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. I met Bernie and Georgia in 2002 while birding in AZ. My brother,Jim,was anxious for me to meet them. I wondered what the big deal was. As noted in many folks memories being with Bernie and Georgia was like being engulfed in a huge hug which immediately welcomed you into their family. Want to feel special? Spend time with them and your day has been made. Frankly, I thought they would live forever; I wanted them to.
    Now about AZ. Bernie, Georgia, and my brother Jim decided that a hike up the mountainside was in order (the route they were sure they could find; yeh tell me about it). Sizing up the situation, I must say Bernie didn’t exactly look like a Swiss yodeler or hiker. I think it was those tan slip-on shoes. Where had I seen those shoes before? Hmmm, my dad had an exact replica. Maybe that’s why I liked Bernie so well. Between the shoes(he once told me that he had 3 pairs of the same shoe-gotta get them while they’re hot!), hat, and bolo tie he declared he was ready for the ascent, provided he and Jim could find the trail. We ended up bushwhacking to a point where we realized “over there” was where we needed to be. Bernie’s shoes did wonders on the way down, mission being sensibly aborted. Because of the smooth soles he managed to slide through brush and over boulders. All arrived at the campsite, Bernie’s shoes the worse for the wear.
    When you meet rare birds,you always want to share them with others. So I too, was anxious for my friend, Jane, to get to know Bernie and Georgia. I think we would all agree with her regarding how much Bernie and Georgia loved each other. They are remarkable, inspirational.Their hospitality, presence, humor, enjoyment of family/friends, and sense of adventure make Bernie and Georgia special. Regarding competitiveness, I didn’t realize quite how serious Bernie was about croquet till he tossed a blade of grass in the air to check wind velocity and direction; got out the mower to smooth the path of his ball on it’s way to victory. The game was often over before any of us got out of the starting gate. I would have liked to see my brother, Jim, play Bernie scrabble. Neither would have let the other off the hook, ever. In closing, Jane and I will dearly miss Bernie. What an influence he has been in our lives. What a treasure Georgia is and we will continue to cherish presence in our lives. Peg and Jane

  2. I am so fortunate to know Bernie and Georgia. Little did I know that some 10 years ago, while walking a trail in far southeast Arizona, my life would take on new surprises, and find new color. I just happened to encounter a foursome on the trail, with none other than Bernie and Georgia at the helm. When Bernie heard that I was looking for a campsite in one of the Forest Service campgrounds of Cave Creek, he almost carried me back to Stewart Campground single-handedly. (Fortunately, Georgia gave him an assist!) While I went to retrieve my tent and gear up the road, Bernie stalwartly put up a roadblock and stood guard over the prized campsite next to his Hi-Lo. Little did I understand this great act of brotherhood and compassion, until I came to learn that it was the dreaded “Easter weekend”, when hordes of boomboxes accompanied by a tumultuous crowd of merry-makers were about to descend on every inhabitable spot around. I was Bernie’s safeguard and assurance of at least one quiet camper next door! Of course, there was a cost to me in all of this. I was incorporated into the ranks of the Inspector General, helping to ensure that there would never be even the whisper of a boombox in the Stewart environs. An even greater cost – I was soon to find out – Bernie and Georgia had me clawing my way straight up the side of the thorniest, most rock-strewn mountainside my quaking knees ever beheld – all to look for some rumored caves with rock art inside. I quickly learned that Bernie and Georgia were putting me on – they just pretended to be a few years my senior – either that or they were about the business of humiliating those in their 50’s, challenging them to get with the program!
    I would return to the Portal area every spring. My first call of duty was to see if the Hi-Lo was there – it was like a piece of finding home. I dragged along my sister Peg and Jane, all under the pretense of looking for birds. (Actually, we were looking for Bernie and Georgia, even better than birds!) We shared so many good times at the campground. The nighttime hike with “Jasper” – I’ll never forget – looking for spiders with flashlights plugged to our foreheads, like some oafs after a late-night binge.
    It took me awhile to catch on – hey, these people are just down the road (from my home in Kremmling). And so on occasion, I’d have the opportunity to stop and check in, to share some memories, and wonderful laughs, to get to know all the colors of Bernie and Georgia, to reach a little farther and to meet their family, and see how much pride and love there is, and always will be (take note, you grandkids!). Bolo tie, corny jokes, croquet on the back 40, an adventurous and inventive (and manipulating) mind, campfire chatter, an infectious tease, intertwined lives – others have said it as well, so well. I’m just one little piece of a much bigger puzzle, not just holding, but being held. I really celebrate Bernie (and Georgia), and in him, lots of others as well, and I ESPECIALLY give thanks for walking the stream that took me to Stewart -and home – that one spring day.

