Herbert L. Haas was devoted to the law, his clients, various sports, and Huntington, his birthplace and home for more than eight decades.
"He never left Huntington in his life, except for two years in the Army" during the mid-50s, his son, Randall Haas, of Cooper City, Florida, said in an interview. "You don't see too many of those people."
Following a "calling" into the legal profession, Randall Haas said his father was "the consummate professional. He treated everyone the same," whether the client's fee was $50,000 or $500. "Everyone loved him. He treated them with respect."
A lawyer himself, Randall Haas remembered the care his father exhibited toward clients.
"He was the picture of availability and accessibility," Haas said. "An old school lawyer, from the time he got out of law school until the time that he died."
Though Herbert Haas had "slowed down" in recent years, he never formally retired, his son said, maintaining an office on Dewey Street in Huntington until the end. He died Oct. 14 in hospice care in East Northport after hospitalization for pneumonia. He was 88.
Herbert Lewis Haas was born July 26, 1932, at Huntington Hospital. He graduated from Huntington High School in 1950 and from City College of New York in 1954. He served for two years in the Army, his son said, at stateside postings. Following his honorable discharge, Haas returned to his family's home in Huntington and attended Brooklyn Law School, graduating in 1959, his son said.
His father was a "sports fanatic," Randall Haas said. His great sports love was the Brooklyn Dodgers until the team moved to Los Angeles in 1957.
"For his whole life, my dad was an absolute sports fanatic. He loved the Knicks, the Rangers and the football Giants," Randall Haas said in a statement to Newsday. "But he lived and breathed the Brooklyn Dodgers until they deserted him."
Randall Haas added in an interview that once the Dodgers left town, his father became a Mets fan.
"And he was an encyclopedia," Haas said of his father. "He knew everything, especially about baseball."
After law school, Herbert Haas went to work for attorney Sam Raskin, whose office was in Huntington. Eventually, the firm's named changed to Raskin and Haas.
"He taught my dad to care for his clients like they were family, to always respect them and to treat them with honor and dignity, no matter the nature of their issues or problems and no matter how rich or poor they were," Randall Haas said of Raskin.
When Raskin retired, Haas carried on the practice, which Randall Haas said for the past 30 years largely involved real estate transactions.
There was a time when Herbert Haas was very well known in Huntington, his son said.
"He was known to me as the governor of Long Island, that's always how I thought of him. Everyone knew who he was," Randall Haas said. "Everyone wanted to shake his hand … I remember when I was a little kid, people would say to me, 'How’s the governor?' "
Haas was involved in Huntington Republican Party politics in the 1970s and '80s.
Jo-Ann Raia, a former Huntington Town Clerk, shared her remembrance of Haas in a statement sent through Town Hall: "Whenever I spoke with him he always had a big smile on his face and had a chuckle when he spoke."
She also recalled Haas and his wife Maria "were inseparable."
Along with his son, Randall, Haas is survived by wife Maria, daughter, Leslie Schlang, also of Cooper City; sons Richard, of Seattle, Washington, and Philip, of Queens; a sister, Sandra Weinstein of Buffalo; six grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Two previous marriages ended in divorce, Randall Haas said.
Herbert Haas was buried Oct. 16 at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.