Donald Richard Haaker, 80, born June 2, 1940 son of Carl E Haaker and Jeanne LaRochelle Haaker of Fitchburg, MA, son, brother, father, grandfather, and great grandfather passed away on Sunday, June 7, 2020 at Saint Luke's Hospital in New Bedford, MA. Don, as he was affectionately referred to by friends, and Dad or Grandpa by family, was a proud veteran, avid fisherman, former business owner, collector of “As Seen On TV” gadgets, and the handiest handyman. A jack-of-all-trades, Don always had multiple projects underway because of his rich knowledge of carpentry, plumbing, automotive, and electrical. There was no repair job or task too daunting for him, and he was always willing to come to the aid of family and friends. Two of his coolest creations were a tree house on stilts and a sturdy well-loved custom swing set he built for his children. He loved family holiday get-togethers and meals especially his daughter Cheryl’s prime rib and Jennifer’s roasted turkey and stuffing as well as her chilled summer coconut cake. He enjoyed making “Haaker snacks” with his son Bryan and daughter Erin. Don often entertained others with his vivid and entertaining stories. He was known for his sharp wit and ingenuity. Don was also an enthusiastic longtime ham radio operator - an interest that grew from his service days while he was stationed in Germany. He enjoyed connecting with and mentoring a community of fellow amateur operators locally and across the world, engaging in two-way communications on many different waves and frequencies socially or in times of emergency. A longtime member of the Barnstable Amatuer Radio Club (BARC), he maintained the 147045 Dennis Repeater, which was known for having the best signal on the Cape. A smart dresser, Don was a persuasive and successful salesman as well as a somewhat infamous flea market haggler. Most weekends Don could be found frequenting the market and ham radio fest circuit on the hunt for a great deal and excited about the possibility of turning a quick profit as a vendor. He could be found at the end of these events scarfing up left behind items remarking, “If it’s free it’s for me” and would successfully turn around and sell those items the next week. Ultimately, Don’s unique philosophy in life was to work hard, do your best, and not sweat the small stuff.
Predeceased by his first wife Barbara Richard Haaker and his second wife Caroline Peaslee Haaker, Don is survived by his four children and their families: Cheryl Gilmore [daughter] and Keith Gilmore [Son in Law] of Marston Mills, MA, Jennifer Bertrand [Daughter] and Shawn Bertand [Son in Law] of Mont Vernon, NH, Bryan Haaker [Son], Jenn Ramsey [Daughter in Law] and Veronica Payan [Lifetime Companion] of Weare, NH, and Erin Haaker of Omak, WA, ten grandchildren; Alexa Johnson, Anna Gilmore, Kyle Gilmore, Nathaniel Gilmore, Sydney Bertand, Chloe Bertrand, Avery Bertrand, Brady Bertrand, Forest Haaker, and Silas Haaker, one great grandchild; Augustus Bolinder with another on the way; Bellamy Bolinder expected in September. Don is also survived by his younger brother, David C Haaker [brother] and Linda Haaker [Sister in Law] of Baldwinville, MA and predeceased by his older brother Carl Haaker Jr. (Jim).
A celebration of Don’s life will be arranged later this year or next. A burial with military honors will take place at the Massachusetts National Cemetery, Connery Ave, Bourne, MA, on Thursday, July 2, 2020 at 12:45 PM. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. For directions or to leave the family an online condolence, please visit www.r-mfh.com. In Lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Barnstable Amatuer Radio Club (BARC) at P.O. Box 322 South Dennis, MA 02660 in memory of Donald Haaker, WA1CIA, formerly WA1AIC.
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Barnstable Amatuer Radio Club (BARC)
P.O. Box 322, P.O. Box 322 South Dennis MA 02660