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Harry H. Sefried II

SEFRIED, Harry H., II Harry H. Sefried, II passed away Sunday, (June 19, 2005) in CT Hospice, Branford, after a 25-year valiant fight with renal cell cancer. Harry H. Sefried II of Madison and St. Petersburg, FL. Harry H. Sefried, II was one of those very rare individuals of whom it can be said: He really lived. Always cheerful and inquisitive, he truly brightened the lives of all who knew him. Born in East St. Louis, IL on August 10, 1921, he was the only child of Harry H. and Thelma Erhardt Sefried. At an early age he developed a fascination with all things mechanical that was to influence his entire life. After serving in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, Harry embarked upon a career as a firearms designer. From 1944 until his death, his work was to profoundly influence that industry and many of his inventions are rightfully regarded today as masterpieces of engineering design. Among his creations were a selective-fire Garand Rifle developed for Winchester at the end of World War II, the superbly accurate Supermatic Citation manufactured by the High Standard and a host of designs produced by Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc., where he was chief engineer from 1959 until his retirement in 1979. Among the latter, Harry was particularly proud of his rotary magazine and the Ruger Redhawk double action revolver. All of Harry's designs are distinguished by their mechanical economy, reliability and most of all, safety. His improvements were real, not mere cosmetic changes. Because of this, Harry H. Sefried, II has been rightly recognized as one of the most important and influential arms designers of the twentieth century. Alter retiring he was a self-employed firearms consultant, testifying as an expert witness in several high profile cases, that were covered by Court TV. Harry's interests, however, extended well beyond his chosen vocation. He was a voracious reader who could quote literature and poetry with equal ease. He loved music and many will remember with fondness his entertaining family, as well as friends, by playing the guitar. An avid sportsman and motorcycle enthusiast, he inherited his love of motorcycles from his father who was a dispatch rider in World War I. He had his first motorcycle at 14. In addition to flat track racing and stunt riding he loved working on the mechanics of his bikes. Harry also thoroughly enjoyed those times he spent in the field or on his boat in Long Island Sound. He was a wonderful storyteller, sharing his tales of singing at the Stork Club in New York, working at Winchester with David Marshall Williams, better known as "Marsh" or "Carbine" Williams and testifying in Janet Reno's courtroom in Florida before Bill Clinton tapped her for Attorney General. Harry was a member of numerous local and regional arms organizations as well as a 42 year member of the American Society of Arms Collectors, life time member of the American Legion and NRA. If one characteristic of this remarkable mans life had to be singled out, it would be his constant ability to see the best in everything and everybody. Though dogged by cancer for 25 years, he never lost that ability. Each day was greeted with a broad smile and hearty laugh, before he drank of it in full measure. Harry was husband of the late Laura Goeddel Sefried. Father of Leslie S. Lockard and her husband Palmer of Palmyra, PA. Step-son of Leslie R. Smith of Madison. Also survived by two granddaughters, Courtney and Jane Lockard and his long time companion, Gail Jewiss of Madison. Funeral services will be held at the Guilford Funeral Home, 115 Church St., Guilford on Fri., June 24, at 11 a.m. Friends may call Thur., June 23, from 5-7 p.m. Burial services will take place in Belleville, IL, privately at the convenience of the family. Harry asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Middlesex Hospital, Hospice Care Unit, 28 Crescent St., Middletown, CT 06457.

Published in The Hartford Courant on June 22, 2005
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