Anyone would be able to see how hard Henry Haranin worked just by shaking his hand.
State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, said he had muscular development in each finger joint from working with his hands in the construction business all his life. He owned Haranin Group, including Haranin Construction, Haranin Enterprises and Henry’s Workshop.
“You wouldn’t have to know what his business was,” Benninghoff said. “If you shake his hand, you’d get it.”
Haranin, 70, died Saturday in a one-vehicle accident in Clinton County. He was traveling south on U.S. Route 220 near the Avis exit when he swerved to miss a plastic lawn chair that was sitting in the middle of the roadway at 5:23 p.m., Pine Creek Township Police Chief David Winkleman said.
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After swerving, he hit the median and his car rolled several times, off the road into the woods, coming to rest against a tree, Winkleman said. The first responder on the scene said Haranin was unresponsive, and he was pronounced dead at 6:35 p.m. by Clinton County Chief Deputy Coroner John Hanna.
The cause of death is listed as blunt force trauma, and the crash was ruled accidental.
Benninghoff, who rented an office in the Cadillac Building from the Haranin family, said he always looked forward to conversations with Haranin, whose friends called him Hank.
An opinionated man, Haranin would always grumble to Benninghoff about the government and issues he had with policy. But he would always finish the conversation with a compliment, telling that state representative that he was doing a good job.
He didn’t see Haranin as much in recent years after the Cadillac Building fire in 2009, and he found that there was something missing.
“It’s kind of funny how I kind of missed that grumbling,” he said, adding that the accident came as a shock. He sent his deepest sympathy to Haranin’s family.
Haranin would never ask his employees to do something that he would not do or had not already done. Benninghoff remembers Haranin personally slopping through the Cadillac Building wreckage in the cold after the December 2009 fire.
He would always be on the front lines, doing whatever needed to be done and working well past 40 hours each week, Benninghoff said.
And his role as a businessman was an integral part of the community, Centre County Commissioners Chairman Steve Dershem said.
Haranin’s father was known was “Mr. Concrete,” Dershem said, adding that Hank carried on that tradition.
“They’ve always been part of the fabric of the community, and certainly he’s put his fingerprints on a lot of construction projects in Centre County,” Dershem said.
Bellefonte Borough Manager Ralph Stewart added that Haranin’s death will be felt by the whole community. He offered his condolences to the Haranin family.
The police investigation is ongoing. Winkleman said the department is looking for information about how the chair ended up on the road.
Arrangements are under the direction of Wetzler’s Funeral Service in Bellefonte, and additional details are pending.