In Memoriam – Florence Haas

LEEDS – Florence (Pludwin) “Flossie” Haas, 83, of Leeds, died peacefully Tuesday, July 9, 2013, in her home, holding her husband’s hand. She spent her last days surrounded by loving family and friends, laughing, sharing stories and eating strawberry rhubarb pie.


She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Rachel and Sol Pludwin, who immigrated from Russia and Poland, respectively.


She spent her childhood in the neighborhood of East New York, was the eldest of three, and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School class of 1947.


Almost every Sunday between 1935 and 1940, Florence went to the 2nd Street movie theaters with her father. The tears and laughter, music and dance, captivated her senses and brought her back again and again. Yiddish flowed through Florence’s world as her grandparents and aunts, as well as her father communicated in their native tongue.

Florence had a tight group of friends and cousins with whom she’d ride horses in Prospect Park, go to dances in the Catskills and attend Frank Sinatra concerts in Manhattan.


She met her husband Walter, of 61 years, while walking along the 30th Street boardwalk at the Rockaways in New York. With no money to his name, Walter would take Florence to the city courthouse on dates, which they would often laugh about later. The two lived together in Plainfield, N.J., where they raised their two children, Heidi and Scott, and two dogs.


Florence spent her time volunteering in her children’s schools, working on political campaigns, and was active in the Jewish community. She played bridge and mahjong every week.


After her children left for college, Florence worked as a travel agent and she and her husband traveled all over the world. Jamaica and Israel were her favorite places to visit.


She’d make friends wherever she’d go, whether on a cruise ship or at the bank teller’s counter. Her joy for life was palpable.


Florence and her husband moved to Leeds in 1996 to be closer to their daughter and her family, and as a result became very much involved in the local community. For 16 years she volunteered once a week at the Northampton Survival Center, continued her involvement with the local Hadassah chapter and had the pleasure of chaperoning her granddaughters’ class trips and attending all of their theatrical performances.


She gave of herself completely, always more interested in other people’s lives than worrying about her own. Her deep caring and love was felt by many. Florence was famous for her lipstick kisses, lemon bars and burnt toast. She knew how to laugh, how to scold, and how to live fully as herself.


She will be dearly missed by her husband Walter A. Haas, her children Scott Haas and his wife Laura of Cambridge and Heidi Haas and her husband Fred Hooven of Northampton, her younger sister Marilyn Inkles of Long Island, N.Y. and younger brother Howard Pludwin and his wife Shelli of Brooklyn, N.Y. She also leaves her grandchildren Molly and Abigail Haas-Hooven and Nick and Madeline Haas as well as many wonderful cousins, nieces, nephews and close friends.


A service was held July 15, officiated by Rabbi Riqi Kosovske with the burial at the Great Barrington Town Cemetery.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Northampton Survival Center, 265 Prospect St., Northampton, MA 01060 and Hadassah, W. 58th St., P.O. Box 745, New York, NY 10101.


Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on July 16, 2013