Bernard (Bernie) McGrew Haines

Bernie Haines

Bernie Haines, a long-time Glenwood Springs resident, passed away on February 6, 2010 at the age of 87. Bernie was born in Lore City, Ohio on June 1, 1922 to Frank and Blanche (McGrew) Haines.

He lived in many locations around Michigan and Ohio during his childhood. His father owned a drilling rig and moved from place to place, taking core samples for oil companies.

Bernie received a B.S. in Chemistry from Adrian College in 1944. With World War II ongoing, he was immediately employed at Oak Ridge National Laboratories as part of the scientific community that developed the atomic bomb. In March of 1946, he married his college sweetheart, Georgia Van Amburg.

In 1952 Bernie and Georgia moved to Colorado Springs, where he was production manager at Emerson Electric Co. Their daughter, Katrina, was born in 1955. For several years they owned and operated a turn-of-the-century summer resort in Green Mountain Falls, CO.

The family moved to Glenwood Springs in 1962. For the next ten years, Bernie taught science at Basalt High School. During that time he also attended summer school and received an M.S. degree from Miami of Ohio. He inspired his students to do creative science projects, and many won statewide recognition in science fairs. His students remember him for his unusual classroom experiments and sense of humor.

In the early 1970’s he launched into a career as a free-lance inventor and scientist, which had always been his dream. He obtained several patents, and became well known for the invention of the Solar Pathfinder, which is still widely used to optimize solar energy installations. Bernie continued inventing and tinkering in his shop until he lost his eyesight to macular degeneration in 2005.

Bernie designed, built, and remodeled all sorts of equipment over the years, including a gold sorting machine for prospecting and kilns for firing ceramics. He enjoyed the challenge of finding a creative solution for any problem he encountered.

In addition to his love of science, Bernie enjoyed working on projects for and with his grandchildren. He was playful and loved to joke with his family. His favorite outdoor activities included camping, fossil hunting, prospecting, and bird watching. Bernie will be remembered as a devoted husband, father, and grandfather.

He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Mildred and Rosamond, and one nephew. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Georgia, his daughter Trina Haines, son-in-law Bruce Wampler, grandchildren Van and Risa Wampler, and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 13th at 2:00 pm at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Interment will follow at Rosebud Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please contribute in Bernie’s name to Hospice of the Valley at P.O. Box 3768 Basalt, CO 81621

You are welcome to share memories and other thoughts as a reply on this page (scroll to the bottom of the page for the reply form).


Bernie — 32 Comments

  1. In the two months that I have known him, I enjoyed every single day of it. He loved poems and I used to read poetry to him and on one particular day when I read, the word was one that I couldn’t pronounce very well and I thought he wouldn’t notice, but he corrected me in a second. Also, when I said you are so smart Bernard, he told me “I know”.

  2. I first met Bernie when I worked with Georgia at the NBS station in Colorado Springs. We went on rock hunts together and he razed me unmercifully about my Louisiana accent. Because people from Ohio had no accent. He loved to tease but he also loved to pick my brain for ideas to help in his inventions. We had lots of laughing times together and I’ll always remember what a good buddy he was. I last saw him several years ago and his blindness had dimmed his usual sparkle. It did not seem like Bernie so I prefer to remember the happy clown. Even though he made every game a life and death struggle. I remember once I used the word oryx in scrabble and he said “there’s no such word.” He had to eat his. One of the few times I defeated him at games. Long may our memories of him remain with us fondly. Charlie

  3. I first met Bernie and Georgia January 2001 when our Yampa Yahoos class started at the community center. There were just 5 of us with Lesa Russo instructing. Yes Bernies attire was a Bollo Tie and pens in his pocket maybe a jacket on to excercise. We had such fun and he could do knee bends really well! Most of us still come but now with Michelle our instructor and class has really grown. He will always be there with us in the front row. They both are the dearest couple and I feel blessed to share this time with them.

  4. I loved reading everyones memories of Uncle Bernie and his sense of humor and the fun times that always happened when he was present. I wish I had more memories of Uncle Bernie but unfortunately, I lived in Michigan and only saw Aunt Georgia, Uncle Bernie and Trina when they came to Portland. Except for the summer of 1967 Grandma and Grandpa VanAmburg, my Mom, Dad,Tim and I took a road trip to Colorado to stay a week with Aunt Georgia, Uncle Bernie and Trina. I remember the feeling of being excepted for who I was and just feeling so welcomed. I remember the hot springs and hikes to ghost towns and how beautiful the Aspen trees were. I loved adventure of being with Uncle Bernie.
    I remember the last time I saw Uncle Bernie. He and Aunt Georgia came to Portland Public School’s Administration Office where I am employed by the Superintendent. I was so proud to introduce both Aunt Georgia and Uncle Bernie to Superintendent Dumas and chit chat a bit about school stuff. I felt so special that they made an effort to come to school to say good-by to me. But that’s how I remember Uncle Bernie, he did make all of us feel special. Thank you Trina for letting me share my thoughts. I love you guys, Linda Sandborn Portland, MI.

