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JOHN C., 92, philanthropist, champion of community service and a retired chairman of the Rohm and Haas Company died Saturday, April 2 at his home in Villanova. Mr. Haas spent his professional career with Rohm and Haas, the global specialty chemicals company his father, Otto Haas, co-founded. Beginning as a process engineer at the Rohm and Haas Bridesburg plant in Philadelphia, Mr. Haas held a number of positions in various locations within the company and eventually transferred to the "people side" of the business. His role at Rohm and Haas allowed him to pursue his passion for helping people both inside and outside the company. While he was committed to the business, he was devoted to his family and his philanthropy.
After his father's death in 1960, Mr. Haas was appointed executive vice president at Rohm and Haas, supporting his brother, F. Otto Haas, who became president and chief executive officer. Mr. Haas was also named chairman of the William Penn Foundation, created in 1945 by his father and his mother, Phoebe Waterman Haas, in response to social problems following World War II. Five years ago, Mr. Haas and his wife, Chara, founded the Stoneleigh Foundation, devoting their personal estate to help serve the needs of vulnerable and underserved children and youth.
Mr. Haas was very active with the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, serving for a time as its president, and also with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia and the Chemical Heritage Foundation. He was a staunch advocate for the Rev. Leon Sullivan's Opportunities Industrialization Center for America (OIC). He was also a founding leader of the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in 1976, and served as Trustee until it was absorbed into the Pennsylvania Historical Society in 2002. Mr. Haas was a member of the Board of Governors of Temple University Health System and also a trustee emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was an avid supporter of Natural Lands Trust.
Mr. Haas attended Amherst College where he received his A.B. degree in 1940. He went on to Massachusetts Institute of Technology to earn a M.S. degree in chemical engineering in 1942. Mr. Haas served as a U.S. Naval Officer in World War II.
Mr. Haas embraced family life. He shared with his wife and children a love of travel, as well as a lifelong passion for hiking and the outdoors.
Mr. Haas is survived by his wife, a daughter, Barbara, his sons David, Leonard, Frederick, and Duncan and 10 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his brother in 1994.
A private service will be held for the family, and a memorial service is planned for a later date.
In lieu of flowers, gifts in memory of John Haas may be directed to the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia (Attn: Development Department, 1518 Walnut St., Suite 605, Philadelphia, PA 19102) or The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Attn: Memorial Gifts, 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103).


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Published in Philadelphia Inquirer/Philadelphia Daily News on Apr. 4, 2011.
Memories & Condolences
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17 entries
May 23, 2011
Because of John Haas' kind heart and devotion to improving the community through education and skills training, I was able, right out of high school, to get a job in science, which is highly unusual these days. As a graduate at Mastbaum High School, I was picked to participate in a special training program held in Northeast High School during the summer months of 1973, sponsored by Rohm and Haas Company. After the training, I was offered a good job in the company and am still employed at 38 years. Thank you for the opportunity at this time to remember John Haas (and also his family) for a deep devotion to improve other's lives through new job opportunities like the one I had at a tender age of 17 years old. I was struggling with my mom who had ALS disease and decided to take a job at Rohm and Haas which helped my family out and gave me so much inspiration. I am so grateful for John Haas. His devotion to humanitarian projects like the one I was involved paved a special path in my life long term. God bless John Haas and all of his family, especially at this time. Sincerely, Marilyn Mechell, Technologist, Dow Coating Materials, Spring House, Pa.
Marilyn Mechell
May 20, 2011
It is hard to imagine the world without the gentle, kind presence of John Haas. His generous philanthropy for a region that he and his family have been dedicated to for many years will be his lasting legacy. His wonderful family will miss him I am sure, but so will the cultural community in Philadelphia. My deepest condolences to his wife, children and grandchildren. I am sorry to be missing the Memorial next week, but I will be there in spirit.
Nancy Kolb
May 16, 2011
A gentle and lovely man, he will be missed by all of us in the Berkshires who knew him, especially at the Boat Club. His love of sailing and fussing with his beloved Allegra was always a joy to behold. Sally Underwood-Miller, Stockbridge, MA
Sally Underwood-Miller
April 22, 2011
I miss you so much. I can feel you with me. Love you.
Barbie Blydenburgh
April 12, 2011
John was a longtime member and supporter of the Appalachian Mountain Club. I have fond memories of climbing Mt Moosilaukee with him when he was 80 years old. His passion for the outdoors and land conservation will be missed by all of us at AMC. Andy Falender, President, AMC.
Andy Falender
April 11, 2011
John Haas. I spoke with you just once, and yet I find you touched my life through your love of the outdoors, your social activism, your advocacy of the arts, and most importantly through the lives of your children and grandchildren.

