OWENSBORO, KY -- Jerry Harold Haase, who built the Canteen franchise here into a regional full-line powerhouses, is dead at 70.
A native of Indianapolis, IN, Haase joined Canteen Service Co. there in 1971 after returning from the military and gaining experience at route service and sales. Realizing that he had found his calling, he purchased a small Canteen franchise in Owensboro in 1976.
Over the next 30 years, Haase led a campaign of continual growth to expand Owensboro Canteen into a 480-employee operation serving clients across 40 counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois and Indiana, and maintaining branches in Bowling Green and Elizabethtown, KY, and Evansville and Vincennes, IL.
Active in industry and community affairs, Haase served as a chairman of the National Automatic Merchandising Association's annual convention and was honored by the Kentucky Automatic Merchandising Council with its President's Award. He also was president of the Kiwanis Club of Owensboro, board chairman of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce (and recipient of its Small Business Person of the Year Award in 1987), a member of the Owensboro National Bank's board of directors and two-time speculative building chairman of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp., as well as a participant in the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club, Leadership Owensboro and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
He is survived by his wife Jane, daughter Jamie Lee Kniffen, son Jerry Dean Haase, stepdaughter Kelsey Kirkpatrick Starks and four grandchildren.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club at 3415 Buckland Sq., the Owensboro Public Schools Foundation for Excellence, 1335 W. 11th St. (both at ZIP 42301) or Settle Memorial United Methodist Church, 201 E. 4th St., Owensboro, KY 42303.