Henry Weisl, 88, of Moorestown, a retired marketing executive, an amateur magician, and a cultivator of prizewinning roses, died Friday, Dec. 10, of heart failure at home.
Mr. Weisl, a native of New York City, earned a bachelor's degree from Lafayette College in Easton.
After receiving a medical discharge from the Army for a stomach ulcer, Mr. Weisl worked on government research projects at Columbia University during World War II and performed magic tricks at USO shows.
In 1945, he joined Dow Chemical Co. and for the next 41 years worked in sales in New York and Philadelphia. He helped market Styrofoam, a Dow trademarked product introduced in 1954, and was a member of Dow's Styrofoam Hall of Fame, said his daughter, Carol.
He retired from Dow in 1986 and then was a substitute teacher in the Moorestown school district for 11 years. He also volunteered as a reader for Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic and, for many years, was an active member of the Moorestown Rotary.
He entertained his students with sleight-of-hand tricks and performed magic at Rotary events, his daughter said.
"He loved making people happy," she said.
Though Mr. Weisl grew roses when he lived on Long Island, he became "hooked" after moving to Moorestown in 1977. "Over the years, I've rubbed shoulders with a lot of famous people," he told The Inquirer in 2003, referring to roses named after celebrities, including Queen Elizabeth II, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Bush, Dolly Parton, Henry Fonda, and Julie Andrews.
Mr. Weisl tended more than 100 rose bushes and became an expert in their care. He was a consultant, spokesman, and past president of the West Jersey Rose Society and served on the advisory board of the American Rose Society. He was a lecturer at the Philadelphia Flower Show and had won numerous awards.
Roses are not hard to grow, he told The Inquirer. "It's sort of like seeing a child grow up; you nurture and then you watch it develop."
A fitness enthusiast, Mr. Weisl attended aerobic classes five days a week until two days before his death.
Since 1953, he had been married to Janet Adler Weisl. They met on vacation at a dude ranch in New York state.
Mr. Weisl is survived by his wife and daughter. A son, Richard, died in 1976.
A service will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15, at Moorestown Memorial Home, 334 Chester Ave., Moorestown. Friends may call at noon.