Rene Haag, beloved wife, sister, aunt, and long time owner of Blaine’s Art Supply passed away peacefully at home in her husbands’ arms after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
Rene was born July 27, 1959 in Great Falls, Montana to Dexter and Helen Buck and grew up in the small farming town of Geraldine. She attended Geraldine High School where she excelled as an athlete, in speech and drama… and of course was prom queen. Rene went on to Montana State University in Bozeman and then the University of Montana, Missoula where she studied literature and photography.
In 1982 she moved to Anchorage and worked as Area Manager for Kits Cameras. In 1986 Rene would find her true calling when she was hired as Manager of Blaine’s Art Supply in the heart of Spenard. She would manage the store for the next twelve years before purchasing the business in 1998. During this time she met, fell in love with, and married her husband David in 1994. She also founded the Save Art Fair and mural project that ran for over 20 straight years. Children whose parents brought them to paint the big wall at Blaine’s would later bring their own children to share in the creative magic. Realizing that the business had outgrown its nest, Rene spread her wings and built a beautiful new haven for artists in 2010; A mere stones throw from the original location. With its large classroom and coffee bar, it has become a central meeting place and supply source for creative visual artists of all types.
In 2012, she was named Small Business Person of the Year for the state of Alaska. But Rene’s talents went far beyond her business ventures. She was also an accomplished photographer whose work is collected both publicly and privately. Later she would focus her talents on oil painting and once again proved to be a natural. In an effort to give back to the community and share her love for Spenard, she co-founded the Spenard Farmers Market. She served on the board of directors for the International Gallery of Contemporary Art and was the Director of the Alaska Photographic Center. She served on the boards of the North Star Business Association, the advisory board of the King Career Center, and the Small Business Development Center. She was a very active member of the East Anchorage Rotary Club.
But for all her talents, she will best be remembered for her warm and generous heart, her calm demeanor, her beautiful smile, and fearless spirit. She believed very strongly that it is not what we take from this life that matters, but what we give back. Rene loved her dogs Copper and Jake, good wine, and gardening. For her, there could just never be enough flowers. She is now strolling through the gardens of Paradise receiving painting tips from the Master.
Anchorage has lost a true pioneer in the art community and she will be dearly missed by all who knew her and many who did not.
Rene is survived by her husband David Haag, sisters Ginger (Buck) Zanto, Vicky (Buck) Jurgens, brother Michael Buck, Dexter Buck, and sister Katherine (Buck) Linsey and numerous nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by Dexter A. Buck and Helen M. (Buck) Brewer.
A celebration of life will be held at First United Methodist Church 725 West 9th Avenue on July 22nd at 2:00pm. Donations may be made to The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Preferred florist is Hummel’s Flowers. Funeral arrangements by Legacy Funeral Homes.