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. Trina and I became good friends in High School. I loved to go over to her house and visit with her mother and father. As teachers, the conversations were often very different from my home, especially if Bernie was agitated about a certain subject. I always got a inner giggle when he would ask me something about the subject that I knew nothing about. After expounding on my wild opinion about it to him, he would always give me a look that said to me “Where in the world did she come up with that?”
    Needless to say, often I thought Georgia and Bernie would forbid Trina from every seeing me again. Maybe they caught on to me, and wrote it off as, “Oh, that’s just Grace, I wonder what she will be like when she grows up?”
    To Bernie (and Georgia), Thank you for all of the lovely minutes I was able to spend with you and your family.
    I pray God will comfort you and help you get through Bernie’s death. Please let me be of any help I can.

    Sincerely loving you,
    Grace Love

  2. Dear Bernie, I did not know you long, but I always enjoyed your company at numerous friendly gatherings. Easy to talk to and interesting to listen to, you were a treasure that I will not soon forget. I trust your spirit is out there somewhere discovering, searching and teaching.
    Yours truly, Charlie

  3. We ( Allen and I), have many special memories of Bernie. It’s hard to pick just one.When Allen was stationed at Camp Hale, Co. near Leadville, I stayed with Bernie and Georgia. This was in 1954. Allen would come “down” on week ends.We had many fun times. They lived in a couple of different places during this time.One of the projects we worked on was building an out door B.B,Q grill on a empty lot they planned to build a home on.We carried bricks and rocks up this steep hill.It was fun and also lots of work, We were all proud of it and was pleased to be a part of building it…Then for what ever reason I never knew or else forgot. They sold that lot and bought an other house already built..One more rememberance.It was Thanksgiving dinner at my parents home. Probably in the late 1950s. Was a big dinner,lots of food lots of work and lots and lots of dirty dishes.(no dishwashers back then) .Bernie bless him announced after nice the dinner was and that all the women should just relax and the guys would clean up.. Well all us girls thought that was so great.. But some or I think all of the guys were pretty upset So they never let Bernie forget that and he never made the offer again, I still think that was sweet of him. We are very sad for the loss and void it will be for Georgia and her family.We send our love and pray for comfort and peace Love to all Allen and Lois

  4. Good times, fun times, and special times: So many many memories which are really great. The Taylors back in Ohio
    all hold special feelings for Bernie and Georgia, too. We always looked forward to our trips to Colorado and their trips to Ohio.
    “Good times” …Bernie’s stories and jokes. “Fun times” … 60th Anniversary Dinner at Redstone with Trina, Bruce, Van, Risa, Bob and Eileen and then the trip on to Portal, AZ where we hiked and bird watched. “Special times” … surprise 50th Anniversary Dinner in Old Town, Albuquerque, NM. Trips and rides around Ohio which included Steubenville to see wall paintings and searching for family ties in old cemetaries, then back home for some of Bernie’s favorite lemon meringue pie. We all feel so very fortunate to have had Bernie
    bring so many special times and memories into our lives.
    Love and sympathy go out to Georgia, Trina, Bruce, Van and Risa.

  5. To say that Uncle Bernie is a rare bird with so much to offer anyone; (or even more so to anyone who thinks ‘outside the box.’) is an understatement.

    God is probably bugging him for an autograph! :0)

    I am so fortunate to have had an in depth conversation with him just a few years ago while he was still here on this earth.
    We discussed religion,philosophy, and the best advice he gave me which was to find myself a good woman to take care of me (which I have not done!!) ..And which He did exceptionally well with my Aunt Georgia!

    All of my love, and regards to all. We will see Uncle Bernie again!! LOVE!!!!!

    -Bobby McGraner

  6. I have always been an ardent admirer of my Great Uncle Bernie, though I was always careful not to let on and have that fact go to his head, setting me up for a good ribbing in the process. Though I never actually said it, he knew, from the questions I asked him that he had my respect and love. As with any good mentor his answers to my questions were usually, infuriatingly in the form of the question I “should” have asked or the question I needed to ask next in order to achieve enlightenment! I learned from Uncle Bernie at an early age that answers given are fleeting, answers arrived at through asking yourself the right questions are learned.

    The older I became, the more my brief and altogether too infrequent visits with Bernie meant to me as I had come to the realization of who I was dealing with. A singular wit, quick with a pun or appreciation of one, a towering intellect who never failed to impress me with the depth and scope of his knowledge and experiences.

    All of this is good and fine, but when I think of Uncle Bernie, I often think of his flying squirrel habitat in the basement of the house in Glenwood and sitting for hours waiting for the critters to move. I remember him besting me at water fights in the Hot Springs pool and later mimicking his technique to best my siblings and cousins. Fierce croquet matches and never winning one. Also, I have him to thank for my longtime childhood fear of the Flying Monkeys in the Wizard of Oz…but that’s another story!

    I love you Unvle Bernie!

