NAUGATUCK — William C. Hass, 77, passed peacefully at home on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. He was the husband of Theresa (Brutofsky) Hass.
Born on Feb. 6, 1943, in Newark, N.J., the son of the late Herbert and Julia (Greus) Hass, Bill became a childhood philatelist and Boy Scout, a passionate athlete, and a lover of cars. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Wagner College in 1965, and eventually came to Naugatuck to work at Uniroyal, where he began a career in the rubber and polymer industry.
Shortly before graduating from Wagner he met his wife, Terri, with whom he fell deeply in love and married. For 53 years they explored New England together, taking regular weekend trips driving from Connecticut to Maine, through Vermont foliage, and Rhode Island beaches. All the while making regular visits to their families in New Jersey … New York traffic notwithstanding.
His car was forever filled with maps (remember those?), which he would yank out of the door pocket, quickly exit a freeway, and plunge into the surface streets to avoid bottlenecks of any kind. Exploring new routes and shortcuts came easily to him, which likely came in handy as a district sales manager for a number of companies.
Always engaged with a civic mindset, Bill became an active member of the Howard Whittemore Memorial Library’s Board of Trustees, where he enjoyed development activities through the years. This eventually led to him becoming a member of the Economic Development Commission, where he took part in growing the Naugatuck Industrial Park.
A lifelong photographer, he rarely left the house without his Minolta camera bag over his shoulder. He meticulously filed metal box after metal box of kodachrome slides — by month and by year — such that his family knows what the big events were in any given month from 1970 to 1994. He took photos of family, of pet cats, of deer in the backyard, of backyard disasters, and Limerock Speedway stock car races, of Evelyn Drive sunsets, and an extensive documentation of blizzard snow accumulations in the driveway — the camera coming out of its leather case often frustrated the son writing this obituary, but now these pictures are cherished memories of a life pretty darn well lived.
Often the life of a party, from events in his 20s while wearing a suit and tie with all of his childhood friends, to parties thrown at home with his family, where he usually livened things up. He was known to shoot fireworks while sipping a rum cocktail to celebrate a new year, over spike the party punch while Terri prepped snacks for later in the evening, and — livening things up in a different way — shut down his sons and their friends when things got out of hand. His love of a good time (and ability to blow his stack at the younger generation’s whims) earned him a nickname amongst his sons’ friends: ZBH — the short form of the honorific, “Zany Bill Hass.”
He loved a party but he also wanted everyone to survive it.
So we say goodbye to ZBH, to W.C. Hass, to Bill. A smart man with a keen problem-solver’s mind. A loving husband and father. A firecracker ready to pop. A willing partner-in-crime at a party. A solid friend. Whatever he knows now, we suspect he’s scribbled it down using the pen and notebook he always kept in his shirt’s front pocket and will share it with us when we next see him, but first, we suspect he’ll ask, “Welcome! Are you thirsty? Can I get you a drink?”
The answer will be yes.
Besides his wife of 53 years, Mr. Hass is survived by his sons, James and Steven; as well as his grandson, Barnabash Hass. In addition to his parents, Mr. Hass is predeceased by his sister, Carol Jensen; and his brother-in-law, Paul Jensen.
A graveside service will be held on Jan. 19, 2021, at 1 p.m. at East Ridgelawn Cemetery in Clifton, N.J. Visitation will be held on Monday, Jan. 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Alderson-Ford Funeral Home of Naugatuck, 201 Meadow St.
Memorial contributions may be made to Seasons Hospice, 1579 Straits Turnpike, Unit 1E, Middlebury, CT 06762.
For online condolences, to share a photo or a story, visit www.fordfh.com.