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John W. Haigh

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John W. HAIGH An ardent newspaperman to the very end, John would put on coat and beret, shake his 92-year-old bones, and push his walker through icy rains or snow to bring in the morning paper. It wasn't so much the news he was looking for as a lost vowel or misused verb that had him bring out the red pencil! John W. Haigh died Thursday, January 13, after a gallant three and one half year battle with kidney disease. He was born August 18, 1918 to Dr. Frank and Mabel Haigh in Walla Walla. Dr. Haigh was a chemistry professor at Whitman College, so family life was intertwined with other faculty families. John's first venture in publication was when he and friends put out the occasional 'Semi-Monthly Gazette'. A kind mother printed it on a mimeograph. During college years he worked on the 'Pioneer.' Later, on the Union-Bulletin he was paid $12.00 per week. At last he worked at the Milwaukee Journal for several years. After World War II he decided the Northwest was his true home and found a job at the Yakima Herald-Republic. At that time the building of hydroelectric dams was at its peak and John immersed himself in learning all he could about them. Also about then, Jean Lanham was hired as a new reporter. John wasted no time asking her to marry him and one week later they were married. Weekends were spent visiting dams. As their three daughters were born, they, too, joined the weekend outings. In 1956 John was awarded an Ogden-Reed fellowship by the New York Herald-Tribune. He was to study dams in Western Europe. We packed up the family and took the train to New York to catch the Queen Elizabeth to France. Visiting dams in Europe was much the same as doing it here. John did his work while his family puttered around nearby paths or parks, ending each day with a picnic. The Seattle Times offered John a reporting job when we returned to the U.S. He worked for the Times 27 years before retiring in 1983. John felt he had a great life - families that lived near him and saw him often, good friends to work with and a job he enjoyed, and his beloved basset who is devastated, as are we all! He leaves his wife, Jean, after 62 years, his daughters Jeanette Hagen (Ken), Virginia Immanuel (Jacob), Katy Haigh (Mark Wilkins); grandchildren Camille, Rudy, Henry, Jessa, Shayne, Tyler, Susheel; and five great grandchildren. His sister, Helen Mills of Portland, also survives. A memorial service will be at 2:00 pm Saturday, January 22, in the Chapel at Plymouth Congregational Church (Sixth Avenue and University Street). Parking is available in Plymouth garage. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Nature Conservancy, P.O. Box 6014 Albert Lea, MN 56007.
Published in The Seattle Times from Jan. 19 to Jan. 21, 2011
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