Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Myra Chandler Haas

Belleair Bee founder Myra Chandler Haas dies at 93

CLEARWATER — Myra Chandler Haas started the Belleair Bee in 1976, a community newspaper she envisioned as a muscular arm for worthwhile causes.

She covered ribbon cuttings, Town Commission meetings and coming elections, using an advertising-supported model she had already used to run a string of successful newspapers in Michigan.

She founded the Largo Leader next, donating ad space and sponsoring events for charities.

Before moving to Clearwater, Mrs. Haas had expanded a business and rebounded from tragedy.

Mrs. Haas, a sparkplug for community newspapers and a powerful force in opening and sustaining Ruth Eckerd Hall, died Jan. 12. She was 93.

"She was a petite woman, but she had passion and determination the size of a giant," said Stephanie Smith, the chief development officer for Ruth Eckerd Hall.

She was born Myra Kuder in Detroit in 1919. She graduated from business school, worked as a secretary and started a family with her first husband, accountant William Cox. She dressed sharply — a "fashionista," her family said — and kept up with local politics.

In the mid 1950s, Mrs. Haas and other residents of suburban Detroit launched the Redford Observer. The move took them head to head with another weekly paper, covering new schools and local politics. Many of her co-workers were women.

"Ozzie and Harriet and June Cleaver were on TV, but Detroit was under brand-new development and the women's movement was just getting started," said Bill Cox, 68, Mrs. Haas' son.

Success followed success. The Observer grew to at least eight newspapers.

She weathered shocks, too. William Cox died at 42 of a heart attack. Mrs. Haas married printer Paul Chandler, who had bought her newspaper chain a few years earlier. Chandler, a political pal of Gov. George Romney, became a state senator and died of a heart attack at age 45.

His wife sold his businesses and moved to Clearwater in 1969. After owning a retail store, she started the Bee, then the Leader. She married Arthur Haas in 1981, who suffered a fatal heart attack five years later.

Mrs. Haas stayed busy, serving on the Ruth Eckerd board and as the president of the Leading Ladies, the hall's fund-raising and outreach organization.

Mrs. Haas sold the Bee and Leader in the mid 1980s, but remained in charge of the Bee until the late 1990s. The chain has since grown to eight newspapers and is now owned by a sister company of the Tampa Bay Times.

Her guiding mantra never changed, said Sue Osborne, a former sales manager for Mrs. Haas. "She knew how to make people feel important," Osborne said. "It was the newspaper's job to promote the well-being of the community."

Andrew Meacham can be reached at ameacham@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2248.

.Biography

Myra Chandler Haas

Born: May 10, 1919

Died: Jan. 12, 2013

Survivors: son, William Cox; daughters, Catherine Hermanson, Cynthia Curls and Jennifer Bryla; eight grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren.

Belleair Bee founder Myra Chandler Haas dies at 93 01/17/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  2. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire

    Criminal

    PORT RICHEY

    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, right, along with her mother Tranda Webb, 62, pose for a photograph Wednesday, at their home in Port Richey. Pasco's former boyfriend John Riggins doused Pasco with gasoline and set her on fire after an argument last year.. CHRIS URSO   |   Times

  3. Florida starter under center still under wraps

    College

    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  4. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  5. Rick Kriseman picks Floribbean restaurant for Manhattan Casino

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG— Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen a controversial restaurant concept to occupy the Manhattan Casino, saying he made a decision 11 days before the mayoral primary because he didn't want politics to get in the way of progress in struggling Midtown.

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson speaks during a Friday press conference announcing that the Callaloo Group will open a Floribbean restraurant in the historic Manhattan Casino in St. Petersburg's Midtown neighborhood. Some residents were upset with Mayor Rick Kriseman's choice, saying it will speed up gentrification of the area. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]