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Virginia Rowland Jones Haas Passes Away

Virginia Rowland Jones Haas, age 87, of Stover, Missouri passed away Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at Bothwell Regional Health Center in Sedalia, Missouri. She was born December 10, 1925, in Tina, Missouri, the daughter of James and Ethel Heidaman Rowland. She had an older brother, Harold, and a younger brother, Herb. On her seventh birthday, her parents gave her the best present ever when they presented her with "Billy," who was by the famous Missouri stallion, Rex McDonald.

The summer of her ninth year, Virginia entered the show ring for the first time on the popular Missouri circuit and sealed her lifetime commitment and dedication to showing and breeding American Saddlebreds. George Roberts took notice of the little blonde girl who rode her five-gaited Rex McDonald horse so enthusiastically and asked her dad if she could catch- ride one of his three-gaited horses. She did, and they captured several blue ribbons in a fun-filled summer. Virginia's happiness was short-lived though when her father's untimely death changed the family's lifestyle and Virginia became a surrogate mother for her baby brother, Herb, so her mother could work to support the family. Virginia was 10 years old.

 Her dream of owning and showing horses was put on hold until after her marriage to Jack Jones in 1948. Jack was an attorney, State Senator and later a Federal Judge in Kansas City. Virginia was a physician's assistant to Dr. Eugene Bales in Carrollton, Missouri. She enjoyed this position for many years, gaining valuable medical knowledge under a doctor who was idolized in the community. Virginia and Jack owned the stallion Empire's Memory Maker, who sired a long list of champions. Among them were Empire's Lullaby Broadway, Tempest Storm and Empire's Starreina. All were shown to multiple Championships.

As the wife of a State Senator, Virginia was privileged to enjoy other activities in addition to her horses, and she attended lunches at the Governor's Mansion, lunches at the famous Tea Room in Gallatin and attended the Democratic National Convention where she met Eleanor Roosevelt. Over the years, Virginia's enthusiasm and knowledge about saddle horses led many of her friends into the sport and the industry. Two young teenagers she mentored were Anna Marie Knipp and Tina Hughes, who of whom went on to own successful stables in Missouri. With her encouragement, Shirley Smith and Marvin Rinne purchased show horses, and one of their favorites was The Champagne Tiger. Shirley's son and daughter-in-law, Dr. David and Donna Smith from Anniston, Alabama, also have horses in training.

Virginia's influence has been widespread. In more recent years, Virginia has had her stallion standing at Marvin Martin's in Excelsior, Missouri. She considers Marvin and his family more than dear friends, they are family. Judge Jones' death in 1979 left Virginia to manage her horses alone for the next 10 years. However, in 1989, she married Dr. Harry Haas, a family friend, who has encouraged her continued participation in raising and showing horses. After Dr. Haas retired from his practice at the St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, they moved to Texas and lived in Bayview and then Georgetown, where Virginia still kept a couple of her favorite mares with her. In 2005, they decided to return to Missouri and purchased Cedar Ranch. They now have five horses on their 40 acres, plus a lovely retirement home.

Virginia said, "I can watch my horses run and play from the kitchen, bedroom and great room windows. A dream come true!" In spite of some health problems, this year Virginia and Harry plan to put their 4-year-old gelding, Middlemas' Miracle Mack, whose great grandsire is Buck And Wing and out of Empire's Lullaby Broadway, into training. And so Virginia's life goes on with great hope for the next generation of saddle horses. In addition to her husband, Virginia leaves three nieces, Holly Rowland Hulke-VanKirk, Rebecca Reynolds and Carolyn Comer, three stepsons, Bryan Haas, Kevin Haas and Timothy Haas. All of us miss her very much.

Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Stover United Methodist Church with Rev. Diane Cutler officiating. Interment will be in the Stover Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 9:30 a.m. until service time at the church on Saturday. Memorial contributions are suggested to the Stover United Methodist Church. Arr: Scrivner- Morrow Funeral Home in Stover.


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