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Categories: From the Gold Prospectors Magazine

 Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Memories of Boo Coo

Some parting words for our ol’ friend


Memories of Boo Coo
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“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

the evening.

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,

Boo Coo.”

— 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

gold pans.

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

happy, too.

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.

—Earl Theiss


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