80 years later, couple still loves basketball — and one another | News, Sports, Jobs
BETHLEHEM (AP) — The March madness is a season when many people fall in love with the game of basketball.
Whether your college team made the Final Four or your high school is basking in the glory of winning a state championship—like Allentown Central Catholic and Pottsville Nativity Boys—basketball can bring people together.
Sometimes those bonds last forever.
Take the story of Charles and Ginny Haas.
Both were basketball players at Bethlehem Catholic and proud members of the class of 1941. 2021 marked the 80th anniversary of their high school graduation.
Basketball and Becahi played a role in bringing them together as young people, and their interest in the sport has become part of a close-knit family that spans four generations.
Her life and marriage embody what teamwork is all about and represent many of the values that sport can teach us – when played and coached at its best.
“As parents, they taught us many things, but the most important quality they taught their sons was humility.” said Richard Haas, who was a member of Becahi’s first football team in 1965. “The rule is never to draw attention to yourself.”
But there is also a tradition of interest in sports in the family.
“They love sports and this love has carried over generations. … and it all started with them,” said daughter-in-law Kathy Haas. “No matter what school the kids went to, they participated in many activities and Charlie and Ginny were always there to support them.”
Mike Grasso, a former Catholic baseball coach and Bethlehem athletic director, recalled seeing the couple at many games.
“I remember Charlie and Ginny sitting in the stands.” he said. “They were always there, always happy. They are good, good people; very supportive of her children and the school. It was great to have her as part of our Catholic family in Bethlehem.”
Many family members have played sports at Becahi, be it wrestling, basketball, soccer, or track and field. Grandsons Greg Haas and Rich Haas both played basketball for the Golden Hawks, and Greg went on to become one of the area’s most prominent academic basketball officials. Rich became associate athletic director of sales and marketing at Lehigh University.
But many other family members excelled at schools other than Becahi.
Grandsons Kevan and Patrick Haas and granddaughter Meghan Pribicko were standout members of Liberty High’s cross-country and track teams. Meghan also played softball for the Hurricanes.
Dana Kliewer, another granddaughter, ran track and cross country for Ephrata High School in Lancaster County.
Rylie Norris, another granddaughter, was a two-time All-State volleyball player at Freedom and a four-time College All-American at Eastern University.
Delaney Flynn, a great-granddaughter, is a volleyball player at Radnor High School.
Many others participated in other extracurricular activities such as cheerleading, band, hymn, drama. Charlie and Ginny were big supporters and attended as many events as possible.
Her story is as captivating as any you might hear around the family dinner table.
They were married at St. Ursula’s Catholic Church, a short distance from Fourth and Webster Streets in south Bethlehem, where Bethlehem Catholic was located in the 1940s.
Charlie Haas is a Eucharist and they remain members of St. Ursula.
How did it all start?
They met and began dating when they were in high school, where Charlie was on a league championship basketball team and the young girl, then known as Virginia Kelly, was the team captain.
“I just saw him and thought he was cute” Ginny remembered.
“We were in a play together, I saw her and said, ‘I’m going with her.'” Charlie added.
Ginny later enjoyed a long career in the administration of St. Luke’s Hospital.
Her husband served in the US Navy during World War II and then had a long career with the US Postal Service.
But whether they worked at The Steel, in the medical industry or in the post office, the constants in their lives were a love of family, of sports and of course each other.
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox