The Life of Jim Haas

Jim was born in Newark, New Jersey to Otto and Marian Haas on June 20, 1945. He was raised in Verona, New Jersey, where his father was a legendary soccer coach at Chatham High School and held the record for many years with the most career wins ever in NJ. Jim attended and played for rival Verona High School, and in 1962, he was named the recipient of the Fred Coggin Award as the most outstanding high school soccer player in the State of New Jersey and a Parade Magazine High School All-American.

Jim attended the United States Military Academy from 1963—1967 and was a top recruit to Coach Joe Palone’s West Point Program in 1963. Jim was a strapping 6’3” 190-pound tower of strength at center back for the undefeated plebe team and on three consecutive NCAA Final Four teams. Jim and Sandy were married in 1967 on graduation day at the picturesque Cadet Chapel at West Point.

Upon graduation, Jim was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia for four months for training and then went on to his first assignment in Fort Richardson, Alaska. With the 172nd Infantry Brigade, he endured extreme conditions on night exercises in the winter. And in the summer, he enjoyed midnight golf with his fellow soldiers. For 18 months, he and Sandy enjoyed the breathtaking landscape, mystical wildlife, and northern lights.

Jim was then reassigned to the Adjutant’s General Corp at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis in preparation for his tour in Vietnam. After two months of training, Jim was deployed to Vietnam in August of 1969. While in Vietnam, Jim spent half of his time in Saigon, and the other half as an officer aboard helicopters.

Jim returned from Vietnam in August of 1970 and was reassigned as Special Services Officer at Carlisle Barracks in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. There he oversaw the golf course, gymnasium, tennis courts and all other athletic facilities available to the officers attending the Army War College. At night, he attended Shippensburg University, earning his MBA in May of 1972. After serving at the Army War College for two years, he resigned from the Army and began his career with ARA Services (Aramark).

During Jim’s fifteen years with ARA Services, he held many positions, starting on the ground in sales and rising to President of School Nutritional Services for the Mid-Atlantic region. Through this work, he supported dining services for countless school programs, and also Olympic athletes during the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid and 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. He led with poise and grace, positively affecting the lives of many with this work he found most rewarding.

In 1986, Jim stepped away from Aramark and branched out into his own entrepreneurial endeavors. He tried his hand in many industries, to include health and nutrition, sports memorabilia, and banking, of which he found most enjoyable and gratifying. Jim “retired” in 2010, but never fully disengaged from the business world.

Jim was a long-time member of Aronimink Golf Club in the Philadelphia suburbs, where he fostered many life-long friendships and memories. He never had a shortage of stories from the golf course, or from life in general. He had a magnetic energy and spirit to which people were immediately drawn. His quick-witted humor and sheer determination could get him through any situation. Jim occupied his spare time by being an avid collector of sorts, with a special interest in coins, baseball cards and sports memorabilia.

Jim was a deeply sentimental family man. He was a loving and devoted husband of 51 years to Sandy. Together they raised four wonderful children:  TJ (47), Michael (43), Jamie (40) and Ashleigh (35), for whom he was their biggest fan and supporter. He was “Papa” to ten adoring grandchildren:  Dakota (20), Molly (15), Cole (13), Kieran (12), Aidan (10), Barrett (9), Connor (8), Marshall (5), Otto (2) and Marian (7 months), whom he looked on with such pride and contentment. He held dear the time spent with family at the Jersey shore throughout many decades.

Jim had a genuine love for life and passion for improving and supporting the lives of those around him. His generosity knew no boundaries. He was the pillar of strength for many, with his undaunting positive encouragement and love, often putting others before himself. Jim will be greatly missed, yet his spirit will remain vibrant in all of whom he has loved and befriended.