Andrew R. Haas

Andrew R. Haas

GUILDERLAND – Andrew R. Haas, 57, of Guilderland, passed away on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at the Albany Medical Center after being stricken with a brain aneurysm on Tuesday.  Andy was born in the Bronx, and spent two years in Europe as a child.  His father being employed by the federal government, the family moved to the Washington area and Andy was raised in Kings Park, Fairfax Co., VA.  As a kid he loved to put on movies and puppet shows for the neighborhood, and read on the front lawn on sunny days.  In high school Andy was a devout Catholic, but by college had become a rigorous skeptic.  This did not prevent him from becoming a dedicated practitioner of Buddhist Meditation.  He was a graduate of Yale University, and cherished his days there and the friends he made.  He was an adventurer who loved long hitch-hiking trips, ranging as far as Alaska or Yellowstone Park.  He earned a doctoral degree at the University of Rochester.  He was employed for seven years by BB&N Computer Research in Cambridge, MA, and then until his death as a Professor of Computer Science at the University at Albany.  His passion within Computer Science was the study of Artificial Intelligence.  He had a wide-ranging curiosity and savored books, ranging from Have Space Suit –Will Travel to The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Andrew is survived by his wife Jo-Ann Russo Haas; his daughter Katherine Eliza Haas of Manhattan, NY; his parents Mary Downey Haas of Westminster, MD, and Francis G. Haas of Springfield, VA; his brother Daniel J. Haas of Copake, NY; his sister Jeanne Marie Butterworth (Stewart) of Upperco, MD; and by many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Andy loved and was devoted to his wife, daughter, family, and friends.  He possessed a deep innocence and honesty — if he loved you, you knew it well.

Funeral services will be held in the Hans Funeral Home, 1088 Western Ave., Albany, Sunday afternoon at 4p.m.  Relatives and friends are invited, and may call at the funeral home on Sunday after 2p.m.  The family suggests memorial contributions to the Shambhala Meditation Center of Albany, 747 Madison Ave., Albany, NY 12208.  To leave a message of condolence for the family, send a sympathy card, or obtain directions to the funeral home, please visit

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Messages of Condolence

  1. Lenore Mullin says:

    Dear Joann and Katie,
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers are with you.
    I am glad I got to see and speak to Andy last week.
    With deepest condolences.

  2. Mariam Hopkins says:


    My deepest sympathy goes out to you and your family. You are in my thoughts and prayers.


  3. Christine Kirch says:

    Our love and sympathies to the Haas family. Andy was a very witty and fun person to be around, we will all miss him very much. Stay strong my dearest friend Jo-Ann, we all love you.

  4. Kristin Menegio says:

    Dear Jo-Ann,
    You are in my thoughts and prayers. My deepest sympathy to you and your daughter Katie. I have a candle lit this evening, praying for your strength & comfort at this difficult time.
    Love, Kristin

  5. A Former Student says:

    Professor Haas was a great teacher, someone who would happily walk with you across campus discussing any of his research, ideas, or just to talk. He will be fondly remember by all of his students, and will be missed.

  6. Susan May says:

    Dear Jo-Ann & Katie,

    Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Andy was truly a remarkably interesting man and kind soul—-we so enjoyed those times we were able to spend with the three of you many years ago. May all of those special memories sustain you, as well as the love and support of your family and friends.

    With our love and deepest sympathies,
    Sue, Tom, Linds & Brian

  7. Serdar Erbatur says:

    Dear Ms. Haas,
    I am very sorry to hear your loss. Dr. Haas was a great person that I will remember with good memories. I had a chance to meet him when I was a PhD student in Albany. I will pray for him. My condolences.

    Serdar Erbatur

  8. Deborah Giftos says:

    Jo Ann …… and Katie have been constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I am so truly sorry for the loss of your beloved husband and father.
    Love Debi

  9. Don Barthelmess says:

    Dear Jo-Ann & Katie- I am so sorry to hear this very sad news of Andy’s sudden passing.

