Folsom Funeral Service

Haffke, Henry A.

Haffke, Henry
Henry A. “Mr. Gee Bee” Haffke, 90, died peacefully on October 12, 2017 at the Wesley Community in Saratoga Springs, NY. Henry was born in Springfield, MA, the son of Henry and Gladys (Jennison) Haffke. Henry graduated from Orange, MA high school and enlisted in the Navy during WW II where he was an instructor in naval aircraft ordnance equipment, and was  a qualified aircraft crewman and aerial gunner. After the Navy, most of his career was spent as a professional roller skater, coaching many skaters (including his children and sister Sylvia) to the state, regional, national, and world championship level. Then, he combined his love of model aviation as a designer with the Coverite corporation in Pennsylvania before moving with his wife, Lee, to purchase and manage a motel in Londonderry, Vermont. Lee and Henry then retired and moved to the Saratoga Springs, NY area. Survivors include his children Karen Hart, Gary and Raymond Haffke, and his sister Sylvia Haffke. Henry was predeceased by his wife Lorraine “Lee” (Edgerly), of 57 years, a son Richard K. Haffke, and brothers Harry-Dana, Raymond (Rocky), and Gerald (Jake). In addition to roller skating, Henry was an avid water skier, snow skier, and participated in several other sports. But his real passion was aircraft. In his early years, his father would take him down to the Springfield airport to watch the planes taking off and landing as “cheap entertainment”. In his teens, he started building model airplanes and obtained his pilot’s license at 16. Although he built and flew many types of planes, his real love was designing, building, and flying competitive scale models, including the ‘Golden Era’ Gee Bees that he had watched flying at the Springfield airport. Henry’s model airplane designs were regularly published in national and international model aviation publications. He performed extensive research on the Gee Bee planes and in 1989 wrote and published a book “Gee Bee, the Real Story of the Granville Brothers and their Marvelous Airplanes”. More recently, he was honored for his life’s work by the National Aeronautic Association and inducted into the Academy of Model Aeronautics’ Hall of Fame. Most importantly, all of the above took a backseat to his devotion and dedication to his family including trips to roller skating competitions, Christmas skiing vacations, and providing all of the love and support he could, to his family. Relatives and friends are invited to gather at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 18 at the May Funeral Home, 85 Nichols St., Norwood, MA, followed by a celebration of his life with remembrance sharing at 12:30 p.m. Interment will follow in the Knollwood Memorial Park in Canton, MA, with full military honors.



Guestbook Entries

  1. Neil Hannon
    October 14th, 2017 | 7:38 pm

    My condolences to your family

  2. Sarah Noecker
    October 14th, 2017 | 9:51 pm

    Hi Gary, Karen and Ray:
    I am very sorry to hear about your Father. You and your families are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Take care,
    Sarah Noecker

  3. Dee Leydic
    October 16th, 2017 | 7:59 am

    My prayers to all of the family.

  4. Linda Johnson
    October 16th, 2017 | 10:51 am

    My uncle Henry was one of the sweetest men I have ever known. Such a kind and gentle man. I am so glad I have such vivid memories of my trip to Vineland New Jersey as a child….I can still see him skating across the rink in his wheeley skates-I thought he was the coolest!!!!!Years later at the family reunion I remember his pride at the lovely ski hotel he owned and operated with my aunt Lee( his one and only)….He was in his element in the kitchen serving us all pancakes!!!!!We all had a great time and had a tough time leaving. I am so thankful for the memories I have. There at not many men I would put in the same category as my own dad, but my Uncle Henry wins that honor -he holds a very special place in my heart.

  5. Bob Anderson
    October 17th, 2017 | 11:32 am

    Sylvia & family,

    So sorry. Good memories of roller skating competition!

    Bob Anderson

  6. Bob and Flo Fitzgerad
    October 17th, 2017 | 1:20 pm

    Henry was a true American Hero, both to the country that he loved and proudly served, and to the sport of Roller Skating, he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Haffke family for your loss. Bob and Flo Fitzgerald.

    October 17th, 2017 | 2:10 pm

    Sorry for your loss I am a friend of Slyvia was a skater at the rollaway

  8. Marie Jones Slack
    October 17th, 2017 | 2:37 pm

    I am so sorry to hear of Henry’s passing. Most of my young life was spent with Henry skating and loving each moment. I had the pleasure as a teen to babysit Gary, Karen and Raymond on many many occasions. He, Lee and family all remain in my heart with love and the most precious of memories and that is where you will remain. <3

  9. Rita (Drogo) Bagliani
    October 17th, 2017 | 6:02 pm

    Thoughts and prayers to all of you. Many fond memories of my first skating teacher. Henry was fantastic for putting together all the skating shows in Vineland, N.J. Those days will never be forgotten. Love to all of you!

  10. Nancy Doyle
    October 17th, 2017 | 6:34 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with you Sylvia and your family. So sorry for your loss.

  11. Rose Ann Myers
    October 17th, 2017 | 9:05 pm

    To Sylvia and your family,prayers and XOXOXOXO s to all

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Folsom Funeral Service

Folsom Funeral Service