  7. Our friendship with Georgia & Bernie began in 1978 after we bought our place in Peach Valley near New Castle. They had been friends with the previous owners and had purchased eggs from them. One day Georgia & Bernie drove up our driveway, introduced themselves, and asked if we had any eggs. Since the Araucana chickens came with the place, we said, ” sure”, and the tradition has continued ever since.
    We have spent many memorable times with them, including Christmas dessert extravaganzas and summer brunches. Since Trina & Bruce moved to town with their two kids who are close to our son’s age, it has been that much more fun. In the past few years, we’ve also shared Thanksgiving with the whole family.
    We send our condolences to you all – Georgia, Trina, Bruce, Van, & Risa. Bernie, ever so young at heart, the consummate game master, story teller, poem reciter, host, and friend will be truly missed by the Stapletons.

  8. My grandfather, Bernie, has been one of the biggest and best parts of my life since the day I was born.

    When I was littler, he always kept me entertained in numerous ways, whether it was beating me at chess, teaching me how to use different tools, drawing pictures with me on the cards he always carried around in his pockets, or tricking me into looking away while he stole my food. I remember the first time I beat him at chess. We were out camping, and he and I were in the camper playing, and I remember running out to tell everyone that I had just beat him in chess. I knew I had actually won, because he never would let me win. He’d probably beaten me 100 times before that.

    He told so many stories, many of them multiple times, but one that always sticks with me is a story about how one time he flicked a bug into a fire when his dad was watching, and his dad scolded him for killing the bug meaninglessly. It seems like such a small thing, but I refer to that story all the time when weighing morals of decisions.

    I’m glad that I got to live so close by to him in the last 12 years of my life, ever since we moved from Albuquerque to Glenwood. I’ve learned so many things from him… including a large number of bad, yet, given the right occasion, extremely funny jokes. I’ve always been impressed with his incredible ingenuity and creativity when it comes to his inventions and contraptions. Sometimes I’m surprised how often I find myself thinking about what he would do in a problematic situation, or how often I tell a joke that reminds me of him. I’ve certainly been influenced by him in many ways.

    Every time I hear a pun, I think of him. I don’t think that will ever change for as long as I live. I don’t think he ever missed an opportunity to make a joke off a pun. Ever. He even found ways to make a pun out of something if there wasn’t an opportunity to make one.

    I’m grateful to have had such an incredible grandfather as Bernie. He’ll always be one of my biggest heroes for his creativity and genuine personality, and for being such a great mentor and friend to me. I could write an extraordinarily long book on the memories I have of him and the things he taught me. I will always love and miss him.


  9. I am remembering when Georgia and Bernie would come to Michigan for a week or two our family would get together and it was so much fun!
    I remember one year back in 1948 Georgia and Bernie Dick and I went on a trip in Michigan a cross the Mackinaw Bridge and to the Tahquamenon Falls. One of us said let’s walk across the river at the top of the falls, so we did. When we reached the other side we saw a sign that said \Danger Do Not Cross\. OOPS! We had to get back. It was scary but we had fun.
    Our Love and prayers are with you. Dick and Doris

  10. Growing up in Southern Ohio we were accustomed to travel by automobile due to our bi-annual trips to Michigan to visit Mom’s family. I dreaded nothing more than the thought of another 10 hours in the family car as we made our journey North. So you may be able to understand my anguish when it was announced that we were traveling to Colorado to visit Uncle Bernie and Aunt Georgia. The journey I was informed would require not one but three days travel. Upon arriving in CO I found the trip not only worth while but extremely rewarding. Made so by the people we were visiting. When it was announced a couple of years later that we would be moving and leaving my childhood friends and the only life I had known for the 12 short years of it my only solace was knowing that where we were going Uncle Bernie was going to be there.

    Obviously it affected my siblings in a similar manner as the stories they have chosen to tell are based on our time in Green Mountains Falls. It seems to be a common theme to speak of the rare occasions anyone had the opportunity to best Bernie. So with that in mind I will relate the one occasion I can recall for an “I told you so” story.

    The cabin we were living in behind the Terrace Motel was owned by the Haines family and as such they were responsible for repairs/maintenance to the septic system that decided in act up. Now you must keep in mind that this is in the Colorado Rockies, in January, at an altitude of some 7800 ft. ( don’t be too impressed I had to google it to get the altitude.) My father informed Bernie that he felt attempting to dig down to the clean out would be an exercise in futility. Undaunted, Bernie, with the assistance of my dad’s brother Richard (who just happened to be visiting) built and vigantly maintained a roaring bonfire for several hours over the spot to thaw and of course render it soft enough to be dug up easily. After an appropriate amount of time the fire was cleared away and my Uncle Richard took a huge swing with the pick axe only to have it bounce back at him in a shower of metal to rock sparks. After a few minutes of this kind of effort they had managed to scratch out a hole about the size of a cereal bowl. I will never forget the look on Bernie’s face as he looked at my father standing at the window, coffee in hand, and grinning from ear to ear.

    Thanks for everything Bernie

    Your loving nephew,