Donor Spotlight: Christian B. and Agness A. Haas

Posted on June 3, 2019

Christian B. Haas and Agness A. Nicolai met in a church study group at University of Michigan in 1932.  Chris grew up on a farm in Ann Arbor township and graduated from U of M in 1935 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering.  Agness was the daughter of a Lutheran minister in Adrian, MI, and graduated from U of M in 1934 with a Sociology degree.  She worked as a Social Worker in Detroit for a year before marrying Chris in 1935, whereupon he accepted an Engineering position with the Ternstedt Division of General Motors in Trenton, New Jersey. 

Chris, having financed his education through ROTC, was a member of the US Army Reserves on the East Coast, whereupon he was called to active duty in 1941 with the US involvement in World War II.  He was eventually promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and served until the end of 1945.

In 1953, he became an entrepreneur starting Blue Water Plastics in St. Clair with one injection molding machine and three employees.  By the time the company was sold in 2001, it had grown to several manufacturing locations, over a hundred injection molding machines, and employed approximately 1400 people, a majority within St. Clair County.

Chris and Agness had two children before the war, Arthur and Linda, and two after the war, Carl and John.  All contributed to the growth of the family business.  When Chris and Arthur met un-timely deaths in 1979, Carl led the corporation for over twenty years and Linda’s husband, William Forster, and John were also instrumental in the growth and success of the company.  As a group they were able to build on the solid foundation of engineering and manufacturing expertise, and employee loyalty established by their father over the early years. 

Agness passed away in 2006 at the age of 95.  She and Chris were very strong supporters of education, so it was not surprising that she had ensured a large contribution for a Foundation Scholarship in her living trust. 

The Christian B. & Agness A. Haas Memorial Scholarship Fund began in 1995, receiving the bulk of its funding through the Agness’s estate years later. Students attending Grand Valley State University to Albion College, Michigan State, University of Michigan and Oakland University (just to name a few) have received support from the Haas Scholarship. Over $35,000 has been awarded over the years to support graduates of St. Clair High School and Marine City High School.

We’re proud to be able to carry on the legacy of Chris and Agness Haas through a commitment to education to their local community.

 

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