Richard "Nick" Halferty, 65, the former vice president of his father's boat and RV dealership who later made a business of hunting for and selling obsolete silverplate flatware to replace lost pieces from family sets, died Wednesday in his Old West End home from complications of heart disease.
The business, Silver Ladies and Nick, operated for about 25 years, mostly at 5650 West Central Ave., Sylvania Township.
He advertised his services in leading magazines and, at antique shows around the country, bought, sold, and traded with dealers. When a customer called to find a fork of a particular pattern to complete grandmother's set, Mr. Halferty contacted his network of other silverplate dealers, offering to buy, trade, or sell as needed.
"Over periods of time, we kind of worked like stockbrokers," said Barbara Kinzel, a longtime friend who sold him the silverplate part of her flatware replacement business.
"We traveled all over the United States," she said. "Going from place to place, we had established customers, and they would look forward to seeing us. It became like a family. We developed many friends over the years."
Mr. Halferty, a certified public accountant, found out about Ms. Kinzel's venture, and "he just became enthralled with the silver and asked to learn about it," Ms. Kinzel said.
He could identify flatware by pattern and tell who made it and when.
"You wouldn't believe how many thousands of patterns there are," his sister, Linda Halferty, said. "He memorized all these patterns that most other people don't even know what they are."
Mr. Halferty closed the business about three years ago.
He had been vice president of Mastercraft Marine & Sports Inc., founded by his father, Paul Halferty, and handled the firm's finances. His mother, Julia, and his sister also worked there. He was a former president of the Toledo Marine Dealers Association.
"We had to work a lot so other people could go out and enjoy their boats, but it was a fun time in our lives," his sister said.
After his father closed the business in the late 1970s, he traveled the world.
Mr. Halferty grew up in West Toledo and Sylvania and was a graduate of Whitmer High School and the University of Toledo.
He was affiliated for many years with the Improved Order of Red Men, a fraternal organization that traces its roots to 1765. He was named state leader in 1972 at the 120th session of the Great Council of Ohio.
He was a former officer of Arc of Lucas County.
He and a group of friends got together weekly to play cards and dominoes. He joined the group for a recent bus trip to the Greektown Casino in Detroit.
"Everybody liked him. He had kind of a dry sense of humor," Ms. Kinzel said. "He was very quick-witted."
Surviving is his sister, Linda Halferty.
There will be no visitation. Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow in the Swan Park Chapel of Toledo Memorial Park. Arrangements are by the Newcomer Family Funeral Home.