Mrs. Johanna Lass Haynes (granddaughter of Captain Lass, youngest daughter of Frederick & Julia W. Lass)

When Johanna Lass Haynes died in February 2000 this tribute article appeared in the Spring 2000 issue of The Harris-Lass Museum’s newsletter, “The Meteor”:


Johanna (Lass) Haynes: 1901 – 2000

  It is with great sadness that we tell you of the passing of the last member of what we know as the Lass Family.  On February 27, 2000, Johanna Haynes, nee Johanna Lass, died at the age of 98 in a convalescent hospital in Santa Cruz.

  In 1906, shortly after the San Francisco earthquake, Captain Christian Lass and his wife, Julia, moved into the house on Market Street and along with them came their son, Frederick, his wife Julia, and their three daughters, Carolina, Julia and Johanna.  After attending Santa Clara schools, Johanna Lass married Elwood Haynes and moved to San Francisco where she continued to live after her husband died in 1955.  When her mother passed away in 1969, Johanna came back to the Market Street property where she stayed until 1985 when she moved to a retirement community in Santa Cruz.

  Johanna did a wonderful thing for the City of Santa Clara and for valley residents by selling the property to the City at a price below market, with the provision that the house be maintained as a historical site.  Johanna donated much of the furniture and many of the items that the family had used daily and those things help to preserve the look and feel of what has become Santa Clara’s last remaining farm site.  While the Lass family lived there, the property was a working farm and included a prune orchard and many of the farm implements remain as bits of its history.  One of the dearest things to be found is a little cotton voile apron with two big pockets for collecting eggs and you can just picture Johanna and her sisters out gathering the morning’s breakfast.

  Mrs. Haynes was also kind to lend family portraits and photos to the Museum and it is through these pieces that we know what we do about the Lass family.  Part of the legacy is the stories about the house and Captain Lass and his family, stories preserved in the telling by the docents who lead tours at the Museum.  One of our favorites is when Johanna spied the boys in her school’s woodworking class and decided that she would like to be included.  Well, of course young ladies of the early 1900’s did not choose an avocation as manual as woodworking, but Johanna, true to what became known as her spirited nature, talked her father into going to the School Board and eliciting her entrance into the class.  The Museum now houses two of the pieces done by Johanna—look for the telephone table and plant stand in the summer porch at the Museum and think of Johanna as a forerunner of women’s liberation.

  Mrs. Haynes is survived by three nieces, Betty Stevens and Carolina Adrian of Soquel, and Dorothy Bull of Concord.

  The last resident of the Harris-Lass house has left us, but the remembrances bring back an earlier age.  Mrs. Haynes’ loving legacy lives on in the Museum and we invite you to partake in the nostalgia by a visit soon.