Mt. Vernon resident Jim Lee Hasz passed away peacefully on August 6, 2017 surrounded by his loving family, after a courageous battle against cancer.
Jim was born in Kellogg, Idaho, June 29, 1940 where he spent his early childhood years with his parents and three brothers on a small farm. He always spoke of the farm years fondly. His family eventually settled in Samoa, California, where he attended school in nearby Eureka.
Jim was active in scouting, and earned the Eagle Award with Palms, the Silver Explorer Award, and the Order of the Arrow Vigil Honor. Beginning in college, Jim became fascinated with Native American culture and customs and was an avid collector of artifacts. He was a chosen ceremonial dancer for Order of the Arrow ceremonies. Jim served in the United States Army and was proud of the time he served.
In high school, Jim was a stand-out track and field star. He competed in decathlons; his signature event was the hurdles. After graduating from Humboldt State College with a master’s degree in education and administration, he began a career that spanned 44 years. Jim won numerous awards for teaching,including the Washington State Golden Apple Award. He taught all levels from kindergarten to college,including special education and gifted classes, but found his true fervor was teaching 3rd and 4th graders at a replica western town he created called Seagullville.
In junior high, Jim was smitten by what he said was “the cutest and nicest girl at school,” Barbara Hammer, who turned out to be the love of his life. He adored his family and his many lifelong friends.
He had boundless energy and generosity and a one of a kind sense of humor. He was a loving husband, dad, grandad, brother, uncle and friend, as well as a groundbreaking educator who changed the lives of those he touched. Jim’s students and their parents meant the world to him. In his own words, he loved them “100%!”
Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara, and his brother, Dale Hasz. He is survived by brothers, Jerry and Gale Hasz; sister-in- law Helen Chesbrough; children, Katie Hasz (Mihai Szabo), Annie Salley (Jim), and Barton Jim Hasz (Julie); grandchildren, Serena Rinkel, Rhianna Swearngin (Richie), Maili Smith (Roger), Helen Salley, James Salley, Jr., Bart Hasz, Jr. and Ellie Hasz; honorary grandchild, Ivory Pinkney; nine treasured great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews, all of whom he loved with all his heart.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held in the upcoming months.
Jim will be remembered for his characteristic whistle and wink, the cherished way he made others feeland his inspiring approach to life.