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Joseph C. Hauf III, engineer who created models of historical Chesapeake Bay sailing craft, dies

Joseph Hauf worked as an insurance company consultant investigating fire claims.
Joseph Hauf worked as an insurance company consultant investigating fire claims.

Joseph Charles Hauf III, an engineer who displayed models of Chesapeake Bay sailing craft at a Harborplace shop, died Dec. 28 of COVID-19 at Franklin Square Medical Center. The former Roland Park and Timonium resident was 91.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Belle Avenue and Tuscany Court, he was the son of Joseph C. Hauf Jr., a machinist and inventor, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Robinson, a homemaker. Mr. Hauf attended St. Mary of the Assumption School and Roland Park Junior High School and was a 1946 graduate of Loyola High School at Blakefield.

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He earned a bachelor’s degree at what is now Loyola University Maryland and was a member of the school’s swim team.

He served in the Signal Corps of the Army Reserves at Fort Holabird before beginning a lengthy career at Western Electric’s Baltimore Works on Broening Highway, where he worked as an engineering supervisor.

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After retiring from Lucent Technologies, Western Electric’s successor company, he cofounded VIDA Technologies, a computer and telephone cabling company. He won military and commercial high-speed wiring projects and headed the communications and computer rewiring of Dover Air Force Base.

About 15 years ago Mr. Hauf became a court-certified freelance insurance company consultant. He investigated fire claims involving electrical and communications wiring.

“He undertook numerous investigation projects and revealed how people tried to torch their own businesses. He would discover where people had scraped insulation off electrical wiring,” said his son, Stephen Hauf of Santa Rosa, California.

After living for many years on Tuscany Court and Club Road in Roland Park and on Presway Road in Baltimore County, Mr. Hauf moved to the Oak Crest Senior Living Community in Parkville.

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Mr. Hauf, who was known as also known as Buddy, owned a houseboat and often spent extended periods at St. Michaels and Solomons Island.

He assisted his son, who had a shop, Harborcraft, on the second floor at the Light Street Pavilion at Harborplace.

Mr. Hauf, who was skilled as a scale modeler, constructed replicas of celebrated Chesapeake Bay steamboats, including the Louise and the Emma Giles, which he made in the basement of his home on Club Road. He also made and sold wall sconces of Chesapeake Bay lighthouses, including those at Thomas Point and the Craighill Channel.

He sold his wares at the Sugarloaf Craft Festival and other venues. He docked his houseboat at Fells Point and sold his items at the Fells Point Fun Festival.

His son said, “He loved HO-scale models and filled up the basement with elaborate displays and ran his little locomotives.”

Mr. Hauf was a dedicated reader of history and enjoyed following current events. He spent time with his children, grandchildren, and friends.

“He met everyone in life with a ready smile and caring heart,” his son said. “I never heard him turn down a request from the Boy Scouts or anyone. What defined my father was his selflessness. He also enjoyed the challenges and joys of helping to raise a family of six.”

Mr. Hauf was a longtime volunteer with Scout Troop 1000 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, where he donated his wiring skills to its school’s learning lab. He installed an electronic devices for the hearing-impaired at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Timonium.

“He was never one to say no to any charitable or family request,” said his son. “There was never any project he could not undertake, and he demonstrated a high level of insight and natural electrical and mechanical aptitude.”

His son also said, “He was truly a jack of all trades and there seemed to be nothing he could not repair.”

In addition to his son, survivors include four other sons, Michael Hauf of Waverly Hall, Georgia, Paul Hauf of Voorhees New Jersey, Thomas Hauf of Syracuse, New York, and Richard Hauf of Palm Harbor, Florida; a daughter, Mary Deborah Hauf of Berlin, Eastern Shore; two sisters, Lucylle M. Bisese and Mitzi H. Sotir, both of Baltimore; 11 grandchildren; and three-great grandchildren. His first wife, Betty Ann Baltzell, died in 2000. His second wife, Margaret Stripling, died in 2013.

The family expects to have a graveside memorial service in the spring.

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