At our age, we start to lose some of our best friends. This happened when we lost the Reverend Robert Haven on April 26, 2007, in Zanesville, OH. Bob, Class of ’51, was from a true Amherst family with his father Alfred C. Haven ’18; his uncle, Erastus Otis Haven ’11; his brother, Al Haven ’45; his son, Stephen ’79; and his niece, Julie Haven ’84. Quite a record, isn’t it?
My senior year and Bob’s junior year, we roomed with four others, including Russ Damon ’51, in the Speakeasy on the top floor of Chi Psi. Most afternoons, Russ, Bob and I would gather about 5 p.m. to share one quart of that great Hampden ale. We took turns buying, every third day, and always had some game of chance to see who would walk to the liquor store. On the occasions when Bob would lose, off he would go with his coat and scarf, out the back door across Psi U House, wind and snow blowing during those long winter evenings. Sometimes this was the high point of the day for the three of us.
There were two main churches in the life of the Haven family. Bob was rector of St. Luke’s Church in Camillus, NY, a town near Syracuse. Bob started at St. Luke’s when it was an Episcopal mission, and after much hard work, within five years, it became a self-supporting parish that flourishes to this day. Then Bob spent twenty-eight years tending the people and parish of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Amsterdam, NY, on the Mohawk River, thirty miles up from Albany, NY. My family visited Bob in both locations. We were most impressed to see Bob in his vestments, leading Sunday services and giving very meaningful sermons. It was a long way from the Speakeasy at Chi Psi.
After his retirement from St. Ann’s Church in Amsterdam, the Episcopal bishops of Central Florida and Southern Ohio sent Bob to additional parishes. He served as retired associate at St. Thomas’ Church, Eustis, FL, and as supply priest for a church in Cocoa, FL. In Ohio, as long-term supply priest or interim rector, he served Episcopal parishes in Chillicothe and Granville.
Bob’s passion was writing and reading fine literature. His poems were published in 1969 by Abingdon Press in a book entitled, Look at Us, Lord. His writings appeared in the Living Church, the Anglican Theological Review and The Upper Room. His newspaper column entitled “This and That” ran for over ten years in The Amsterdam Recorder. He taught creative writing and other English courses at night at a community college near Amsterdam, NY.
Always concerned for the poor, he organized a day care center for indigent women, set up a human rights committee, visited those in prison and helped set up a legal aide society, all in or near Amsterdam, NY. Always concerned for the sick, he spent long hours visiting the sick and dying in both the Catholic and municipal hospitals in his home community.
He leaves behind his wife, Dr. Sallie Haven, a former musician and singer of opera and oratorio, now a writer and sociologist, and four children: Catherine, associate professor of art at Nazareth College in Pittsford, NY; Mark, violinist and director of orchestras for the city school district of Zanesville, OH; Stephen, English professor and director of the master of fine arts in creative writing program at Ashland Univ.; and writer, Thomas, employed in a New York City law firm. Bob’s brother, Alfred Haven, of Chatham, MA, also survives him, along with seven nieces and nephews and thirteen grandchildren.
Bob will be missed by those who knew him and loved by all those he has helped.
—Dick Leland ’50