    I hope the coming days bring you strength and comfort through the reflections of his life. I know he was a dedicated husband, father and teacher.

    His memory will live on through the two of you.

    God Bless you in these difficult times.



    Dear Joann & Katie, We are so very sorry that Andy has passed. We know JJ will have a great time with him. He was such a kind and good gentleman & we are sure your good memories will help you through the future. Our love & prayers to you. Aunt Dor & Uncle Cook

  11. Joanna Mazzone says:

    Dear Jo-Ann
    My deepest and sincere sympathy to both you and Katie. You are both in my thoughts and prayers.
    Love, Joanna

  12. Margery Lucas & Michael Septak says:

    Dear Jo-Ann and Katie,

    We were so very sorry to hear about Andy. He was such a wonderful guy. He knew how to enjoy life, to love his family and friends, and to spread warmth and cheer in any gathering. He will be sorely missed.
    Our hearts go out to you at this difficult time.

    Love, Margery and Michael

  13. Suzanne Vallillo says:

    Dear Jo-Ann and Katie,
    There are never the right words to say at a time like this. Although we aren’t there to help you at this difficult time, you will be in our prayers as we ask God to help guide you through the times ahead. We are so very sorry.

    Charlie, Suzanne, Molly, Emma and Maggie

  14. Bette Vallillo says:

    Joann and Katie
    We are so sorry for your loss but remember memories last forever. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Love Aunt Bette & Uncle Charlie

  15. Gary Cottrell says:

    Dear Joann and Katie,

    Andy was one of my best friends in graduate school. I will always remember the wonderful trips we had together. He was one of the few people I knew who could discourse on Copernicus at a moment’s notice, and who read the bible in Latin for fun. I will never forget the Hallowe’en party where this really straight guy in a suit and tie showed up, and we were wondering who he was until he started speaking – it was Andy, having shorn his locks and beard in preparation for going on the job market. He probably correctly deduced (using Natural Deduction, of course!) that most Universities would be reluctant to hire Rasputin.

    He was such a wonderful guy to just talk to; I will always regret that he decided not to come to the 25th anniversary of the computer science department at rochester – he was one of the people I was really looking forward to seeing there, and it was a great disappointment that he was not. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him and loved him. He will be in my heart forever.

    Gary Cottrell

  16. Ewa Musial (former student) says:

    Dear Ms. Haas,

    I would like to extend my sincerest condolences.
    Prof. Haas was a very kind teacher who was always willing to give his time and knowledge to help students. He was the first faculty member I have met when joining the computer science department.
    I am deeply saddened that we will not have him around us anymore.

  17. Lily Rowen says:

    To Katie and Jo-Ann,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your dad/husband was always so friendly and kind and I am so sorry that you two have to go through this. I am so sorry and please know that you are in my thoughts.


  18. Mary Capek says:

    Dear Jo-ann and Katie,

    We are very saddened to learn of Andy’s passing. Although no words of sympathy can ease the loss you bear. Still may you find some comfort in the thought that others care.

    Love, Gary,Mary,Christy & Caleigh Capek

  19. Peter Selfridge says:

    Jo-Anne and Katie,

    I knew him well in graduate school and loosely for a few years into the ’80s. He was responsible for getting me back into backpacking with a call to meet in the Berkshires – I haven’t stopped since.

    Haas was a wonderful man – fascinating intellect, warm smile, always ready for a late night. Logic was his passion, but people, music, and eclectic experiences were what he sought out.

    He was one of the few people I ever met who could say something like “Peace and love” and mean it, without being self-conscious. I will try to follow his example.

    Peter Selfridge

  20. Henry Kautz says:

    I was in graduate school with Andy, arriving at UR just as he was finishing up. Despite the short time, I have vivid memories of him, and was quite influenced by his thesis – I must have read it cover to cover three or four times. I didn’t know anything about Andy’s personal life. I’m glad to learn that it was so rich.

