Phil Haffner – Springs Architect and Creative Spirit Dies at 75

Phil Haffner
Phil Haffner: March 11, 1938 - February 6, 2014, Photo: Courtesy of the Haffner family

Springs architect Philip Clark Haffner, a former Navy man, husband, father and creative spirit died of pancreatic cancer on Thursday, February 6 at the Hamptons Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Southampton. He was 75 and went peacefully, according to the family he left behind.

Born on March 11, 1938 to Adelaide McIntosh and James P. Haffner in Chicago, Illinois, Haffner grew up in the suburb of Barrington. He graduated from Barrington High School in 1956 and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied architecture and received a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1961.

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy officer training program at Newport, Rhode Island in 1961, receiving a commission and then serving in the Western Pacific. Upon completion of his service, Haffner began working as an architect for Anshen & Allen in San Francisco, California. He later worked for Worster, Bernardi & Emmo, and Henry Conversano Associates.

In 1972 he married U.K. native Nell Malinowski. The couple resided in Berkeley, California and had three children, Joni and twins Carly and Grant. In 1983 the family traveled cross country and moved to East Hampton, where Haffner resumed his work as an architect.  It was here on the East End that he realized and designed his own home on Talmage Farm Lane in Springs, as well as many other residential structures on the Twin Forks. All three of his children share his wonderful artistic talents.

Haffner was also an avid baker who loved to make desserts, and was a pro at pies like banana cream pie, as well as a constant tinkerer who was always taking things apart to see how they worked. His family joked that he was an inventor in a previous life.

He is survived by his ex-wife Nell, and their three children, all of whom share his artistic talents: Joni Knapp of Indianapolis, Indiana and Grant Haffner and Carly Haffner, both of Sag Harbor. He also leaves two grandchildren behind, Olivia Knapp and Griffin Haffner, and many friends who he had influenced, inspired and loved throughout his life.

It was Haffner’s wish to be cremated and cast into the winds off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Locally, a memorial will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, February 27 at Ashawagh Hall in East Hampton, a location near and dear to Haffner and his children. In lieu of flowers, Haffner’s family requests donations be made to The Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Foundation, 2078 Skillman Avenue, Roseville, Minnesota 55113.

Phil Haffner’s passionate and creative spirit will never leave those who loved him and who he loved most.

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