  3. I was so sorry to hear about Uncle Bernie, and I want to send my deepest sympathy. I will always remember the last time he and Aunt Georgia stayed with my parents on Grant St. We had a good time talking about cameras. He helped me decided on the camera that I eventually bought for myself. My parents were upset about the news of Uncle Bernie’s passing too, and I’m sure that they will want me to let all of you know that their thoughts are with all of you.

  4. In the early 1960’s, I met Trina at elementary school in Basalt Colorado. We became great friends and spent much time together either at my family’s farm in Basalt or at her home in Glenwood Springs. Mr. and Mrs. Haines were always so dear to me and made me feel just like part of their family. I was thrilled anytime I got to spend time with all of them. I have such fond memories of going to the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, playing Barbie dolls with Trina and Mrs. Haines making beautiful clothes for our dolls. As I got older and was then in High School, I was so fortunate to have Mr. Haines as my science teacher. What an incredible teacher – I loved every day of class! I would like to send my condolences to the family. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
    Deborah Barta
    Basalt, Colorado

  5. Trina – I’m sorry to hear about your father. This is a difficult time for you and your family, I know.
    love – Irene

  6. We have lived next door to Bernie & Georgia for over 30 years. Watching them get they daily walk up Mitchell Creek was always refreshing, them enjoying each others company so much. They always took time to visit and share their experiences in camping trips and bird watching in Arizona. I will always remember their annual yard sales and the items that they had picked up during the year and Bernie had repaired so that it in turn could be a usable product for someone to buy. Bernie was so excited when he learned he was going to be a Grandpa and could always share some news about Van & Risa as they were growing up. One summer I looked out to see Bernie and Georgia running around the yard with the grandkids, having a scavenger hunt and having so much fun. Just a couple of weeks ago I had called and was talking to Georgia and Bernie got on the phone, we had such a nice conversation, my last visit with him. We will miss him dearly.

  7. I have heard much about Trina’s dad, but not met him. So it was wonderful to read about his life. My message is one of support to Trina and her mom in this transition time. I am thinking about you. Love, Linda

  8. We were so sad to hear about the passing of Great Uncle Bernie but so blessed to have been able to see him in the summer of 2008 and introduce our son to him and the rest of the family in Glenwood Springs. Some of my (Brian’s) best memories of Bernie included trips to Colorado with plenty of Ginger Snaps and fun with practical jokes. I can’t see a pack of Ginger Snaps in the store without thinking of him. I loved going to the Glenwood Springs pool and would brag to my friends about my great aunt and uncle who lived in Colorado.

    I (Amy) only had the opportunity of visiting with Georgia and Bernie on two occasions but feel like I’ve known them for years because of how Brian would talk of them and his time spent with them. Anyone that had the privilege to meet Bernie would be quickly drawn to his quick wit and contagious smile. He will truly be missed.

    Our thoughts, prayers, and love to all,
    Brian, Amy & Evan McCall

  9. We’ll always cherish those “chance” meetings when Bernie and Georgia were out walking in West Glenwood. Bernie’s vast array of interests and knowledge were only surpassed by his great sense of humor. We would also be amazed each year when we would receive your Christmas letter and read about your incredible adventures. Please know that in this time of loss our thoughts and prayers are with your entire family.
    Mike and Chip

  10. 1958- I think.The first trip we made to Colorado was the year Pat McGraner was 7 years old. We took a 2 week vacation, Went in our new Rambler and CAMPED OUT, on the way, eating in parks etc.We had such a great time. Our experiences that time had us all wishing we were living there. This was due partly because Bernard and Georgia were such good hosts. All of my Family has spent a lot of time living and visiting Colorado. We always had such a good time. I am so sorry I could not make it but the years have taken a toll on me also. Had it been summertime I might well have tried it. I can’t take the chance of falling again. I know Georgia and Trina will understand. Dennis saw him just a few days before his death and Debbie is on her way to Colorado or is already there. She, Karen and Diana will drive over this weekend.