football and lacrosse All-American Jim Brown, as well as lacrosse All-American and 1991 National Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee Roy D. Simmons Jr., who coached Syracuse from 1971 to 1998.
After graduating from Duke in 1957, Mr. Hearn served in the Army for a year, and by the early 1960s, had launched his real estate career with W.H.C. Wilson in Roland Park. He then joined commercial broker and developer Kornblatt & Fenniman as a commercial office broker.
Mr. Hearn entered into a partnership with Joseph Knott and his brother B. Franklin “Beau” Hearn III and established the firm of Hearn and Knott, which was Baltimore County’s first real estate brokerage company. In the late 1970s, the company merged into what became O’Conor , Piper & Flynn, where Mr. Hearn led the firm’s commercial/industrial division.
After the merger in the 1990s between O’Conor, Piper & Flynn and the MacKenzie Companies, Mr. Hearn spent the last three decades of his career as senior vice president of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services in Lutherville.
Mr. Hearn’s desire to keep working in the business inspired and impressed younger staffers, Mr. Gill said.
“He was well-thought-of in the real estate community and I think a lot of the young people around here were struck by the fact that he still wanted to work,” said Mr. Gill, who described his colleague as being “warm, nice and sincere.”
“But Skip never had to be the center of attention when he walked into a room. I’d tell the young people that real estate people are like ice cream who all come in different flavors,” Mr. Gill said. “He was low-key but knew how to crush it. Skip was in so many ways an acquired taste. He was pleasant and loved working and talking with clients who knew they would not be hustled or steered wrong.”
The Morning Sun
It has been estimated that during his career, which ended when he retired in June, Mr. Hearn had successfully presided over more than 10,000 sales and leasing transactions.
Mr. Hearn was a past president of the Towson Jaycees and served on the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, of which his father had been president. He also was an active member of the Society of Industrial & Office Realtors, of which his father had been a founder.
The organization was founded during World War II when the then-U.S. War Department requested assistance from the commercial real estate industry in locating manufacturing plants needed for the war effort.
When living in Monkton for a decade, Mr. Hearn liked walking the Northern Central Railroad Trail, whose official name is the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail, which was near his home. He was an avid golfer and a former member of the Baltimore Country Club.
He enjoyed reading, especially novels by John Grisham as well as nonfiction and sports-related material.
Mr. Hearn was a communicant of the Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier Church in Hunt Valley where a memorial Mass was offered Wednesday.
He is survived by two sons, Frederick W. “Bill” Hearn Jr. of Timonium and Timothy R. Hearn of Cockeysville; three daughters, Katherine Ann “Katie” Hearn of Locust Point, Campbell Marie Hearn of Canton and Anna Louise Hearn of Brooklyn, New York; two grandchildren; and a great-grandson. Marriages to the former Patricia Kerns and Catherine “Katie” Brendel ended in divorce.