His father, Brenton S. Halsey Sr., founded the company with Robert C. Williams in 1968.
About 3:30 p.m. Friday, Brenton Halsey Jr., 39, was gunned down in his second-floor office at a company facility in Upper Southampton Township in Bucks County.
Police said he was killed by a man identified as a former employee who had been escorted to the office under the ruse of having a "family emergency."
According to police, Robert Ellis Begley, 54, sprayed 12 shots at Halsey - hitting him eight times - from a 9mm semiautomatic handgun with a 13-slug clip.
"Begley saved the 13th (bullet) for himself," Bucks County District Attorney Alan Rubenstein said yesterday.
"Begley's animosity," Rubenstein added, "was directed specifically at the corporation and not at the victim. There is no evidence that he knew or met the victim."
Begley, who lived in Glen Allen, a suburb of Richmond, worked at a James River plant for nearly six years before being terminated, Burke said. He was a systems analyst in the information-systems department from May 20, 1981, to March 20, 1987.
He was fired because of "his strange and psychotic behavior," said Burke, adding that Begley at one time was being treated by Hanover County (Va.) Community Services, a psychiatric facility.
Halsey and his wife, Corell, 32, lived in Maine before buying a home in Chestnut Hill in January. She is three months pregnant, friends said. They have three children: twins Brenton 3d and Alison, 5, and Philip, 3.
Halsey graduated from the University of Virginia in 1978 and joined James River as a lab assistant in the specialty-papers division that same year. A year later, he was promoted to systems cost analyst.
In 1980, he went to the company's micrographic-papers division in South Hadley, Mass., as a sales representative. A year later, he was named western region sales manager for the graphics division.
The promotions were steady: account manager for dielectric products in 1982; sales manager for dielectrics in 1983; products manager for the manufacture of coated printed paper in 1984; planning manager for corporate development in 1986; director of corporate development in 1987; vice president of corporate development in 1988.
In 1989, he was transferred to Old Town, Maine, where he became president of the company's Diamond Occidental Forest Inc. subsidiary. Four years later, he moved to Upper Southampton as vice president and general manager of the premium printing-papers division.
"He was a very capable young man, and he was being promoted and given additional responsibilities as they became available," said a family friend who did not want to be identified. "He was extremely well liked and highly regarded."
Halsey took a keen interest in the preservation of trees, a major resource of the company's products. He was national chairman of Project Learning Trees, which encourages secondary teachers to promote tree conservation among students.
"The strange paradox of this case," a family friend said, "is he had strong people skills. He didn't have an enemy."
Besides his wife, children and father, Brenton S. Halsey Jr. is survived by his mother, Lindsay G. Halsey, and sisters, Melanie Crittenden, Elizabeth Perrin and Catherine Corey.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church in Richmond. Burial will be in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery.