Obituary of Jacqueline Vera Haag
Jacqueline (Jackie) Vera Block was born on May 9, 1951, in Washington, D.C., the fourth child of Patricia and Leonard Block. The family moved frequently, leading young Jackie to become a fiercely independent child who didn’t shy away from fighting for what she believed was right.
From an early age, Jackie found herself in leadership positions. In grade school, she gave tours to new students around the school. She was also a student school safety guard, which paved the path for her later advocacy for safe crossings for children to get to school.
Jackie attended South Dakota State University, studying English and languages. While at SDSU, she met Gerry in the Karate Club. Jackie and Gerry started dating after a trip to attend the Days of 76 event in Spearfish, SD. Then, before Thanksgiving break, Gerry asked Jackie to marry him. He stumbled on the words enough that a bystander felt motivated to yell, “Just ask her already!”
Jackie and Gerry married on September 1, 1971, at the Newman Center in Brookings, South Dakota. They honeymooned in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. After college, Gerry and Jackie were stationed in Germany with the US Army for two years before returning to the United States and starting a family. Regardless of where she was, Jackie was a catalyst of community and often was the first to volunteer to bring events to life.
Jackie was always active. While in Germany, she and Gerry participated in Volksmarches almost every weekend, accumulating nearly 3,000km over the two years. They learned to ski in the Alps and traveled all over Europe. After the Army, Jackie played soccer (goalie) in a North Texas women’s rec league, even while pregnant with her third child. She regularly hiked and cycled and encouraged her children to lead active lives.
Jackie was an educator. While stationed in Germany, Jackie was an English GED program instructor for the soldiers. She taught the Lamaze Method for 16 years, believing firmly in women’s strength to give birth with minimal medical intervention. She provided private Lamaze classes for many couples, such as Marty Barrett, the second baseman for the Boston Red Socks, and his wife in her Holden, Massachusetts, home.
Jackie had an entrepreneurial spirit. She saw a need for reminders of ways to reduce discomfort during labor and commissioned a watercolor painting of infants that she superimposed with comfort suggestions. Jackie eventually sold over 10,000 copies, which could be seen in many hospitals around the US and Canada (including an episode of FRIENDS and an ER episode). She created the Colorado Springs Afghan, sold and gifted through the Colorado Springs Tourism Board. Her independent publishing company, Mother’s House Publishing, provided professional printing and binding to over 100 everyday authors. Her pinnacle published work was God Calls You By Name, the only RCIA textbook approved as the preferred textbook by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Jackie had a strong sense of justice. Her advocacy includes co-founding Joel’s Patrol, a Colorado Springs district-wide crossing guard program for children to have safe passage to school, and when the Keller Elementary School playground was in disrepair. She convinced the PTA to use parent volunteers to help build a new play space within a year. Jackie also championed individual justice: when one of her children’s peers was accused of cheating on an exam, Jackie fought the charge for the family. After a devastating fire, Jackie organized a penny drive for a family’s emergency medical bills.
Jackie was very active in her children’s lives. Her home often became a default hub for all the neighborhood kids, with endless supplies for arts and crafts, science experiments, and edutainment activities. She often joined mother’s groups to meet other moms and host playdates for the kids. Jackie allowed her kids to have many pets - rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, parakeets, fish, frogs, turtles, and geckos. She helped her kids participate in Girls Scouts, 4H and raised Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Jackie loved bringing people together, especially for her annual Fourth of July celebration. The family would fill 144 latex balloons with paper confetti and tie them to a string. The younger neighborhood kids came over to pop them with pushpins as a safe fireworks alternative (all the bang with none of the missing fingers). Her favorite thing was to cook for her family. For Thanksgiving dinner, she got up at 5 a.m. to get the extra large turkey in the oven so everyone could convene in the afternoon for a feast. No celebration was complete without her homemade potato salad and deviled eggs.
Jackie enjoyed gardening and often shared her bounty with neighbors, friends, and local food banks. Jackie also sewed many Halloween costumes, clothing, and blankets for her family.
Jackie cherished seven grandchildren, ranging in age from 8 to 25. She often watched the young grandkids while her kids worked and stocked her house with toys, crafts, and science experiments. She was so proud of their accomplishments as they grew older and always had current photos on hand to show others.
Jackie enjoyed being active in her church. She was on the environmental committee updating the church's look with the seasons. Jackie and Gerry were one of the early supporting families at St Patrick’s Catholic Church. She loved singing and joined the church choir at Divine Redeemer and Our Lady of the Pines.
In late 2015, Jackie closed her publishing business after being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. In 2016, Jackie and Gerry embarked on a six-week, 6,000-mile RV trailer road trip to visit her kids and grandkids in Texas and New York State to celebrate the end of her treatment.
Jackie then fulfilled a lifelong dream of attending law school at Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida. She fully immersed herself in the life of a law school student and was joyful when describing her significant workload. She left law school in her second semester due to health reasons, returning to Colorado.
She remained cancer-free until 2022. She experienced a series of significant health issues that ultimately led to her discovering recurrent metastatic breast cancer. With the love and support of her family, especially Gerry, she embraced the time she had left. She passed peacefully with Gerry and her daughters by her side on Saturday, September 16, 2023.
Jackie is survived by her life partner of 53 years, Gerry Haag; her daughters Laura (Peter) Kelly, Krista Ross, Julie (Andrew) Ryder, and Ashley Haag; her grandchildren: Parker, Conner, and Ava Kelly, Andrew and Benjamin Ross, and Emmy and Evelyn Ryder; her mother Patricia Block; her siblings John (Mary), Patty, Leonard (Pam), and Carson (Heather) Block.
She was preceded in death by her father, Leonard Block.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Food for the Poor, a 501c3 providing food, medicine, and shelter in impoverished areas of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Visitation, 5:00PM, Tuesday, September 26th, 2023, St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church, 6455 Brook Park Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80918.
Funeral Mass, 10:00AM, Wednesday, September 27, 2023, St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church, 6455 Brook Park Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80918.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jacqueline Haag, please visit Tribute Store