Prominent Bay Area philanthropist and civic leader Evelyn D. Haas has died at the age of 92.
Through their family foundation, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Haas and her husband, the late Walter A. Haas, Jr., contributed more than $364 million to hundreds of cultural, civic, and social-service organizations in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Crissy Field Center, and the San Francisco Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund. Haas had a special passion for the arts and served as a longtime trustee of SFMOMA and the San Francisco Symphony. She also loved the outdoors and served as board director of the World Wildlife Fund in the 1970s and 1980s; was a commissioner for the San Francisco War Memorial board under five San Francisco mayors; and served as a trustee on the boards of the Children's Hospital of San Francisco, the California Pacific Medical Center, and the Stern Grove Festival Association, which promotes free performing arts opportunities.
Born Evelyn Danzig in Elberon, New Jersey, in 1917, Haas grew up in New York City and attended Wheaton College in Massachusetts, where she developed a passion for art. She met her future husband, Walter Haas, Jr, while he was attending Harvard Business School, and the young couple married and moved to San Francisco in 1940, where Haas followed his father, Walter A. Haas, and great granduncle, Levi Strauss, in leading Levi Strauss & Co. The Haases were married for fifty-years and had three children.
"Evelyn Haas was a proud mother and grandmother, and an active leader in the civic life of our city," said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, longtime representative of California's 8th congressional district, which covers most of the City and County of San Francisco. "With her husband, Walter, Evelyn dedicated her life to the least among us, and her passion, generosity, and leadership will be missed. I will miss her as my neighbor and friend. San Francisco has indeed been blessed by the generosity of Walter and Evelyn Haas and the entire Haas family — from their promoting arts or sports, preserving the environment, or fulfilling the promise of opportunity for all."