James B Haugabook
Jun. 3, 1936 - Nov. 2, 2012
In San Francisco, after a courageous battle with heart failure and complications following a heart transplant.
James (Jim) Benjamin Haugabook was born in Piney Grove, a tiny country village near the rural town of Montezuma, Georgia. Jim's mother was Sally Lee and his father was Johnny Tookes. He was raised by his loving, sweet grandmother, Carrie Haugabook. Jim spent his middle and high school years in Jacksonville, Florida. He then joined the US Navy, which took him to the Far East and to San Francisco. Jim fell in love with San Francisco, where he moved after his tour of duty, and resided most of his life.
In San Francisco, Jim studied psychology at USF, and started off working as a painter on the Golden Gate Bridge and then at UCSF. He fought discrimination for months, to become the first African American painter allowed to work on the Golden Gate Bridge. At UCSF, Jim also served as chairman of the Black Caucus, advocating for acceptance of students of color into the medical and dental schools. Jim left UCSF to run his own painting and contracting business, where he managed jobs for the Department of Public Works, Unified School District, various city museums and monuments, including the Martin Luther King Memorial. Jim's knowledge of paint and material chemistry was extraordinary; he was solicited by renowned architects to employ special treatments essential for their building design.
Jim had a deep and comfortable sense about who he was, and was open to people from all walks of life. Despite directly experiencing discrimination and living through the civil rights movement, he did not harbor anger. However, if there was an injustice, Jim spoke up, often in eloquent writing. He had the rare quality of a "beginner's mind", never intimidated to look at things from a new, completely unexplored angle. He pursued and enjoyed learning throughout his lifetime, and even went back to school in recent years and completed a B.Sc. in Human Services. Jim was also an avid chess player, loved music and sports, and enjoyed diverse poetry and literature from Shakespeare to W. E. B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes.
Jim had a passionate sense of his roots, and spent his life loving his family, generously helping others in need and speaking out for justice. Jim was greatly loved by his wife, family and friends for his gentle, thoughtful spirit and great capacity to love. He will be deeply missed by all who loved him.
Jim Haugabook is survived by his wife, Dvorah Feder-Haugabook; his children Diane Thompson, Annette Marie Haugabook, Freddie Haugabook, Phyllis Haugabook, Douglas Haugabook, Jnay Swanson, Regina Haugabook, Havneh Feder-Haugabook, Ayala Feder-Haugabook; cousins Kathryn Tobie, Ella Mae Todd, Norma Smith, George Tookes, Willie Emerson, Tess Curry, Ruth Boyd, Carl Frederick, Deronia Owens; and several nieces, nephews and grandchildren.
Funeral services were held on Monday, November 5, 2012 at Sinai Memorial Chapel, SF, followed by interment at Eternal Home Cemetery, 1051 El Camino Real, Colma. In lieu of flowers, donations to Congregation Adath Israel or to the Jewish Community High School of the Bay in Jim's memory would be kindly appreciated.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Nov. 18, 2012