Eugene Gene” J. Haas, 81, of Springfield at 7:07 am, Wednesday, November 1, 2023 at Springfield Memorial Hospital. He was born December 28, 1941 I Rice Lake, WI, the son of Louis and Mary (Rohlik) Haas. He married Joan Carter on June 25, 1967 in Fulton, KY. He was preceded in death by both parents, three brothers, Albert, Michael and William and one sister Mary Ann Haas.
Gene graduated from high school at Birchwood, WI in 1959, received his bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Wisconsin at River Falls in 1963, and a master’s degree in music theory and composition from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 1965.
He taught instrumental music in the New Berlin school district from 1965-1972, during which the concert band and jazz band won numerous awards.
He taught music at Lincoln Land Community College from 1972 until 2001 and retired with the title of Professor Emeritus.
He was a well-known musician having played with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, conducted shows in the early years of the Muni Opera, performed with grandstand shows at the State Fair, was bassist with the Fred Beck Quartet for Twenty Years, Riverboat 5 plus 1 Dixieland band for 30 years and was bassist with the Jane Hartman Trio.
He was conductor of the Springfield Municipal Band from 1978 through 2011 and led the band on a 10 day concert tour of Austria in 1990, performing in Vienna, Salzburg, and the American Music Festival in Graz. The municipal band won the Mayor’s Award for Arts Organization in 1998. He retired as conductor of the municipal band in 2011.
In addition to performing and conducting, he enjoyed arranging music, having done numerous arrangements for the Municipal Bank and several area college and high school bands.
He is survived by his wife Joan; son, David of Crystal Lake (wife, Jessica), grandchildren Ian, Maria and Julia and one sister, Rose Marie Baribeau of Rice Lake, WI.
Memorial Gathering: 5 – 7 pm, Wednesday, November 8, 2023 at Staab Funeral Home – Springfield.
Memorial Service: 7:00 pm, Wednesday, November 8, 2023 at Staab Funeral Home – Springfield with Pastor Rick Irwin officiating. A private burial will be held at Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Springfield Municipal Band or Lincoln Land Community College Music Department.
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