NEW YORK--Charles Henry (Hank) Waeckerle, director of ready-to-wear sales at Oscar de la Renta Ltd., died Wednesday at Mount Sinai Hospital here. He was 46.
The cause of death was complications from hepatitis B, according to a family spokesman.
Designer Oscar de la Renta said Waeckerle was brought into the company in February to spur the rtw division's growth, and said it is "unfortunate he won't be able to bring a lot of his plans to fruition.
"He was doing a great job cultivating new business, and it's sad that this happened," de la Renta said. "Beyond that, I had a close personal relationship with him. He was really a great guy and this is a great loss."
Prior to joining de la Renta, Waeckerle had been managing director of Carolyne Roehm since 1989. He was at Geoffrey Beene as national sales director from 1987 to 1989 and in sales at Bill Blass Ltd. from 1980 to 1987.
"In this fashion industry, he was a rare breed," Carolyne Roehm said Wednesday. "He loved the business and the clothing and dressing women. We can all get caught up in the process, but he always kept his perspective. He made me laugh in my worst moments.
"He was exceedingly refined and had a love of the arts and music. He was loved by store executives and the press, by fabric vendors, and anyone he came in contact with."
Waeckerle is survived by his companion, Thomas Whyte; his parents, Virginia and Charles, and a sister, Suzan Svoboda.
Services will be conducted Friday at 9:45 a.m. at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home, 1076 Madison Ave. here.

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