  21. Linda and Sharon says:

    Dear Jo-Ann We were so sad to hear about Andy.We can still remember the great time,all of us together so many years ago in Boston.Although miles may separate us,please know you will always be close to our hearts and in our thoughts and prayers. Love Linda and Sharon

  22. Richard Jones says:

    Dear Katie,

    Your father was my graduate advisor and friend. I met you a few times when you were 8 or 9.

    I just wanted you to know that I was never once around him when he didn’t mention you or bring you up somehow. It was as if half his mind was constantly occupied with what you were doing, the things you were learning, and the things he was learning from you. And he wanted everyone to know it. He was your biggest fan, and he was very proud of you.

    Please accept my sincerest condolences for your loss.

  23. Eric, Rose Ann and Rachel Knieling says:

    We are so sorry to hear of Andy’s passing so suddenly. We send our sincere condolences to JoAnn, Katie and the family. We will miss his presence as a good neighbor. Our deepest sympathy.

    Eric and Rose Ann Knieling
    636 Top Ridge Drive
    Albany, NY 12203

  24. Alan Frisch says:

    As a grad student at Rochester, I was Haas’ (he would be disappointed if I called him “Andy”) friend, colleague and office mate. Jo-Ann was also a friend of mine, and they met through me.

    There was never a dull minute with Haas around and like everyone else I can recall countless fun time. After 30+ years, I can still quote many quirky, hysterically funny things he said and vividly remember the inimitable way he made irreverence into an art form.

    Good times fade into distant memories, but what hasn’t faded are all the things I learned from Haas. He was a deep thinker with a bright, creative mind, and an excellent communicator. So, sharing an office with him was truly an educational experience from which I learned about diverse topics including atheism, effective writing, modal logic, and the interpretation of Steely Dan lyrics.

    We barely stayed in touch over the years, but I knew Hass well enough to know with certainty that his unique spirit never faded or waivered and that we have now lost someone special.

    Jo-Ann and Katie, I wish you peace in this very, vey difficult time.


  25. Doug Green says:

    My most heartfelt condolences, Jo-Ann and Katie. I’ve known Andy most of my life, and I was very glad to see him last June at the reunion. This is just heartbreaking. I can hear his booming voice urging me to “Carry on, Green.” I hope the good wishes coming from all of his many friends finds their way to you both, and help in a small way through this terrible time. I remember him with only fondness, friendship, and great times, and I’m so sorry that we have only memories to sustain us. My very best wishes to you both. He was unique.

  26. Ed Smith says:

    To the Haas family,

    Like a few others here, I too knew Andy in grad school. He enjoyed a terrific reputation as a brilliant abstract thinker who nevertheless was so proud when the code generator he wrote for our compiler project worked the first time we tried it. He had come to me many times during the work, asking careful questions about machine architecture and instruction sets, topics he was not familiar with, but that he mastered before he set to work. He was an absolute joy to work with.

    Andy was a truly enthusiastic and honest soul. I never heard him utter a cynical or pessimistic remark about anything. He believed in the best in all of us.

    Since leaving Rochester, I only saw him once, in his office in Albany, with my sister (who lives in Vermont). He happily babbled for our whole visit about the current start-of-the-art of AI, and who was doing what. He seemed to be a man who was truly in his element.

    He will be missed by many, my sympathies to you all,

    Ed Smith

  27. Mark Kahrs says:

    Jo-anne and Katie:

    Andy became my housemate in my third year at Rochester. When I lived in the apartment with him, I became used to his habits. For example, more than once, I came home to find him happily reading the bible in latin. He had a number of specific musical tastes: The Grateful Dead, Steely Dan and Bach organ works. He adored a recording I had of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor – preferably played loud.

