“I first spoke with David “Boo Coo” Haas on the phone
from my office at the Gold Prospectors Association of America
national headquarters in Temecula back in early 2011. I
later met him at various GPAA Gold & Treasure Shows and
finally had a chance to really get to know him and his lady,
Leah DeBruyn, better in the summer of 2012 at the fabled
Cripple River Mining Camp in Nome, Alaska.
Boo Coo was blessed with the gift of the gab, and struck
me as the kind of guy who if I was to sell him some paydirt
could probably sell it back to me with half the gold at twice
the price — and keep me in stitches during the whole deal.
In many ways, Boo Coo has kept the legacy of GPAA and
Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association founder George “Buzzard”
Massie alive in his column “As the Dredge Sucks,”
which he faithfully wrote for every edition of Gold Prospectors
magazine. As his editor for the last six years, I always
got a kick out of his articles. They always left me with a grin
on my face, and sometimes a subtle sadness. You see, Boo
Coo, was the epitome of the crying clown, covering up his
own sadness, and longing for the good ol’ days, by making
others laugh. And, yet he left us a legacy of tall tales and
experiences, that none who read them will likely soon forget.
Boo Coo’s sense of adventure, zest for life and one-of-akind
personality, undying friendship with the Buzzard, and
acute sense of humor made him a favorite in many gold prospecting
circles. Though he played the jester, Boo Coo had a
serious side. He truly believed in the keeping the Buzzard’s
vision alive for future generations — and in guarding our
freedom to explore Mother Nature and hunt for her hidden
riches — like gold! What Boo Coo may never have realized
is that he is one of God’s great treasures.
As his nickname suggests, Boo Coo was sometimes just
“too much!” His antics didn’t always carry the punchline he
expected. But, one thing is for sure, Boo Coo had a big heart
and colorful character to match. I will miss him dearly, and
so will our readers. So long, friend. Just like your friend,
the Buzzard, your memory will live on in all the hearts you
— Brad Jones
“It is only fitting to describe David “Boo Coo” Haas as a
comedian and entertainer with his hilarious jokes, songs and
the twinkle in his eyes. I remember many a campfire with
Boo Coo and my dad the Buzzard swapping stories late into
When the topic of mining in Alaska came up, the Alaska
trip was born. Boo Coo was also a hard worker when a tough
job needed to be done. Working side by side with my father
using the light from the midnight sun we built the first camp
at Casadepaga. It was a monumental effort getting a bare
patch of tundra ready for 100 participants.
A few years later, he helped build the camp at Cripple
River. He was a very close companion to my dad, travelling
to the gold shows and the outings at Italian Bar and Stanton.
Boo Coo and his best friend, “Pal,” a double yellow head
parrot, could really light up a crowded room with their rendition
of “North to Alaska,” singing together at the top of
their lungs. When Pal passed, he was deeply depressed, but
eventually went on alone with his mandolin singing away.
Boo Coo exemplified a life well lived, and loved. I can
imagine him next to my dad at that campfire in the sky, passing
a bottle and planning their next adventure.”
— Perry Massie
“David “Boo Coo” Haas was a very close and unmistakable
friend, not only to the club but to the Massie family.
He gave so much of himself throughout his life in defense
of prospecting, as a supporter of organization and as an educator
to beginners of all ages. He always greeted me with
a smile and could make you laugh over and over with the
amazing stories he would tell.
It has been a pleasure to work with him in an effort to
share those stories in Gold Prospectors magazine with all
members, and his column in the magazine will surely be
missed by all of his fans.
I know how much Boo Coo loved and admired my grandfather,
and how hard it was to lose a friend so near and dear
to him. I trust they are reunited now that he is at peace, and
that thought puts a smile on my face once again. Boo Coo
— You are loved, and will be missed. Let me know where to
send that box of magazines and pans to continue supporting
the club.” :)
— Brandon Johnson
“Like many, I heard the stories about Boo Coo long before
having the pleasure of meeting him. Working on Gold
Fever often included long road trips when Tom Massie loved
telling stories of the golden days of the GPAA to pass the
time, most of which included the crazy antics of Buzzard and
Boo Coo. One of Boo Coo running around on the beach of
the Bering Sea in a Speedo comes to mind! Ha! ha!
All these stories seemed a bit exaggerated until I went to
Texas to film an episode with Boo Coo. He was wild and so
full of life. Immediately all the stories I heard became 100
percent believable, and I was fortunate enough to hear a few
more direct from the source. He welcomed us into his home,
where we threw back a couple Shiner Bock’s and laughed
around the fire for hours. It was a rare opportunity and a
window into the past that I’ll always remember.
One thing was absolutely clear listening to him talk that
Memories of Boo Coo
Some parting words for our ol’ friend
night: He missed the Buzzard more than words can express.
Now two best friends are finally united again. Rest peacefully,
— Greg Miller
“I met David at my first ever Gold & Treasure Show in
Belton, Texas many years ago and instantly adored the man
they called “Boo Coo.” As I was introduced, he shook my
hand firmly. Then, to my surprise, he pulled me in for the
biggest bear hug ever and started serenading me! Overcome
with complete shock and embarrassment, my face turned
beet red as I laughed and succumbed to his lighthearted shenanigans.
From that moment, he forever referred to me as his
“Main Squeeze” and never stopped singing to me!
While I was privileged enough to spend a significant
amount of time with Boo Coo, another very memorable moment
was at the LDMA Appreciation Dinner in 2012. He
showed up in Boo Coo fashion, wearing a full five-piece suit
to honor the legacy of his best friend and show his appreciation
to others for supporting George “Buzzard” Massie’s
dream. Shortly into the evening, he began to entertain us
with his usual shenanigans and musical talents. What happened
next was truly very special. He was standing in front
of an entire ballroom of about 300 LDMA members, staff
and guests and transported us back to the 1980s when he accompanied
George on his maiden voyage to Nome, Alaska
to scout for the “Cripple River Camp” location. After at least
45 minutes of dramatic, vivacious and comical theatrics, the
entire crowd was applauding and awaiting their turn for a
moment to shake his hand in gratitude.
His stories brought an incredible amount of antiquity,
charm and, of course, belly-hurting laughs to all he shared
them with. His smile lit up any room. He always gave the
best bear hugs, his serenades were most charming, but his
heart was the best!”
— Amber White
“It was 1993 when I first met Boo Coo. I had only been
working for GPAA and LDMA for a couple of months.
George Massie had a handful of men he relied upon and
trusted, and Boo Coo was one of them.
Boo Coo told jokes, stories, and anyone who knew him,
knew he loved being in the limelight! He loved George,
Wilma and the boys (Perry and Tom.) When George passed
away in 1993, it devastated him, but he made it his mission
to keep George Massie’s dream alive by writing and telling
stories about his never-ending adventures.”
I, too, have stories to tell about Boo Coo, but as a personal
aside, there was a special song he created just for me
because he found my name unusual. When he would call in
the office, and I would answer, Boo Coo would start singing
and serenading me. He would even do the same if he had to
leave a message, so that I would know it was from him!
Boo Coo, I will miss you my friend;. Thank you for giving
me my song!”
— Sharina Davis
“Attempting to encapsulate a 30-plus year friendship
with David “Boo Coo” Haas into a couple of paragraphs is,
well, impossible. There are hundreds of stories that can be
told, and I will hang onto them, and share around the campfire.
Boo Coo was a great friend and, like the best of friends,
there were times when no matter what, we could not agree
on everything, but we never let that get in the way of our
friendship. We would pick up where we left off on any topic
each time we saw each other. I believe that Boo Coo was this
way with everyone he knew.
One topic we always talked about was the organization. I
have never met a man, other than the Buzzard, who had more
love and passion for the LDMA and GPAA than Boo Coo.
He believed in the organization and everything for which
it stands. He told me about the long discussions he and the
Buzzard would have about getting the word out to everyone
about the organization and its members.
Boo Coo and I were talking a few months ago at a Gold
& Treasure Show, when he turned to me and said, “I cannot
believe that everyone who has ever touched a gold pan is
not a member of the GPAA; It just doesn’t make sense.” His
passion ran that deep.
After the Buzzards death, Boo Coo’s passion for the organization
did not wane if anything it became stronger in
the memory of his good friend. He told me years ago that
he took it upon himself as a commitment to the Buzzard to
continue to spread the word and share his passion with everyone
he talked to about his friend the Buzzard, his family,
members of the two clubs and what it meant for him to be a
member, which he did daily
I will truly and deeply miss my friend Boo Coo, his stories
and his passion as much as I miss the Buzzards.”
— Kevin Hoagland
“When it comes to David “Boo Coo” Haas, most people
only saw the outside, which is really unfortunate. They saw
a crazy ol’ man who had lots of stories from the past. They
saw a man who would pull out his mandolin and start playing
silly songs. They saw a guy who would set up a little
booth at a GPAA Gold & Treasure Show — anywhere, even
on a trashcan — to sell small bags of paydirt, and give away
If you were privileged enough to get to know the real
Boo Coo — who he was on the inside — you are truly lucky.
He was more than a storyteller? He was really a story creator.
He was one of the originals in George “Buzzard” Massie’s
group that started what we know today as the Gold Prospectors
Association of America.
Boo Coo, the “storyteller,” was full of passion and generosity.
