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Charles Eugene Haas

July 17, 2019 | 8 comments

Charles Eugene Haas, 93, died July 15, 2019 after brief stays at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center and Hillview Healthcare Center in La Crosse.  He was born September 26, 1925 at Withee, Clark County, Wisconsin the youngest of five sons born to Thomas J. and Alice La Moine (Powers) Haas.  He completed elementary education at Moody School, and high school at Withee High School. He earned his B.A. from Wisconsin State College Superior in 1948 with a double major in English and history and began his teaching career as English teacher in Cameron, Wisconsin.  In 1956 he received an M.A. in English at the University of Iowa.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Denver in 1964 in linguistics and semantics. From 1956 to 1962 he taught English at Keokuk Community College in Keokuk, Iowa.  From 1964 to 1993 he taught in the Speech Communications Department at UW-La Crosse, he retired in June 1993.

From 1951 to 1954 Charles served in the Army Security Agency.  During this time he attended the Army Language School in Oberammergau, Bavaria, from which he graduated as a Russian language translator in 1952.  He was stationed at Herzogenaurach, Bavaria.

He married a fellow English teacher, Shirley Mahannah, at the Methodist Church in Keokuk, Iowa, in June 1959.  A daughter, Nancy Jane, completed the family in 1968.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley; daughter, Nancy Haas Marshall; son-in-law, Don Marshall; and 3 grandchildren, Rebecca, Charles, and Katherine of Brookings, SD.  He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and other relatives. He is preceded in death by his parents and brothers Thomas, Lloyd, Kermit, and Gerald.

Always interested in history and historical preservation, Charles was active in the La Crosse County Historical Society, in which he served twice as president. He was a guide at the Hixon House for almost 50 years. He served on the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission. He was also a member of the Board of Curators of the Wisconsin Historical Society for 9 years. He authored histories of the Wisconsin Communications Association, the First Congregational Church, the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, the United Fund for the Arts and Humanities, and several short histories concerning the development of the La Crosse County Historical Society.  He also reviewed and edited histories for the state historical society and the La Crosse County Historical Society.  For many years he judged speech events for the Wisconsin High School Forensics Association as well as district and local high school forensic events.

A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, July 23rd at the First Congregational Church in La Crosse at 11:00 am.  The Rev. R. Kent Cormack will officiate. A visitation will be held from 10:00 am until the time of service at the church. Interment will be at Oak Grove Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the La Crosse County Historical Society, the First Congregational Church, or UW-La Crosse Foundation.  Coulee Region Cremation Group is assisting the family.



  1. Mary Gaylord

    Mrs. Haas and Nancy and family,
    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Mr. Haas. He was such an amazing man (and of course a wonderful neighbor to us!) Reading his life’s story was truly inspirational and I will always remember him. You are in my prayers.
    Mary Murak Gaylord

  2. mary haas

    Uncle Chuck was a man of very dry wit and kept us in stitches more times than not! Just a joy to be around. Most statements were of sarcastic nature but so true that you would be laughing and shaking your head yes at the same time! So much fun to be around. To have a quick wit and sharp intellect was a gift he used often. He and Aunt Shirley were the first on everyone’s guest list. His daughter and family were just as fun to be with. Uncle Chuck will be so very missed. I will treasure my memories of him and his family forever.

    • Charles Haas

      Agreed. Uncle Chuck was an excellent man, kind and considerate, humorous in a smart way and could relate to anyone. He and Shirley were perfect together, and we always looked forward to seeing them and Nancy.
      _Chuck Haas, STL

  3. Bill Hoglund

    We mourn a good and decent man. His thoughtfulness, his droll humor and wit, his great love of history and his steadfast faith in Christ, will truly be missed.
    Rest In Peace, Chuck.
    God be with you, Shirley, family and friends.

  4. Brian Rude

    I enjoyed my years serving with Charles on the Board of Curators of the State Historical Society. He was a true gentleman, and always worked hard for the Society and the cause of preserving Wisconsin history. My sympathy to his family in the loss of this wonderful individual.

  5. Brad Seebach

    Charles was one of the beautiful souls with whom I have had the pleasure to share part of life’s journey. He was a kind, generous, considerate and witty man with whom I served on church committees for some years, and he blended those qualities into the fabric of the church community. When I saw him walk to the lectern in the chancel, I knew that I would hear his understanding of the biblical passages within his precise, clear delivery of the text. For years, he has been able to bring a smile to my face just by entering the room. The world is a better place for his having been here with us.

    • Terry Witzke

      We shared several experiences at FCC in La Crosse. Among these were our discussions in the community room after service. I too enjoyed his quick wit and his wonderful use of the English Language. I will not forget his smile, which he did with his whole face.

      He wrote the history of the early church and was happy to give an historical perspective when asked to do so. I will remember Charles as a kind and gentle man. He made a difference in the lives of those who knew him. My condolence to Shirley and his family.

  6. Rob Wessler

    Charles Haas, a good friend and colleague for many years is now with our Lord. Praise the Lord. Thank you, Shirley, for sharing him. He was one of my first friends when I came to UWL.

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