Gretchen Ann Haase
(July 1, 1941 – August 23, 2016)
Gretchen Ann Haase, age 75, a longtime resident of Portales, New Mexico, passed away on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 in Albuquerque, NM, surrounded by her family. Gretchen was born on July 1, 1941 in Crestone, Iowa and spent her childhood and teen years on Farmington, NM with her brother Peter and parents, Don and Helen Jungbluth Welsh. Her dad and mom purchased a Ben Franklin Store, known as Friendly Bennys, where she and her brother worked at the store while in High School. Gretchen loved horses, socializing and was a very talented swimmer. In high school, she was involved in Student Council and was known as a bit of a “class clown” and a practical joker, forming lifetime friendships with classmates. After graduating from Farmington High School, Gretchen attended the University of New Mexico. In 1962, she married and moved to Portales where she began her full time job as a devoted mother and wife. She was recognized as Mother of the Year in 1974, by the American Mothers Committee and again Woman of the Year in 1975. She was baptized at Central Christian Church, was active in the community and worked tirelessly for the American Cancer Society. Gretchen also established the Don C. Westfall Memorial Fund which raised money for cancer patients; she was highly involved in charitable fundraising and public education for cancer awareness. Gretchen enjoyed working with children and was the Director-Owner of Portales Preschool from 1978 through 2003. She was active with friends, family and volunteering throughout her life. Gretchen consistently gave gifts anonymously. She loved cooking for her friends, collecting books, music, travel, photography, as well as collecting and selling antiques.
Gretchen had a true gift for getting autographs from such people as Jimmy Stewart, Richard Bach, Chuck Yeager, Anne Rice, Bill Walton and Ronald Reagan.Gretchen was well known in the community for cooking for friends, in later years, for working with the elderly and taking care of people in need and animals. She will be fondly remembered by her family and friends for so many reasons, mostly her love, community outreach and generosity. Gretchen was preceded in death by her ex-husband, Tex Haase of Tucumcari, New Mexico and by her parents, Don and Helen Welsh of Pocatello, Idaho. She is survived by her three children, Scooter Haase and wife Deb of Lancaster, PA, Robin Billmaier and husband Mike of Albuquerque, New Mexico and Donald “Don” Haase and wife Kenna of Denver, CO; brother, Peter Welsh of Pocatello, Idaho; grandchildren, Dan, Justin and Haley Faith and great grandchildren. Memorial Services will be held at Central Christian Church on South Main Street in Portales, New Mexico, on Friday, August 26, 2016 at 10:00 am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Central Christian Church, 1528 S Main, Portales, NM 88130, to the Portales Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 695 Portales, NM 88130, or the Salvation Army of Farmington, NM., 319 W Broadway Farmington, New Mexico 87401. Arrangements by Direct Funeral Services, 2919 4th ST. NW. ABQ. 505-343-8008