William W. Haible

Aug 03, 2020
William Haible

Topsham — William Wilson Haible, lately of Topsham passed peacefully and comfortably early June, 20, 2020, the window to his room open and the birds just starting to sing. He was 73 years old.

Born in Boston, Mass., Nov. 28, 1946 to Alice W. Haible and William E. Haible, Will was among the early baby boomers. He grew up in Lexington, Mass., attending Lexington schools until moving to Cambridge School of Weston to finish high school. He was an early camper at Camp Baldy in Beddington, and at Big Spring Ranch in Florissant, Colorado.

Will went on to Harvard for a degree in geology, served for a summer in the Peace Corps and then joined the Navy in 1968, graduating from Officer’s Candidate School and joining the USS Maury in the Pacific. His duty, among others, was to skipper one of the Maury’s sounding boats used to create hydrographic maps, a task he loved, and maybe do other nefarious and secretive things, but he’s not telling.

The Maury saw duty off the coast of Vietnam as well as around the Korean peninsula. After his stint in the Pacific, he was moved to Bermuda where he coordinated surface and air anti-submarine patrols and worked improvements to sound-sensing for Russian submarines, spending time in Greenland and several weeks on a submarine as part of that duty.

Will left active duty in 1973 and remained a reserve officer until 1979.

Back in civilian clothes, Will went back to his love of geology. After a short spell home in Lexington he traveled west to Berkeley, Calif., to get his master’s degree in geology from University California Berkeley. His thesis analyzed changes to Holocene stream morphology due to geography, climate and other factors.

Upon achieving his master’s, Will began a PhD program at UCal Berkeley, but decided that enough was enough. After doing consulting work in geology and land use planning in the Jackson Hole region of Wyoming, Will made a life change, shifting to pursue his other passion which was automotive mechanics.

Self-taught and very talented, Will was a meticulous problem solver, leaving no detail unexplored in order make anything mechanical work correctly. He opened his own shop specializing in the maintenance, restoration and tuning of vintage Ferraris, and was known for making older Ferraris meet strict California emissions standards.

Many of his good friendships beyond those from high school and college were made through his 20-plus years of Ferrari work. Will was also a longtime volunteer and participant in the Virginia City Hillclimb auto racing event in the high country of Nevada, a hair raising 5.2 mile climb that required a fine command of one’s car and a healthy respect for the danger involved.

Will was also a founding member of the Lake Merritt Rowing Club in Oakland, enjoying a number of years rowing there, maintaining the boats and gaining new friends along the way. Although he had a number of loving partners, he never married. After more than ten years in retirement his health began to decline, prompting him to move back East to Maine to be near family.

Will is survived by his brother Thomas “Spike” Haible and his wife, Amy, of Harpswell; John Haible and his wife, Anna, of Arlington, Mass., and Paul Haible of San Francisco, Calif., as well as three nieces; Alexanna and her family and Renault and Giulia.

He was predeceased by his parents, William and Alice Haible, and by his youngest brother, Charles Haible.

Many thanks are due to Mid Coast Hospice and the staff at Cadigan Lodge at The Highlands who made Will’s final journey as easy as possible. Thanks are due also to Dr. Karen Saylor of Coastal Maine Direct Care for her kind and attentive management of Will’s health issues.

Many tributes have come in from his friends around the world and they are especially appreciated. Said one, “Will was always a gentleman and a friend you could count on – solid, there when you needed him.” No more need be said.

A private service at some later date will be planned. Will cared deeply for Maine and its environment. Memorial donations can be made to any of the following organizations;

Maine Coast Heritage Trust, The Nature Conservancy Maine Chapter, Vinalhaven Land Trust, Natural Resources Council of Maine and lastly, Maine Farmland Trust. He would be happy to know that you cared as well.

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