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Jim Weed

Volume 45 Issue 17

Aug 15, 2020

William W. Haible, lately of Topsham, Maine, passed peacefully and comfortably on an early June morning recently, the window to his room open and the birds just starting to sing.  He was 73 years old.


By Jim Weed


    William W. Haible, lately of Topsham, Maine, passed peacefully and comfortably on an early June morning recently, the window to his room open and the birds just starting to sing.  He was 73 years old.

    Born in Boston, MA, November 28, 1946 to Alice W. Haible and William E. Haible, Will was among the early baby boomers.

    He grew up in Lexington, MA, attending Lexington schools until moving to Cambridge School of Weston to finish high school.  Will went on to Harvard for a degree in Geology, served for a summer in the Peace Corps and then joined the US 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, CA, 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.

    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 ones 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 brothers Thomas “Spike” Haible and his wife Amy of Harpswell, ME; John Haible and wife Anna of Arlington, MA; and Paul Haible of San Francisco, CA; as well as three nieces, Alexanna and her family, and Renault and Giulia.  He was predeceased by his parents, and by his youngest brother Charles Haible.

    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.

    In 1982 Will Haible and Philip Threshie started Threshie & Haible Restorations in San Leamdro, CA.

    They purchased the parts inventory of Chinetti Motors. Several large truck loads of vintage racing engines and parts arrived in California.

    Many of those parts came from Chinetti’s support of factory and privateer racing from the earliest days of Ferrari’s entry in America.

    The treasure trove helped many early racing cars to get their original engines returned to their chassis.

    Since I was in the parts business, I got to talk to Will often. Just a couple of years ago I was in San Francisco and gave him a call. Our conversation was over two hours and covered a wide range of topics.

   Intelligent and humble, Will was always a pleasure to work with and helpful to a fault. He will be missed.

        Jim Weed

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