Obituary: Alfred C. Haven Jr. ’41

Alfred left this world peacefully on the morning of October 7, 2020 at Decatur House in Sandwich MA. He had just celebrated his 97th birthday two weeks earlier.

Born Sept. 23, 1923 in New Rochelle, NY, Al was the first child of Alfred C. and Mabel (Waller) Haven, who had been married exactly one year earlier, to the day.

Al grew up in Albany, NY with his younger siblings Robert and Caroline. He attended Albany Academy and graduated from Deerfield Academy in Deerfield MA, June 1941.

He entered Amherst College in Sept. 1941, enlisting in the USNR V-12 program which involved a year at Williams College and Midshipmen’s School, and was commissioned as an Ensign, USNR in June 1944.

Al was assigned to the USS LST 1030, then completing construction at the Boston Navy Yard. After stops in Norfolk, Virginia Amphibious Training Base, the Panama Canal, San Diego, and Pearl Harbor, the LST 1030 was deployed to the South Pacific, participating in the Luzon (Philippines) and Okinawa Invasions, and making numerous trips back and forth from the supply bases in the South Pacific to provide troops and equipment needed. When the Pacific War ended, the ship made several trips between Japan, Korea and China, repatriating Korean slave labor and Japanese occupation troops from the mainland. During his time aboard, he served as Watch Officer, Navigator and Engineering Officer. He returned to the U.S. in June 1946 as Lt.(jg) USNR to be released from active duty and to reenter Amherst College, from which he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in September.

After spending the academic year 1946-1947 as an Instructor at Amherst, and to take courses necessary for admission to graduate school, he entered MIT on the GI Bill, obtaining his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in June 1950 under Prof. Arthur C. Cope, one of the most renowned chemists of the day.

He remained active in the Naval Reserve while in Graduate School as a member of a submarine unit which met in Boston and for two weeks of active duty in New London, CT.

In his final year of graduate school, Al met and quickly became engaged to Jane E. Hathaway, a fellow MIT Ph.D. student. They were married in Feb. 1950, and subsequently had three children: Kenneth (1952), Elizabeth (1954) and Julia (1962).

Al became employed as a research chemist at Merck & Co. in Rahway NJ from July 1950 to February 1953, then at E. I. DuPont de Nemours in the Wilmington, DE area in various Research and Development management positions, including three years’ assignment in Tokyo as Technical Manager for DuPont in Japan. He retired from the International Division in 1983 as the manager responsible for pollution control and employee occupational health matters at some 35 DuPont chemical plants located outside the United States, a position which involved much international travel.

Following retirement, Al entered an MBA program at the Univ. of Delaware and worked for a year for H&R Block, continuing for some years as a self-employed tax preparer.

In 1984, he and Jane moved permanently to their summer residence in Wellfleet on Cape Cod, where he became quickly involved in Town government, serving on a number of volunteer Town committees. He was elected a Wellfleet Selectman in 1989, serving as Chairman 1990 – 1992. At various times he was Treasurer of the First Congregational Church, the Wellfleet Historical Society and the Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Al and Jane moved in 1998 to Chatham, MA, where he served two terms each on the Town Finance Committee and the Water and Sewer Advisory Committee, while a member and former Vestryman of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Chatham.

Throughout his life, Al maintained a strong interest in science. He was a Fellow of the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science, holder of a number of chemical patents, and an amateur astronomer who built his own telescopes. In his later years, he led seminars at the Chatham library on areas of current scientific interest.

During retirement, he and Jane “traveled while they could” including an African safari, twice to Australia and New Zealand, and for many years, a couple of weeks in London squeezed in between sailing vacations in Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds.

Al’s quiet reserve belied a wonderful, wry sense of humor and a deep devotion to his wife and children. He was keenly intelligent, kind, and considerate almost to a fault. Al was pre-deceased by his wife Jane in 2017. He leaves his son Ken Haven and his partner Libby Mihalka of Livermore, California; his daughter Liz Haven and her husband Rick Humphreys of Windsor, California; his daughter Julie Haven Malloy and her husband Greg Malloy of Sandwich; as well as grandchildren Caroline Humphreys, Elena Humphreys, Emma Haven, Kylie Malloy and Rory Malloy. He also leaves his former international exchange student Filomena Martins and family, of Lisbon, Portugal.

A memorial service will be held at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Chatham when it is safe for all to travel and gather.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in Al’s memory may be made to St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church or to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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