Stoneleigh – a stunningly beautiful home in the old Central European style, set amidst grounds at once manicured and natural. A grand expanse of urban greenery with a uniquely American character.

Family stories of skiing and hiking in Austria well beyond the age when most are content to sit by the fire in a lodge and merely reminisce.

Quiet, steadfast support for myriad life-enhancing projects in greater Philadelphia and around the world.

Peacemaking before it was fashionable.

Cultural events in theaters that owe their very existence in part to the support of John and Chara Haas – in Philly, in Cape May, in Vermont, and doubtless in other venues I have yet to discover.

Children and grandchildren at once intensely private and remarkably empowered to pursue their individual dreams wherever they lead.

Just a few elements of the legacy of a remarkable man whose work, and works, live on.
Mike Wagner
April 9, 2011
I'll always remember our lunches when Mr. Haas joined us!!! This was a great tribute to the type of people person he really was!!!
E. Denny Arket
April 8, 2011
On behalf of myself and the Retired & Happy Group from the Philly Plant. Our deepest sympathy and prayers to your family and our prayers for Mr. Haas.

We were appreciative of not only our years of employment with R&H but also happy for the times he was able to lunch with us at the NE Boys and Girls Club, an organization where both children and adults alike will miss him.

The world is a better place because of caring people like Mr. Haas, and he will greatly missed.

William D. Minich
R&H Retiree
Philadelphia Plant
April 6, 2011
Sharing some of John and Chara's time in the Berkshires was a continuing joy for us. We shared our views on dozens of things from social issues and politics to gardening and grandchildren. The energy of this couple was never failing, and it was a pleasure to be with them over healthy lunches here or picking fresh veggies from our garden for their perpetual salad making. John was a treasure in so many ways, determined (and hopeful) about leaving the world better than he found it. We consider it a blessing to have known him
Ruth Bass
April 5, 2011
May John be comforted by the present of our lord. My prayers are with John and his family.
Louis Noe
April 5, 2011
Rest in peace John Haas A truly people person very humble very caring and very chairitable
tom friel
April 4, 2011
Mr. Haas was always quick with a smile and hello when I was working on the 2nd floor of the 'home office'. I recall Mr. Haas inviting me to a luncheon about 7 years ago for employees who volunteered their time in so many ways over the years. These opportunities to volunteer made the Rohm and Haas Company feel like more than a just place to work. Mr. Haas was truly an inspiring person.
Daphne Hanford
April 4, 2011
To a man that understood people and their needs, thanks for carrying on the Haas legacy at Rohm and Haas for many years! It was a joy to work for the company for thirty years that kept the community's and employees' needs in mind. Rest in Peace! God bless John and his entire family.
Jeanne Day
April 4, 2011
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Nikola Sizgorich
April 4, 2011
Sincerely, H Harvey Sr
April 4, 2011
Rest in peace Mr. Haas. You and Rohm and Haas were a blessing to thousands of people.
April 4, 2011
I was so grateful that I got to say good-bye to Dad two times.

Below is the message I sent to him through Lenny while I was out of town:

"I am filled with such love for you and want you to know this; you taught me to make a difference in the world without needing a pat on the back and to make a difference in the world because I can. You taught me to pick up trash as I walk anywhere. You taught me to stick to my commitments. You've been my teacher and my Dad and I love you. Thank you for being in my life"

All my love to the has never been the piece of paper that made me decide to love you love is simply a choice, because you are all lovable and special in my eyes.

Nancy Haas
Nancy Haas
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