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Fred Haase

Obituary of Fred Edward Haase

Fred Haase was a curmudgeon. He was grumpy, gruff, moody and easily irritated—but once you got past his crusty exterior, he was a teddy bear. Frederick Edward Haase was born July 26, 1948 in Chicago. He passed peacefully in his sleep at home on June 1, 2022. He died of natural causes; his body was worn out after seven decades of living life to the fullest. As a child, Fred was called “Fritz” by his German-American parents and others in their Bund-based social circle. Theirs was a classic American working family struggle. Fred’s father was a Chicago streetcar driver, his mother a homemaker. To earn spending money, feisty Fritz began working at an early age selling afternoon newspapers to homeward bound commuters at a nearby train station. His shouts of “Big News, Read It Now” no doubt laid the foundation for his later successful career in printing and sales. Young Fred soon added another job to his schedule: selling racing programs to patrons at Chicago’s famous racetracks, Arlington and Hawthorne. This, naturally, led to Fred’s lifelong fascination with Thoroughbred racing. But the Sport of Kings wasn’t Fred’s only sporting interest. Like many Chicagoans, Fred became thoroughly hooked on the Cubs, Bears and Blackhawks, reading the box scores, listening on the radio and watching on TV, which was a fuzzy black & white back then. Fred’s obsession with the Cubs bordered on the fanatical. For example, his custom Oregon license plates read “NXT YR.” Cubs fans everywhere could translate this rueful resignation. When the Cubs finally won the World Series in 2016 after a 108 year drought, Fred opted for new license plates: CUBYUP. In his teens, Fred began a new line of work as a "go-fer” for an opaque organization with operations throughout the Windy City. Fred’s best friend was from an Italian family down the street and the friend’s father, a higher-up in the organization, took a liking to Fred. That led to Fred’s hiring. Fred never knew what was in the envelopes and packages he picked up and delivered around Chicago, but he knew better than to ask. He was completely trusted by the adults he worked for. He learned early in life the value of relationships in business. In 1965 Fred graduated from J.S. Morton High School West, where he played on the football team as an offensive lineman. Two years later he went on to graduate from J.S. Morton Junior College. He then attended McHenry County College and Triton College, with an emphasis on Graphic Arts. Facing the Draft, Fred enlisted in the Army in 1968 and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Tropic Lightning unit. He was shipped over to Vietnam and saw combat. Vietnam left a lasting mark on Fred. He finished his Army career as a Sergeant. In the 1970s after a series of jobs in Chicago in graphic arts and printing, Fred decided he wanted to live and work on the West Coast. In 1978 he landed a position at Graphic Arts Center, Portland’s premier printer with a national presence producing high-end annual reports, catalogs, coffee table books and the like. Fred started in scheduling and quickly moved up to back-end production, supervising bindery, shipping, bulk mailing and fulfillment operations. He was especially lauded for his expertise in working with the USPS Bulk Mail Department, earning the moniker, “Mr. Bulk Mail.” In the early 1990s Fred and a friend from the printing industry, Tom Groves, started their own company named Northwest Turf which sold a product from Japan called Isolite. This was a treatment for golf course grasses that strengthened the turf and accelerated recovery times. Fred loved the work, calling on and selling golf course superintendents across the Pacific Northwest. But the product was ahead of its time, and within a couple years Fred was back in the saddle at GAC. This time around, though, the mergers & acquisitions era was in full swing and Fred had to put on a suit and go into sales for GAC’s new management. So he changed gears, cinched up his new ties and produced remarkable results. By 2000 with GAC ownership changing again, Fred moved to a local start-up printer along with a handful of other GAC expats. They had an immediate impact on the market. In 2013 Fred went into business for himself, starting his own brokerage firm, Haase Print Group. He enjoyed self-employment and his clients immensely and worked to literally the last week of his life. The business will be carried on by his widow, Dena, who has been instrumental in the business from the start. Away from business, Fred was a sportsman with typical Chicago interests. He was serious league bowler, carrying a 200+ average for many seasons. He played softball and mushball and discovered golf in his 30s. He reveled in organizing many golf outings for himself and his friends and occasionally cooking for them afterwards. His cooking was better than his golf game, but uncannily he could perform on the golf course when the money was on the table. An ice fishing enthusiast in his Midwest days, Fred also discovered “big” fishing once he moved West, and some of his best times were fishing with friends in Oregon’s rivers and bays, in Alaska, Vancouver Island and ocean fishing off San Diego and Baja, Mexico. Fred was an inveterate reader as well, always with a book next to his easy chair and constantly exchanging books with friends and customers. Oh, and did we mention Fred liked music and dancing? No, we didn’t because he wouldn’t have wanted it mentioned. Fred is survived by his sweetheart of 35 years and wife of the last 21, Dena, and by his sister Janice Haase of Chicago. He is predeceased by half-brother Richard Karshnik of Chicago. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Paralyzed Veterans of America or Wounded Warriors. After he returned home from Vietnam, Fred promised himself that everyday thereafter would be considered a holiday, no matter how demanding, discouraging or debilitating it might be. He lived up to that promise. We wish you continuing holidays, Fred, to Infinity.
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Committal Service with Military Honors

2:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Tuesday, July 26, 2022
Willamette National Cemetery
11801 SE Mt Scott Blvd.
Portland, Oregon, United States
503 273 5250