Eric Haight
Eric Haight

Obituary of Eric John Charles Haight

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Eric John Charles Haight was born in Seattle, September 23, 1937, and raised by wonderful adoptive parents Reg and Clita Haight on their 40 acres farm atop Prune Hill in Camas, Washington. The farm was aptly named “Panavista” for its 360 degree sweeping views of the whole region, including Mt. Hood, Mt. Saint Helens, even Mt. Rainier to the far north and the 3 Sisters to the south on the clearest of days. Eric was always of good humor with a healthy portion of mischief mixed in, as told by one of his favorite teachers, Dorothy Fox, in several report cards. From an early age, he loved to play pranks, starting with his best friend on the neighboring farm, John Hancock. They began experimenting with black powder at 10 years old! Growing up at Panavista with a father who was an engineer and a “gentleman farmer” offered countless opportunities for Eric. He learned ingenuity and began developing the ability to build or fix anything he set his mind to. In the late 1940’s, his dad let him help build a 2-acre rain-fed irrigation pond he engineered. People didn’t believe it could be done, but Haight Reservoir still exists to this day. Eric participated in 4-H for many years, raising and showing his prize-winning steers. He also enjoyed raising chickens, and at one point, he raised 500 chicks for a local poultry operation. These early years were foundational in establishing his love for animals and farming. At Camas High School, he played in the band. His mother always hoped he’d share her love of the piano, but he chose the trumpet and got to first chair in the trumpet section. He played in his 1955 high school graduation ceremony in the brass quintette, along with lifelong friend, Dick Maybac, and competed for several years in the Southern Washington solo contest. He often spoke fondly of his pep band memories, especially the marching band that traveled to various sporting events around Oregon and Washington. In addition to music, he also developed his interest in chemistry during high school. The lab was a source of great fun to him and his prankster friends, providing endless opportunities for experimentation with reactions. He was particularly drawn to anything that would make a small (or large) boom! It is a marvel no one was ever seriously injured. Eric went two years in the engineering program at Oregon State College in Corvallis, but realized his passion lay in agriculture. So, he transferred to Washington State College, moved his major to agronomy, and developed a strong interest in soil science. He also joined the ROTC and enlisted in the Air Force Reserves. While at Washington State, he and Betty Ingersoll, also a student there and a Camas High graduate, started dating and then wed in the fall of 1959. Not long thereafter, they moved to a 160 acre farm on Mt. Pleasant, and began their married adventure together. Over the next 14 years, they raised hay and cattle, and had three children, Norman, Daniel, and Leanne Marie. They worked hard and also enjoyed fun times playing cards, going on road trips, and camping with dear friends, especially the Heacock's. They were also members of the Ptarmigan Mountain Climbing Club out of Vancouver, and Eric climbed various mountains multiple times, including Mt Rainier, Mt Shuksan, Mt. Hood, and others. His sons accompanied him on many summits over the years. In 1973, the marriage ended, and Eric began shifting his focus. He drove school bus in Skamania County and started bringing in more horses to the farm, ushering in the ‘dude ranch’ years by the 80’s. At its peak, the dude ranch got up to 70 horses and ponies. Eric and others led trail rides on the farm into canyons, both day and night rides, taught lessons, and shuttled the ponies into town for kid pony ring rides. He also loved to pack up the horses and people and take them up to the mountains to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Tak-a-Lak Lake at Mt. Adams and Blue Lake in the Gifford Pinchot. In addition to a good trail ride or mountain climb, Eric always loved early morning coffee shop visits. Most mornings, he met up with his friends to drink coffee and tell stories, first at Neder's, and then Roxy’s. After that, they all met up at Joe’s Restaurant where a fiery waitress named Millie caught his eye. They hit it off with friendly banter, began dating, and married in January 1990. Millie’s daughter, Jolli Ann, and then husband Harvey, spent a fair amount of time visiting at the farm. Harvey did the work of two people with a raucous sense of humor like Eric’s. Over the next many years on the farm, the two enjoyed working hard together while having lots of laughs. In 2007, Eric received a letter that his birth mother, Edith (Sundt) Newquist, wanted to make contact with him. She was 90 and he was 70, and it took some encouragement from his kids for him to reach back to her. But, he did and they forged a strong and beautiful bond. Eventually, she sold her place in Seattle and spent her final years sharing a house with Eric on the Columbia River in Washougal. They both loved gardening, growing flowers, and the company of friends who often came by for stories and a fun drink- coffee early in the day, or a good cocktail or glass of wine as the sun would set. Edith passed in late 2019, and for the last couple of years, Eric continued with this gardening. He enjoyed offering a free produce table for neighbors and taking his walks along the Columbia River. Eric passed unexpectedly on February 4, 2022. He is preceded in death by his adoptive parents Reginald and Clita (Walden) Haight, his birth mother, Edith (Sundt) Newquist, his adoptive sister Margaret, and his wife, Millie. He is survived by his three children Norman (Mary Todd) Haight, Daniel Haight, and Leanne Marie Haight, his grandchildren Ethan Lloyd Wiley Haight, and Mara Wren Haight, and nephews Brent Hummel, Bruce (Naoko) Hummel, Kevin (Shellie) Hummel, and their children. A Memorial Service will be held on March 12, 2022. A Celebration of Life will be held by Norman R. Haight at 740 S. "A" Street in Washougal, Washington on Saturday, March 12, 2022 at 1 pm. Donations in his name may be made to the non-profit Musicians of Stevenson and Skamania County, earmarked for the Stevenson Community Garden.
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Saturday
12
March

Celebration of Life

1:00 pm
Saturday, March 12, 2022
Norman R Haight
740 S. "A" Street
Washougal, Washington, United States
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