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Passings

Skeeter Johnston

In April we were stunned by the tragic loss of Skeeter Johnston, son of Hall of Fame member and Board Director S. K. "Skey" Johnston, Jr. The result of a freak accident during a practice match preparing for the U. S. Open, it is a blunt reminder of the inherent danger of our sport and has shocked and saddened the polo community. In spite of the demands on his time imposed by his corporate career Skeeter was a very successful player and patron. His most notable wins were the USPA Gold Cup, the Cartier International Open and the Museum's own Hall of Fame Cup in both 2001 and 2003. Skeeter has been a driving force in polo, passionately pursuing new ways of promoting polo, recently partnering in the launching of the new concept, the North American Polo League.

S. K. Johnston, III was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on January 8, 1954 and received his education at Bright School, Baylor School and Eckerd College. He went on to a successful business career with the family business, Coca-Cola and he also was the chairman of Krystal Company, another of the family businesses. He was also on the USPA Board of Governors at the time of his death, demonstrating leadership both on and off the polo field. But Skeeter Johnston will be remembered most for his commitment to family, his integrity, and his devotion to the game of polo. He will be sorely missed.

Patricia G. Corey

We sadly acknowledge the passing of a treasured member of one of our great polo families in January. Patricia Grace Corey, a truly great and gracious lady, was the matriarch of the famed Corey family. She was the wife of Alan Corey, Jr. who was inducted onto the Hall of Fame in 1992 and the mother of our Board member Russell G. Corey, his brother Alan Corey, III and sister Patricia Corey Montgomerie. In her support of her family's well documented polo adventures she was probably as worthy of an award as was her husband. Her influence was much broader in scope that the polo world, but her stamp of integrity and tradition will be long remembered by not only those in our sport but also by everyone else whose lives she touched. A page in the story of polo has turned - she will be missed.

George Haas Remembered

Last year we also lost a Hall of Famer and long time Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame Board Director George C. Haas, Jr.

He slipped away quietly on June 12, 2006 at his home in Lake Worth, FL at the age of 85. A longtime resident of Lake Worth, FL, George was born September 10, 1920 in New York City, the son of George C. and Clara S, Haas of Mount Kisco, New York.

As a young man George attended Brooks school and later graduated from Yale University in 1942 where he began playing polo winning his first trophy at Yale in 1938. He then joined the U.S. Army and, serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 6th Armored Division as a forward observer, was shot down, captured and held in a German field prison until he and a fellow officer escaped, in daring fashion six months later. His amazing story was recalled in a biographical book he wrote about the ordeal called "Against All Odds". George was awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart and Air Medal, and later honored by the government of the Channel Island of Jersey at the 50th Anniversary of the end of WWII.

After the war, Mr. Haas was first employed by Coca Cola Company, the Pepsi-Cola (now Pepsico), in Industrial sales. In 1960, he founded Haas Financial Corporation in New York City, specializing in beverage industry mergers and acquisitions as well as commercial aviation leases.

George was an avid and longtime polo player, playing for over 62 years, having competed and won numerous club and high-goal tournaments including the East Coast Open three times, the Monty Waterbury three times and the Arena Sherman Memorial.

But most importantly, he also gave of himself in service to the sport he loved so dearly. In addition to serving many years on the Board of the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, George also served as a long-term Governor of the U.S. Polo Association's Northeast Circuit, Chairman of the Polo Training Foundation, Chairman of the USPA's Safety and International Committees, was on the Executive Committee of the Federation of International Polo, and inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame in 2002. He was a past president of the Gulfstream Club and was always unselfishly ready to assist any worthy polo cause. Among Haas' proudest achievements, he felt, were his work in developing a new and improved safety helmet as well as his work on behalf of the United States with the FIP.

 

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