  5. Bolo Ties, croquet in the back yard, flying squirrels, and spaghetti noodles with butter, and ginger snaps are what will always remind me of Uncle Bernie. When I was younger, I’d like to say that I thought he was so amazing because he was so smart…..nope…..I thought he was so amazing because he created the coolest room for Trina! I couldn’t wait to get to their house and call dibs on sleeping in the loft. I told a story the other night about how I would get knots in my stomach on the way over to their house because I knew he was going to ask me if I had my multiplication memorized…….now that I think about it……..that was probably Aunt Georgia! I am very happy to say that I have so many memories of Uncle Bernie and so very happy that my children were able to have him in their lives as well. Glenwood Springs and the Haines family always brought all of us together!
    Diana McGraner Jones, Great Niece

  6. I have fond and warm memories of spending time with Aunt Georgia, Uncle Bernie and Trina. I regret that we didn’t get to see them more often, since I live in Michigan. Growing up my family always took a summer trip out west to visit. I loved hiking and prospecting. When I think of Uncle Bernie, that’s how I picture him…..prospecting and hunting for old things. I just always thought it was one big adventure anytime we did things with the Haines family. 🙂 I remember going to something similar to a dude ranch one visit out there. We had a chuck wagon type dinner, and I thought it was so cool. I was probably 10 or 11. My sister Cindy and I spent a couple weeks with Bernie, Georgia and Trina one summer. We had a blast going on hikes up the mountain, swimming in the famous Glenwood Springs pool, etc. I loved the flying squirrels……just one more adventurous thing about Bernie, Georgia and Trina. How many people raise flying squirrels in their homes? 🙂

    Their visits to Michigan were always eagerly anticipated. I remember driving to Grandma and Grandpas house on Grant Street and being so excited when I saw their station wagon in the driveway, with their Colorado license plate.

    Uncle Bernie had such a fun personality and great smile. I loved his ties that he always wore. I will keep him in my heart forever. I’m so sorry for his loss. I hope everyone,s wonderful memories will keep him alive forever. Loving niece Robin Pline, Portland, MI

  7. I will remember Bernie for all the reasons mentioned here, but especially for my first encounter with him.
    Patrick and I were in Colorado on vacation, but before we left Washington, Patrick (who was just learning to photoshop)took a group picture he had that included himself and Bernie and replaced Bernie’s head with that of a donkey. Patrick was so excited about giving that doctored photo to him. He could not wait to see Bernie’s expression when he saw that photo. Well, for whatever reason, Patrick decided to mail that picture on ahead to Glennwood, before our arrival with a note not to open until we got there.
    When Patrick, Denny and I arrived, there was the package waiting for Bernie to open. He opened it with us all watching. Of course Patrick, Denny and I were chuckling inside knowing what was in the envelope. Bernie took out the picture and not only was there a donkey head on Bernie, but there was a dog head on Patrick! We all cracked up laughing for I swear at least 10 minutes. I think I laughed the hardest though. They had opened the package early and Bernie had Georgia do her magic on the photo and reseal it. Clearly the joke was on Patrick. Bernie wins again.

  8. Stupid jokes, bringing his queen out early, oatmeal, the ability to point out your stupidity without making you feel too stupid (sometimes), stupid jokes, besting you at most games (had to beat someone since he rarely got to beat Georgia), slow to admit his own mistakes but able to laugh at them while reminding you that you weren’t even smart enough to have thought to try the thing that he made the mistake on in the first place, stupid jokes…does anyone remember “There is only one way to get peanut butter off the roof of your mouth”? Now that was a stupid joke but…we all laughed because it was Bernie.
    I especially remember the Sunday drives into the mountains in Rambler station wagons, the laughing and joking that went on around the picnic table with the man in the bolo tie playing the stand-up comic. The ping pong games at the Terrace Hotel, the Scrabble arguments by the adults and Georgia and Mom (Elaine) winning out on the “foots” of the bed. I remember him creating concrete retaining walls upslope of the Terrace and one of the wet-walls sliding down the hillside with Bernie yelling “Oh no!” in exasperation. (1959-60)
    Bernie could recite poetry from his childhood and burst into song spontaneously. He was well loved and will be missed. I am happy that he was a part of my (our) childhood, youth, young adulthood and adulthood. I am happy that my wife Barbara and our 10 year old son Benjamin were able to know Uncle Bernie even for the brief visits in recent years. Like a great piece of art, you didn’t have to be around Bernie for very long to know that you encountered the rare, the special, and the unforgettable.

    Pat McGraner, Loving Nephew

  9. I will always remember my great uncle Bernie for his sense of humor and his competitiveness on the croquet lawn. He was always quick with a joke and could make any kid feel at ease and like he was just one “of the gang.” I’ll never forget challenging him to croquet games and the spirit, seriousness and joy that he had when playing with all of the kids and adults who dared challenge him! And I will tell you what, he never let anyone win, regardless or age or relation!

  10. I have so many wonderful memories of Uncle Bernie it’s hard to choose one; but, I’d like to go back to 1959-60 when my family lived at The Terrace Motel in Green Mountain Falls. Sunday evenings during the “off-season” we’d have a pancake supper with Uncle Bernie, Aunt Georgia, and Trina in the dining room of the Motel. I was only 9-10 years old so my memory may not be accurate; but, as I recall Uncle Bernie and my dad would compete to see who could eat the most pancakes. It was always such a fun time. Uncle Bernie’s sense of humor added to the fun we all had together!

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