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William C. Hass

March 31, 2021

William C. “Bill” Haas was born in Cleveland, OH September 30, 1944 the son of Melville S. Haas, Yale Law School Class of 1943, and Phyllis Bain Haas. He grew up in the Cleveland area and graduated from Shaker Heights High School where he was a state swimming champion. He entered Yale in September 1962 and lived in Farnam with Gary Karshmer but then transferred to Timothy Dwight College. He was captain of the freshman swimming team and then was on the varsity swim team for the next 3 years where he was overshadowed by Olympic Gold Medal winners Steve Clark, Don Schollander and other Olympic swimmers. He played several other intramural sports and was also an English major who was on Dean’s List or a Ranking Scholar most semesters. He went on to graduate from Harvard Law School in 1972 after several years in the volunteer anti-poverty program VISTA.

In 1977 he worked for former Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich and later ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Cleveland School Board and the City Council before moving to St. Louis in the early 1990’s. He spent 30 years writing “Pink Collar Blue” described as “a love story in which a politician meets a pink collar upwardly mobile middle-class advertising assistant who hates politics.” The book’s website said “They do not live happily ever after.” For the Class 50th Reunion Book he included the biography from the book in which he described himself as having “several failed careers in corporate law (20+years), adjunct college and secondary math teaching (15 years) overlapping with retail management and customer service and sales for AT&T and Walmart, and politics.” The Gateway Legacy Christian Academy described him as “a wonderful math teacher who brought such joy and laughter everywhere he went and was a light to our campus.” He was elected 4 times to the St. Louis School Board but ran unsuccessfully 18 times for other offices including for Mayor of St. Louis, the Missouri Legislature and Congress, lieutenant governor, US President, city alderman and for the Democratic nomination for the US Senate from Missouri in 2016. In his 50th Reunion submission he also mentioned that he had not been married but had proposed 3 times and had a son, daughter-in-law and 2 lovely grandchildren. He died suddenly on March 31, 2021 while swimming laps in a community pool. He was 76. His obituary described him as “loved and cherished by many people including his parents, his son Tony Blecher (Christie), his grandchildren Ian and Gwen Blecher, and his siblings Richard, Robert (Yale ’69) and Jodi.

– Memorial written by Benjamin Liptzin