John Robert Bunting Haines of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, died on February 7 after a brief illness. He was 88 years old. The son of the late Sylvia Haines and Dr. John B. Haines, he grew up in Upper Darby and Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and lived in Malvern, PA, for many years before moving to Downingtown. A 1952 graduate of The Episcopal Academy, John was inducted into its Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania High School Track and Field Hall of Fame. At Episcopal, he ran the second-fastest 440-yard dash in the country and set state records in the 220 and 440. As a high school student, he competed in the 1952 Olympic Trials finals and was named an AAU All-American for the 100-yard dash. A 1956 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, he is the only athlete ever to win four consecutive U.S. national championships in the same event, capturing the 60-yard dash as a student-athlete from 1953 through 1956 (when he doubled as 55-meter dash national champion). A three-time All American and two-time American record holder, he tied the world record in the 60-yard dash as a collegian. While at Penn, John competed in the 1956 Olympic Trials where he was a finalist in the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 400-meter dashes. As a Penn senior in 1956, he was one of seven American athletes selected by the U.S. State Department for a goodwill tour of West Africa, competing in meets in Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria. John was devoted to the Penn Relays Carnival, the world’s largest track meet held annually at Philadelphia’s Franklin Field. He competed as a middle school, high school and college runner, and set the meet record for 100-yard dash. He later transitioned to officiating, eventually to be joined by several children and grandchildren. John was a Penn Relays official for 53 years, its longest tenured official ever, most recently as Chief Umpire. His fellow officials twice recognized him for tireless devotion and service. John also officiated at numerous national and international meets, including the Martin Luther King Jr. International Freedom Games. He is survived by his wife, Susan Haines; his children Joyce, John, Mark, Christopher, Matthew and Sarah; and by several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Friends of the Penn Relays.
Published in The Daily Local from Feb. 7 to Feb. 8, 2021.