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Dick Haverland remembered as difference maker

STORY BY LISA ZAHNER (Week of December 21, 2023)

Richard M. “Dick” Haverland, known for his sharp mind and even sharper pencil during his nearly eight years on the Indian River Shores Town Council, passed away Dec. 9 at the age of 82 at his summer home in Little Compton, R.I.

A graduate of both Princeton and Stanford universities, the John’s Island resident was a product of the Roman Catholic school system – training he credited with preparing him both for life and for success after high school.

Haverland and his wife of 58 years, Rosemary, showed their gratitude by investing generously in endowed scholarships at Dick’s alma mater, Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York, giving more than $10 million over the years to help thousands of worthy students get the kind of education he benefited from.

Locally, Haverland supported the John’s Island Community Service League, Childcare Resources and the Learning Alliance of Vero Beach, Riverside Theatre, Vero Beach Museum of Art, the United Way of Indian River County, Indian River Land Trust and the Cleveland Clinic Indian River Foundation.

A near-scratch golfer, the highly competitive Haverland was a three-time national champion in platform tennis, took home medals in senior-league pickleball tournaments at the age of 81, and was a huge promoter of the expansion of pickleball in this area.

At the Indian River Shores Town Council’s December meeting, Vice Mayor Sam Carroll read into the record a tribute he wrote about Haverland.

“I knew Dick for 25 years and counted him as one of my best friends,” Carroll said, explaining that he’d once interviewed Haverland for a profile story in the United States Senior Golf Association’s newsletter.

“I began the interview that led to that article by asking, ‘Can one person make a difference?’ He answered, ‘One person can make a difference. And with a majority of like-minded people, tremendous change can be achieved,” Carroll said, going on to detail Haverland’s contributions in almost eight years on the town council, plus four years on the town’s Finance Committee, where Haverland served until 2022.

“Among his achievements on the town council was protecting the pensions for our employees and making sure the pension plans were fully funded,” said Councilman Bob Auwaerter said.

Always prepared for town meetings, Haverland utilized business skills honed for decades as a financial analyst and finance executive for several large insurance companies, including Highlands Insurance and Progressive Insurance where he rose through the ranks over 14 years to become president.

Indian River County School Board Member and former Shores mayor Brian Barefoot, who served with Haverland for five years on the Shores Town Council, met him 50 years ago in Cleveland, at a platform tennis tournament where Haverland and his partner were top-seeded players.

“In many ways he was the ultimate curmudgeon, but also extremely generous. He probably saved his last nickel, and that’s the way he approached his job on council. He would challenge any line item that he thought we were paying too much for. He was always consistent with being parsimonious,” Barefoot said.

“Dick was laser focused on things that he really cared about. Always looking to make a difference and to my knowledge did make a difference, and always very competitive.” Barefoot said.

In addition to his wife Rosemary, Dick Haverland is survived by three daughters – Julia Bush, Lucy Haverland and Laura Haverland, plus eight grandchildren, his brothers Jim and Bill Haverland and sister Patricia Haverland, while his sister Christine Martinez-Fonts predeceased him.

A funeral Mass was held in Rhode Island last week, and a local memorial service is expected in early 2024, details to be announced.