    His diet was fairly simple: Meat. He had numerous broiled steaks. In fact, when I eventually moved out, I had to use a wire brush to remove as much of the hard carbon from the broiler pan. He also liked beer, not wine. In fact, he met Jo-ann when they went to a party and discovered they both liked to drink beer.

    One Halloween, Andy arrived clean shaven and dressed up in a suit. He proclaimed “Have you been saved?!?”. Since he didn’t look like that the day before, the effect was striking to all present.

    Andy left Rochester before I did and wandered through the academic life eventually settling at SUNY Albany. I didn’t know much about his life there except I knew he had a daughter Katie. I asked him if it was true he named her after the Steely Dan album and he said that no, she was really named after his grandmother … but that the Steely Dan connection was a bonus.

    But this summer, since I was driving right through Albany, I decided to look him up. As it turned out, it was most convenient to spend the night. The guest bedroom was filled with books on ancient history and astronomy. There were very few computer science books to be seen.

    Haas was a raconteur extraordinaire – I believe no one would dispute that one iota. He had a way of spilling out a story and finding a connection to a delightfully obscure fact. And he had stories to tell, either personal experience (like the time he hitch-hiked to Alaska over the summer) or an anecdote about a person or concept in Computer Science.

    But I vividly remember Haas from the last time I saw him this summer: We had invited him to visit us in the Berkshires where we were staying at a friend’s house. It was an absolutely glorious day, with low humidity and a view over the Hudson to the ‘gunks. Haas was delighted and we sat on the veranda and discussed Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science all the while viewing the shifting light.

    And that’s how I’ll remember him.

    Sincerest condolences from all of us.

  28. Diane Litman says:

    Dear Jo-Ann,

    I am so glad I was able to see Andy again this summer (and that Noah also got to meet the famous Haas earlier this year). It was like time had stood still, talking with Andy again about topics ranging from AI to philosophy and who knows what else! Andy was one of the more senior graduate students in my area by the time I showed up. I too remember the famous Halloween party when this mysterious preacher appeared, as well as the story about how you two met. Andy was Mark’s housemate by the time I arrived, and was very proud of the time he cleaned the bathroom so well (he mentioned it again this summer!). What struck me most from our recent conversations, however, was his incredible devotion and love for you and Katie.

    My thoughts to both of you – Diane Litman

  29. Theo Zemek says:

    I was greatly saddened by the news of Andy’s sudden and untimely end. He was an extraordinary, delightful man, full of surprises and full of joy and sparkle. I have known him since 1972 when we were at Yale together; in recent times, he has became a stalward and a star of the reunions. I loved plunging back into my youth and discussing all the crazy cerebral stuff – including the Decline and fall. No doubt he is up there, entertaining the Gods and teh Angles. They are lucky. xx Theo

  30. former student says:

    Jo-Ann and Katie,

    First, my heartfelt condolences go to Jo-Ann and Katie. Prof. Haas was my advisor at SUNY, Albany. I vivid memories taking two of his classes last Fall 2012. As my Professor and advisor we exchanged multiple emails and I went to his office hours multiple times. He was always kind and helpful. May God keep his family strong.

    former student

  31. Dore Jennings says:

    I just found out about Andy’s death through the University of Rochester alumni news. My sincere condolences to his family. Andy was my friend when I was at U of R….I still remember we became friends over a discussion of childrens book author Edward Eager. I remember Andy as being one of the few folks who were super intelligent yet still able to relate to everyone. He had a great sense of humor and a lot of friends.

    Peace and safe travels wherever you are, Andy.

  32. Joe LeBritton says:

    Andy was one of my very best friends when we were both grad students at Rochester. I was very saddened to see the notice of his passing in the new UofR alumni magazine. Andy had an unmatched enthusiasm for life and adventure. When I took a position a the University of Arizona, Andy hitch-hiked all the way to Tucson to visit. And his intellect was amazing – he could speak to any subject and blow us all away! So many great memories. Rest in peace my friend.

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