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Charles Haas, the second child of William and Bertha Haas, was born on February 16, 1884. As the eldest son, Charles was involved in the family business. In 1913, he married Fanny Stern (1891-1920), daughter of Jacob Stern, the second president of the Levi Strauss Company, and grandniece of Levi Strauss. They had two children, Madeleine and William(Billy).

Charles Haas, Fanny Stern, Madeleine
Billy and Madeleine
Charles Haas
Madeleine Haas Russell c.1940

Levi Strauss, the founder of Levi Strauss & Co., never married. He left his thriving business to his four nephews; Jacob, Sigmund, Louis, and Abraham Stern. Jacob and Sigmund served as presidents of the company after Levi’s death.

Sigmund Stern and his wife, Rosalie Meyer, had a daughter named Elise.  She married Walter A. Haas, Sr., who was the son of Abraham Haas, brother of William Haas. Walter joined Levi Strauss & Co. in 1919 at the request of Sigmund and served as president from 1928 to 1954. He was a trusted mentor and advisor to Fanny Stern and Charles Haas’ daughter, Madeleine.

Walter Haas, Sr. (William's nephew) served as President of Levi Strauss & Co. from 1928 to 1954. Walter’s two sons: Walter, Jr., and Peter both served as President of Levi Strauss & Co. — Walter from 1958-1970, and Peter from 1970-1981. Walter Jr.’s son Robert (the great-great-grandnephew of company founder Levi Strauss) served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Levi Strauss & Co. in 1984. 


Madeleine and Billy were the daughter and son of Charles and Fanny. In the 1920's, both of their parents passed away in the span of seven years. Soon after, their Aunt Alice and Uncle Sam became their guardians, and in 1928, along with their nursemaid, they moved from their home on Washington Street to a new addition attached to 2007 Franklin St. Their driver, Morton Vrang, remained in their employment. Madeleine was 12, Billy, just 10, at the time.

Madeleine was close to her maternal grandfather, Jacob Stern, who instilled in her a love of art and music. When they were old enough, she and her cousins, Frances and Elizabeth Lilienthal, attended college, the first generation of Haas-Lilienthal women to do so. Madeleine went on to marry and have children of her own. At the time of her death, she was a well known philanthropist and modern art collector.

Together, Billy and Madeleine set up The Columbia Foundation, with a focus on civil rights and social welfare. According to Madeleine, "we wanted to make the world better for other people.”  The Columbia Foundation remains one of the earliest, and most progressive, family foundations in Northern California.

Tragically, Billy would die at a very young age, succumbing to a heart infection at age twenty-seven.  

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