RIP Walter H. Haas, lunar and planetary champion

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Walter H. Haas // Credit: ALPO/Bob Maxey
Very sad news this morning on the death of Walter H. Haas (1917–2015), founder and director emeritus of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO), at the age of 97. Few astronomy enthusiasts did more over the past decades for amateur astronomy, heartily encouraging the study of the Moon and planets, careful observations and photography, and for years pushing for the now fully functional collaboration between amateur and professional astronomers.

Walter was always an exceptionally nice and encouraging force when I, as a teenager, got to know him — he always pushed me forward to follow my similar activities on the deep-sky side of the coin.

Walter will be greatly missed. Here is a release written and sent by Ken Poshedly, executive director of ALPO:

It is with great sadness that we let you know that we have been informed that Walter H. Haas, founder and director emeritus of our organization, the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers, passed away on Monday morning, April 6, 2015, at 6:10 a.m. MDT (12:10 UT) of natural causes in Las Cruces, New Mexico, his hometown for many years.

Walter was born July 3, 1917. He founded the ALPO in 1947 and served as executive director until 1985.

He had been in gradually failing health recently, but his mind was still sharp as a tack.

Many of us owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to Walter for shaping lunar and planetary astronomy for what it has evolved into today as well as shaping our own interest in the solar system and our lives.

Viewing will be at La Paz — Grahams Funeral Home, in Las Cruces, NM, on Monday, April 13 from 5 — 8 p.m.

Services will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Las Cruces, 200 W. Boutz, at 10 a.m., followed by a graveside service at 11 a.m.

Walter's daughter, Mary Alba, requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to your local hospice and the ALPO.

RIP Walter.

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