John "Jack" M.E. Hasslinger Jr., an accountant who managed a well-known family seafood business, died of heart disease Tuesday at his Mount Airy home. He was 63.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Jody Way in Timonium, he was the son of John M.E. Hasslinger Sr., a piano tuner and instructor, and the former Ellen Regina Cosgrove, a homemaker.
He was a 1969 graduate of Loyola High School at Blakefield and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration at Loyola University Maryland. He received a diploma from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and passed its examination in 1980.
While in his 20s, Mr. Hasslinger worked for an uncle, Louis C. Hasslinger, at his family's seafood carryout on Hillen Road in Northeast Baltimore. There he met his future wife, Janet Simpson, who shopped at the business and lived nearby.
Mr. Hasslinger went on to manage a second Louis C. Hasslinger Seafood Carryout and Delicatessen operation at Cranbrook Shopping Center in Cockeysville. Family members said he had a detailed knowledge of seafood, its preparation and where to purchase it from wholesale suppliers. The family once had seafood restaurants and carryouts on North Avenue, York Road in Govans and at locations on Charles, Washington and Gay streets.
Working with his uncle and cousins, Mr. Hasslinger sold crab cakes, clam chowder, scallops, Maryland crab soup, fried oysters, oyster stew, and a seafood submarine sandwich of shrimp, haddock, crab cake, tomato and tartar sauce. The family also sold pints and quarts of sour beef and dumplings, potato salad and slaw.
The carryout handled 3,000 customers on Fridays and had a kitchen staff of 25.
"He worked the counter and liked being out with the public," said his cousin, Craig Hasslinger, a seafood caterer who lives in Phoenix in Baltimore County. "He had a kind disposition and loved to meet people."
After earning his CPA, Mr. Hasslinger left the family business and worked for accounting firms, including Gross Mendelssohn, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Lybrand, C.W. Amos, DCA LLC and Protiviti.
In 2010, he opened his own business in Mount Airy and worked in income and estate taxation, personal finance, retirement planning, and business and technology consulting.
"My father kept his clients for decades," said his daughter, Erin L. Hasslinger of Baltimore. "It wasn't so much a business as fellowship."
Mr. Hasslinger, whose father taught him to play the piano, often relaxed in the evening by playing Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin. He was an avid photographer and enjoyed reading history. Family members said he would lead them on history tours and would teach what he had learned from his readings. He often took his children to Fort McHenry.
Mr. Hasslinger also enjoyed tending his lawn. He raised two Standard poodles, Shadow and Wolfie, short for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
He hosted weekend events he called "Seafood Sundays." Tapping a knowledge acquired in the family business, he made crab cakes, fried oysters, fish sticks and crab imperial. He also replicated the Hasslinger seafood submarine sandwich.
A funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 101 Church Lane in Cockeysville.
In addition to his daughter and wife of 38 years, survivors include a son, John W.L. Hasslinger of Mount Airy; another daughter, Brittaney L. Hasslinger, also of Mount Airy; his father, John M.E. Hasslinger of Parkville; two brothers, Greg F. Hasslinger of Towson and Brian J. Hasslinger of Frostburg; and a sister, Mary Ellen McLaughlin, also of Towson.