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Former vice president of children’s home dies at 76

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at 7:47 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at 5:57 a.m.

Russ Haas, a former vice president at the Maude Carpenter Children’s Home, died Saturday, nearly six years to the day of an accident that put him in a nursing home.

Haas loved to tinker – with his 1957 Chevy and on projects around the house. His son Mark Haas said in a letter that his father could “lay his own shingles, plumb his own house and could have been a master electrician.”

Mark Haas also said his father “was of high intelligence and humor” and “an influence in his community socially, intellectually, spiritually and philosophically. He did not mince words. He enjoyed Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Wagner. He was well versed in the classics of poetry and literature.”

Myrna Haas, Russ Haas’s wife, said her husband enjoying riding his Gold Wing motorcycle and “liked working on cars and anything mechanical.”

“We figure he’s probably got a project up there now going on,” she said.

The Eagle wrote about Haas’s struggles after an accident on March 26, 2007. A truck driven by Johnny Dore crashed into Russ and Myrna Haas’ vehicle that rainy night. A police officer said Myrna Haas had failed to yield to Dore but didn’t give her a ticket.

Dore had been driving without his lights, and his blood alcohol level was 0.223, court records show, almost three times the legal limit of 0.08. It was his sixth DUI.

Russ Haas had lived in a nursing home and used a wheelchair since the accident. Mark Haas wrote about his father in a letter to a judge who sentenced Dore.

Dore pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts of battery and a DUI in the case. Between the accident and his sentencing hearing, police arrested Dore again. He initially faced a seventh DUI case and charge of driving while his license was suspended. The DUI charge later was dismissed. A mix-up later put him on work release, but after a story in The Eagle, he was returned to jail.

One of Haas’ children, Rebecca Haas, said her father’s “body just started shutting down.”

Hospice workers had been helping to care for him.

“He’d been in so much pain the last six years. We couldn’t stand watching him be so miserable,” Rebecca Haas said.

Haas was 76.

He was a former Hesston Corp. credit manager and vice president of finance at the children’s home, now called Carpenter Place. Myrna Haas said the home built her husband a maintenance shop after he retired, and he took care of maintenance at the home.

“He loved that,” she said.

His funeral will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Emporia Avenue Church of Christ.

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