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George E. Hauver, APG physicist

George E. Hauver, APG physicist
George E. Hauver

George Edgar Hauver, a retired Aberdeen Proving Ground scientist and amateur photographer who was a first-place winner in photo contests, died of dementia complications Sept. 17 at Bloom Assisted Living in Hilton Head, S.C. The former Bel Air resident was 87.

Born in Hagerstown, he was the son of Edgar Routzhan Hauver, a teacher, and Helen Hauver, a homemaker. The family moved to Street in Harford County, where he was a 1944 graduate of Highland High School. He earned a bachelor's degree at Washington College and received a master's degree in physics at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Mr. Hauver joined the Ballistic Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. A physicist, he worked in armor-related research and was the recipient of workplace achievement awards. He retired twice from the proving ground, once from federal service and a second time, about 15 years ago, from a defense contractor.

He was the author of scientific studies and tested polyethylene and other materials.

"He studied ways to improve armament, but his work was very technical. I didn't completely understand the research he did," said his son, Robert H. Hauver of Towson.

According to a 1954 Baltimore Sun article, Mr. Hauver bought a newspaper-style camera in the spring of 1953 that he took on a trip to Colorado and the Southwest.

"Black-and-while photography seemed a challenge," he said in The Sun's story. "I really got into it because it allowed me not only to take my own pictures but to print and develop them as well."

He entered a Sunday Sun photography contest with a composition of two pigeons in silhouette, perched on a broken window frame in an old barn near his home in Street. The photo was chosen as a weekly $5 winner. It then went into a pool of other winners and won a $25 monthly prize. It was entered into the 16th annual Newspaper National Snapshot Award contest in Washington, D.C. There it took top national honors in the animal category and carried a $1,000 first-place prize.

Mr. Hauver said he spent four hours trying to get the photo he wanted.

"His first two trips to the barn were failures. ... He concealed the camera, sat down in a corner and read a book, keeping one eye on the text and the other on the birds," said the 1954 Sun story. "Four hours later, he got his picture."

"My father had a great eye for photography," said his son. "He built his own darkroom for the equipment he had. He liked to work in black and white, and he developed his own pictures."

His son said that his father would go out on his photographic sessions in the early morning to catch low levels of light.

"He liked the sunrise along Thomas Run Road in Harford County," his son said.

He belonged to local photography clubs and won a 1962 photo contest sponsored by the old Baltimore News-Post.

In 1974, he won first place again, this time in The Sun's A. Aubrey Bodine Memorial Photographic Contest. He shot a Holstein cow behind a wire fence. Foxtail grass was in the foreground. The photo was so clear it was possible to observe the Holstein's identifying number and the transparent wings of a circling fly.

"[His] photography is a deeply personal kind of photography," said a 1974 Sun article. "Through it, the camera becomes much more than an extension of his arm: it became an extension of his memory."

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Mr. Hauver went on to say that Harford County was changing and growing less rural. He wanted to record scenes before they changed and were "the way I remember them."

Mr. Hauver also played tennis. He was a member of the South Beach Racquet Club and was a member of the 2002 United States Tennis Association's super seniors team that won a regional championship.

He also spent many summers at Valley Farm in Black Mountain, N.C. There, he photographed family members and scenes of the farm. He also spent part of the year in Hilton Head, S.C.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 55 years, the former Elsie Henderson, a retired Harford County kindergarten teacher who taught at Dublin Elementary School; another son, William Hauver of Bel Air; and three grandchildren.

No service is planned.

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