It was time for this tough old Marine to move on.
Walter R. Haessner died Wednesday;morning, December 27th, of lymphoma-related causes.
Tucson, Ariz., December 29, 2006: Walter R. Haessner died Wednesday;
morning, December 27th, of lymphoma-related causes. Always the;
optimist, he fought this disease since 1998, never giving up hope;
there would be a cure. However, beginning January 14, 2006, one;
infection after another kept him bedridden at home or in the hospital;
for the better part of the year, until finally his immune system;
could cope no longer. It was time for this tough old Marine to move;
on to the final adventure.
Highly respected throughout the automotive world, Walt will be missed;
for his cheerful laugh that could fill a room, his gleeful enthusiasm;
about whatever his current activity might be, his willingness to;
share his knowledge, and his dedication to accuracy in media.
His communications company, AZTEX Corporation, publishes non-fiction;
books, primarily in the fields of transportation, auto racing and;
Additionally, he founded Exergonic Technology Corp. in 1986, which;
distributes hi-tech lubricants and greases. This began with auto-
related products, and has grown into a full line of industrial products.
Long recognized as an automotive expert, Haessner served as;
consultant and/or executed projects for the Franklin Mint, Ford Motor;
Company, Shell Oil Company, Mobil Oil Corp (ExxonMobil), Fram Filter;
Co., Jaguar Cars N.A., Lubrizol Corp., Unocal, and The Goodyear Tire;
& Rubber Co.
Walt was born May 17, 1935, in Passaic, N.J. At an early age he moved;
with his mother and step-father to Miami, Fla. Summers were spent;
with his father in New Jersey.
In 1954 he went on two years active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps,;
during which time he completed high school, went to camera repair;
school, got married, became a father, and achieved the rank of corporal.
After service, he was purchasing agent for Century Engineering Co. in;
New Jersey, for which he had worked summers during high school. He;
then went to Reaction Motors (Thiokol) as a high speed engineering;
photographer working on the X-15 missile project, followed by a;
period at Cape Canaveral, Florida, with RCA Missile Test Project as;
one of 300 photographers hired out of 30,000 interviewed.
While at the Cape, he went to the 1960 12 Hours of Sebring as a track;
photographer. He left the Cape in late 1962, returned to;
Newfoundland, New Jersey, and began his own marketing/public;
relations/photography/publishing business. Walt was East Coast;
photographer for Sports Car Graphic for 1963 and 1964. His first;
publishing contract was for the 1964 12 Hours of Sebring race;
program. One of his more memorable marketing gigs was arranging to;
have Great Western Champagne of New York in the Winner’s Circle of;
the (circa) 1971 Can-Am races.
Well-known in automotive corporate and automotive media circles in;
the 1960s and 1970s for his involvement with the 12 Hours of Sebring;
as commercial public relations director, which incorporated all sales;
of advertising as well as solicitation of sponsorship monies, Walt;
also joined the late Bill Finefrock in producing advertising/
editorial inserts and/or full race programs for the Can-Am, Trans-Am;
and Formula 5000 sports car series.
Haessner garnered numerous awards, both for his writing and as;
publisher. These include the Imperial Palace Moto Award 1988 for an;
editorial in Restoration News Bulletin; two Society of Automotive;
Historians Cugnot Awards for the books “MACK” by John B. Montville;
(1974), and “My Two Lives: Race Driver to Restaurateur” by Rene;
Dreyfus with Beverly Rae Kimes; as well as two Antique Automobile;
Club of America Thomas KcKean awards for “MACK” by John B. Montville;
(1974), and “Tire Wars: Racing with Goodyear” by William Neely;
(1994). Five titles have been book club selections.
In 1983, Haessner founded the International Society for VEHICLE;
Preservation (ISVP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization.;
The Society’s purpose is to spread an appreciation and understanding;
of the benefits of freedom of movement to society worldwide, to;
assist in accurate preservation and restoration of vehicles and;
related artifacts, and accurate recording of the history thereof.
The idea for this organization arose from a meeting with the late;
Henry Austin Clark, Jr., at his home in Glen Cove, N.Y., at which;
time “Austie” told Walt the only way it would happen is if Walt just;
“went and did it himself.” And so he did, with the support of an;
eclectic group of individuals from auto racing, collecting, media,;
museums, archiving, restoration–from Italy, France, England, and the;
US, who served on the Board of Advisors.
One of the Society’s main functions today is the annual International;
Automotive Media Competition, to recognize and encourage excellence;
in all forms of automotive media. For the fourth year, the Truck;
Writers of North America has asked ISVP to administer its awards;
program under the same standards.
Walter R. Haessner was a member of the Society of Automotive;
Engineers and several automotive journalism organizations. He held a;
BS in marketing.
Haessner’s interest in things automotive goes back to his childhood.;
He got his driver’s license at 14, bought his first vehicle: a 1923;
American LaFrance Brockway Torpedo chemical fire truck, and did a;
ground-up restoration on it while still in high school. He had an;
extensive automotive library as well as photo archives.
Though much of his life centered around automobiles, Walt became;
fascinated with computers while at the Cape in the early 1960s and;
his interest therein grew exponentially over the years. He consumed;
computer manuals, was an avid science fiction devotee, and was;
“owned” by an old grey cat.
He leaves behind his wife and soul-mate of 52 years, Elaine C.;
(Jordan) Haessner; three beloved children: Ursula Haessner Cochran of;
Florida, Walter W. Haessner of Arizona, and Dora E. H. Crow and;
husband Jim of California; and four adored grandchildren: Lane;
Ferguson and Sara Cochran of Florida; and Eric and Stephanie Crow of;
In lieu of flowers, it is suggested that anyone wishing to make a;
remembrance in his name send a donation to either the American Cancer;
Society, or to the Haessner family church (his great-uncle was the;
first pastor there): St John Lutheran Church, 140 Lexington Avenue,;
Passaic, NJ 07055.
A service, followed by a Celebration of Life, will be held at St;
John’s at a date to be determined. Those wishing to attend, or to be;
kept up to date regarding this, are asked to contact Elaine Haessner;
at firstname.lastname@example.org so your e-mail address may be added to the;