Larry Wheeler shares this tribute to the late Jake Haun, one of The Mountain's Charter Life Members:
Several in The Mountain family received interesting phone calls in August. They started with "This is Jake" and the people he was calling needed no last name - he was a significant part of the lives of the people he was calling and all knew his voice. When the recipient said, "What's up with you?" the response was typical Jake - "I'm in hospice and Diane (Gardner --his wife) has encouraged me to call my friends and tell them what's happening." After some amount of catching up he sometimes asked for phone numbers of others that he thought the person would have. One can only wonder at how many calls he made?
The contact brought back memories of how Jake entered our lives in the mid-70's as he appeared at the Southeast UU Summer Institute (SUUSI) which was being held at Radford University in SW Virginia. He had been informed about SUUSI from UU contacts in Richmond, VA and he came to check us out. His presence was quickly noticed by all he came in contact with - his energy, questions, interest in a wide range of topics, etc. For many people, Jake became an integral part of their lives from then on.
He joined the SUUSI Nature Staff, but had his hands in just about everything he came in contact with and soon became the SUUSI Director. When several people convinced the SUUSI Board that our one summer week was just not enough UU experience for our kids and that we needed a summer camp (later to be expanded to families and adults and year-round), Jake quickly aligned with the group and became a key member of the Camp & Conference Center Committee, the group that guided the effort that eventually led to the purchase of our property in Highlands.
Intrigued by the mysteries of this abandoned mountain-top camp, he rolled up his sleeves and worked at charting what he could make of the water, sewage and electrical systems. The Camp & Conference Center Committee met to determine how to raise the needed $400K to purchase the property, and as soon as the plan was approved to have $1000 be the one payment amount for a Charter Life Membership, the first hand up in the room was Jake's and he purchased not just one but 3 more for each of his sons (Jake III, Harvie and Frank) - already 1% of the total was in hand. He set the tone!!
Once the initial campaign was successfully completed there was a need for a second campaign and Jake stepped up to Co-Chair it - another successful campaign!
He became the President of The Mountain Board from 1983-85 and after completing that term joined the staff as the Development Director.
While his active Mountain involvement lessened by the late 90's, his impact on the early history of this special place will never be forgotten!
Many do not know the depth of his background so here are a few highlights:
- University of Virginia - 1953 - electrical engineering
- Harvard University - 1955 - MBA
- Four years as an officer in the US Navy, including 2 years on a destroyer in the Pacific Fleet
- Family Insurance business
- Many years as an engineer and researcher
- Medical College of Virginia - 1972 - Medical Doctor
- Several years as an Emergency Room Physician in Richmond & Woodstock, VA
- Love of the outdoors - accomplished in diving, caving, rock climbing, and white water canoeing and kayaking
- A licensed pilot
- Great interest and talent in photography
Jake is survived by his wife of 19 years, Diane Gardner, and their children - Rosalie and Henry. His three adult sons and their families: Jake III in Asheville, NC, Harvie in Washington, DC, and Frank in Woodstock, VA.
Gifts have already been received by The Mountain in honor of Jake and are certainly appreciated.