Exit stage left… The world lost its most famous aspiring actress when Myrtle Jane Wingo Haas decided her best role was that of a mother. It was the performance of a lifetime as noted by her family and friends. Better than “Cats,” some may say. Her final scene was Monday, June 14th.
We could list off all her life’s accomplishments, but nothing was more important to Myrt than being a great mother and a caring friend.
Family was always very important to Myrt. She met Mike Haas when they were in college at the University of Southern Mississippi. After he graduated from law school, the two were married. Myrt was preceded in death by her husband, her mother, Myrtle Roberts Wingo, a self-proclaimed flapper, and her father, a well known and respected Mississippi criminal defense attorney, Earl Wingo. Growing up, she was reared Baptist and was active in her church, singing all over Hattiesburg at various Baptist Churches at a young age with her little sister, Patricia Wingo Spencer, also now deceased. She became a very involved and enthusiastic member of the Catholic faith in the early 60s when she converted to Catholicism.
She was loved by all as being inclusive and warm. People just wanted to be around her, and they always left her visits feeling better. Her energy was infectious, and she was a difference maker.
She has spent a lifetime in service to activities that involve faith, family, and community. As a young mother, she volunteered for the scouting program, taught CCD, was President of the local Chapter of the Jaycee’s as well as Vice President of the State Jaycee’s, President of the Our Lady of the Gulf (OLG) Altar Society, OLG PTA, started a vacation Bible School for OLG and acted as the music program director, was involved with the OLG Choir, Junior Auxiliary, a number of Bible Study Groups, the Bay St. Louis Little Theatre and more. Together, she and Mike were among the founders of Our Lady Academy. In 2009, OLA honored her for her many contributions to the school.
Myrt created a fun, loving, supportive, and happy home centered on faith and family values. As a performer, her home was always filled with music. She was an artist through and through and loved everything creative -- from writing and composing the Our Lady Academy Alma Mater in 1985, to painting fancy designs of her original artwork on anything that wasn’t moving. Her poetry and hand-written letters were treasured by all. Myrt made life fun for herself and anyone who was blessed to be around her. She had an “open door policy,” and everyone knew that the door was always open at the Haas house - our home was your home. Generations of kids know the drill - at any time they could walk in and receive friendship, a good home cooked meal, a place to crash or just a good old-fashioned shoulder to cry on. Whatever your need, Myrt was there!
This obituary would not be complete without mentioning the only regret Myrt had in life…she was robbed of being a high school cheerleader! It was a blessing though as she spent her entire life thereafter proving what a great cheerleader she was – all to our benefit!
Myrt was unwavering in her belief that it is our responsibility to be kind to others. She always encouraged her family to be aware of those who may be in need or hurting, and to go out of our way to befriend them, as she always did. She was admired for her kind and loving heart and was a mentor to many in her faith.
Myrt had the most amazing circle of family and friends that have lasted a lifetime – her Hattiesburg crew and her local “Steel Magnolias,” as well as the “Ballentine babes,” have all seen each other through many a good and tough time. One of the best friends she brought into our lives was Eloise Thomas, may she rest in peace!
Myrt loved her community of Bay St. Louis and was a big promoter of local businesses-- a one woman Chamber of Commerce. One of her favorite moments is when the Krewe of the Mystic Seahorse honored her as Grand Marshall.
Myrt is survived by many friends, nieces, nephews, cousins, and her children: Tish (George) Haas Williams, Michael (Barbie) Haas Jr., Stephan Haas, Jennifer (Chuck) Jung, Liz Haas Gardner, and Laura Haas Knox. Her grands were especially important to her, and she was often quoted as saying “They are the children I should have had”. They include: Caroline Haas, Sarah Haas, Michael Haas III, Georgia Williams, Tricia Williams, Jake Gardner, Austin Gardner, Christopher Jung, Jane Wingo Knox, and Henry Knox. Also included were her lifelong BFF’s grandchildren (Toni Larroux) Charlie and Helen Hoffmann.
Edmond Fahey Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. On Friday, June 18, visitation will be at Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church from 11am – 1pm, followed by Mass and a Christian Burial. A reception will follow at the family home. She lived her life under the principle of helping those less fortunate and seeing the good in all people. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to her favorite charities – the Hancock County Food Pantry, the Hancock County Library or Our Lady Academy.