Featured in the Pensacola News Journal on Monday, April 5, 2004:
Sean Smith @ PensacolaNewsJournal.com
His grandchildren called Fred Haushalter "Poppy," a gentle, loving man at the center of a close-knit family.
But it was his unwavering integrity and belief in doing the right thing that touched the lives of so many people, friends and family said.
Mr. Haushalter spent more than 30 years as an educator in Escambia County, retiring as principal from Woodham High School in the 1980s. During his career, he was a strong advocate for education, never shying away from battles with the school district and the government when he believed he was doing the right thing. He died March 17. He was 75.
His daughter, Sherrie Mitchell, executive director of Pensacola Opera, retrieved a massive leather-bound scrapbook from Escambia Education Association that held news clippings from her father's fight for school supplies and better pay for teachers.
When he was principal at A.V. Clubbs Junior High School and president of Escambia Education Association, he led a countywide walkout in 1968, part of a statewide effort. He later lost an election bid for superintendent of schools and went on to serve as director of the education association.
"He was outspoken and honest, which doesn't work too well in politics," Mitchell said. "But he would say, `Every morning I look in the mirror to shave, and when I look at that face it has to be someone I like.'
"Integrity is something that meant a great deal to him."
Fred and Jean'ne Haushalter were married for more than 53 years. They met while he played football for the University of Alabama from 1946 to 1949. He taught at Brentwood Middle School for several years and became principal at A.V. Clubbs. He was known for being stern, but kind. At Woodham, he would stand in the cafeteria with a pocketful of dollar bills, handing out to students who forgot their lunch money.
"He left some big tracks that will be awfully hard to fill. He was a super individual - integrity without question," said childhood friend E.W. Hopkins, now a Realtor with John S. Carr and Company. "He was a very strong advocate of the educational system, and a wonderful example for students."
Michelle Nelson, Fred Haushalter's oldest daughter, said they have received letters from former students he inspired. During retirement, he turned to supporting his church and volunteer efforts, creating gifts of wooden angels and crosses.
Corbett Davis III, 27, often took his grandfather fishing on the bay, where the elder Haushalter passed along life lessons.
"Seeing him light up like he did when I was young was so special," Davis said. "He had a presence about him that made you feel comfortable. He taught us about being a good person and how important relationships are with people around you. We have a large family, and he was the center of it."
George Frederick Haushalter Jr.
Born: Sept. 6, 1928.
Died: March 17, 2004.
Remembered as: Also known as "Big Red," Mr. Haushalter worked in Escambia County schools from 1950 to 1968, and from 1977 to 1988, when he retired as principal at Woodham High School. He served as director of Escambia Education Association from 1968 to 1977.
"He did what
he thought was right (regardless) of the consequences," said his
oldest daughter, Michelle Nelson. "Some people believe you have
to be a team player at all costs, and he believed in doing what was
right - even if it meant stepping out on a limb."