At every gold show, he would “work the line” of people
waiting to get in to the event to give away a piece of gold.
He gave from his heart. And, if you were to stop and listen
to his stories, you would realize that no data backup storage
facility could hold all of them.
Have you heard about the “Hole in the Rock” club? People
would scavenge the beaches in Nome, Alaska looking for
a rock with a natural hole through it. What a silly idea, right?
If you joined that “club,” you promised to help a widow or
orphan within the coming year and report back to the club
about your good deed — not so crazy-sounding to me.
And, the same pledge to help widow or an orphan was
required to join other clubs, such as the Staff of Lifers club.
What about kissing an Oosik? (Not sure what that is? Stop
and ask me when you see me at a Gold & Treasure Show or
outing.) Yes, I participated in Boo Coo’s bizarre ceremony,
and I’m privileged to be in the Staff of Lifers club, which is
all done in good fun for the good of people.
The endless stories Boo Coo shared and entertained us
with will never be forgotten. Thank you, Boo Coo, for impacting
and blessing my life.”
— Dominic Ricci
“While I only met David “Boo Coo” Haas in February of
2016, I had heard about him for years. My first meeting with
him was setting up at a Gold & Tresure Show. It was easy to
see why he was such a special member of the organization.
From the time we met, he always had a smile on his face and
a story to tell. After a few minutes with Boo Coo, it felt like
he had known me for years.
As I would see him talking with members and visitors to
the gold show, as well as at other shows, telling his stories
and sharing his passion for the GPAA with others, I realized
that he was one of the true treasures we had within the membership
of the GPAA.
People at the shows would stand and listen to his stories,
talk with him at length and would always come away with a
smile. I had the opportunity to spend time talking with him
several times during 2016, and each time he had great stories
about he and the Buzzard to share or a joke or song that
would always make me laugh. I am blessed that I had the
opportunity to meet and spend some time with “Boo Coo.”
He will truly be missed.”
— Richard Robinson
Like so many, I had watched a person by the name of David
Haas, better known as “Boo Coo,” on the GPAA shows,
and on Perry’s and Tom’s shows through the years.
While at the New Year’s Outing at Stanton LDMA Camp
in Arizona (I think in 2002), I was walking along in front of
the old store when someone behind me called out my name.
\I knew who it sounded like from the shows, but I didn’t
know why he would be calling out my name, or much less,
why he knew my name. Myself and two other friends were
working with the Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Texas
General Land Office on introducing prospecting in Texas,
and that’s how he found out about me.
I turned around, and there was Boo Coo! He walked up
and introduced himself, and asked for my phone number and
if he could help since he and his “sweetie,” Leah, lived in
Junction, Texas and I live in Llano County, Texas, which is
one county over. And, I was blessed with having him for a
friend ever since that time.
As with probably everyone else that knew him, there are
way too many stories about my time with Boo Coo to share.
He and I went to a lot of Texas gold shows and events, treasure
shows and rock shows where we would set up booths.
And, as long as I could keep him in “check” with nobody
getting mad at us, we had a great time and good talks on the
way to and from the event when we rode together.
The biggest concern we had, and we talked about this the
Thursday night before he died, was which one of us owed
the other money. We would argue about this and have a good
time, even though in October at the Round Rock GPAA Outing,
we settled up even, which was unusual.
Boo Coo went to as many Texas events as he could or
was invited to, and he loved to talk to anyone about the
GPAA. He tried in every way to keep the Buzzard’s dream
alive. Everyone in the GPAA groups got to meet him and
he made sure that he made them feel like a friend. He loved
getting the kids involved, and would help them learn panning
and other prospecting skills. He would give them Gold
Prospectors magazines. If the kid, young or old, or for that
matter if an adult showed real interest in gold prospecting,
he would give them a pan, even if he had to “borrow” one to
give away, and show them how to use it.
His joking, his stories, mandolin playing and singing will
be greatly missed by all who were around him. I’ll miss his
calls. Whether I answered my phone or my answering machine
picked up, he would have to sing about five minutes
worth of Duke of Earl before we could get down to conversation.
Boo Coo went the way he wanted to go. He and Leah
were at a dance. They had danced a couple of dances and
they sat down to rest. He said something across the table to
Leah, and when she got up to see what was the matter, he
passed away. Everyone I know who knew him is very happy
for him that he passed that way.
Leah told me that when she went to the funeral home the
next day to start arrangements, she went in to see him and
was so happy to see that he looked happy and had a smile
on his face laying there. When she told me that, it made me
Then, what next came to my mind, I hoped there was
enough gold in heaven and that God was a tolerant God, because
the smile had to come from the fact that Boo Coo and
George were back together, and at it again.