Karen Haag

Karen Haag

Saturday, February 24th, 1945 Monday, April 20th, 2020

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Obituary for Karen M. Haag (Ely)

Karen Marie Haag, of Hamburg, died on April 20, 2020 at the age of 75. She was born on February 24, 1945 to the late Charles L. and Ethel M. (Miller) Ely, the last of three children which earned her the lifelong nickname of Babe. She was the third generation of her family to live in their 5 th Street home in Hamburg,
Pennsylvania, a fortunate thing as her future husband was growing up in an apartment just a few doors
down. Her parents were merchants, a profession that she would eventually follow in and got early
training. Their grocery business included Ely’s Store at Your Door and a market stand. It was a true
family business encompassing a variety of Ely and Miller family members, including Karen, who helped
pack potato chips for their stand in the basement of the Balthaser’s Building.
Karen, an avid high-school athlete, would graduate from Hamburg Area High School in 1963 and go to
work at Hamburg Savings & Trust Co. On June 26 1965, she would marry Barry Haag, who survives her,
and moved to the Philadelphia suburbs where he began a job with the Allstate Insurance Company and
she went to work for the Strawbridge & Clothier Department Store. In 1968 their first son, Erik, was
born. In 1970, after it became clear that his job would require the family to relocate every few years,
they returned to Hamburg and Barry took a job with the Hamburg Savings & Trust Co where he would
eventually serve as President. In 1971, Karen’s family would leave the grocery business and open Ely’s
Shoe Store where she went to work part-time. In 1972 their second son, Matt, was born.
On the death of her father in 1981, Karen and her mother would run the business for another 27 years
before retiring in 2008. Having worked in retail nearly her entire life, her customers were friends and
family. She often had more people visiting her at the store than buying customers! She kept up a steady
correspondence with numerous former customers when she no longer had a store or they had moved.
Her retirement, however, was brief as she would go to work part-time for Dietrichs Men’s & Boys Shop,
renewing and maintaining many of her decades-long friendships.
In addition to her professional work, she was involved in her community. She served as homeroom
“Mom” and helped to run the concession stand supporting the little league. She held leadership
positions in the Hamburg Area Merchants Association, helped to organize the yearly Hamburg Sidewalk
Sale and for several years was responsible for organizing the Hamburg Christmas Parade.
While leading a long professional life, it hardly was the center of her world. Instead, her family
(including pets and trips to OCNJ), her home (and the music, Philly sports and holidays that enlivened it),
her yard (and the birds it welcomed) were how she most would enjoy and define herself. These were
the things that refreshed and sustained her and for her family are the source of many happy memories.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by son Erik of Frisco Texas, his wife Susan and
granddaughters Quincy and Ella, son Matt of Hanover NH and Rochester NY and his husband Bill
Schaefer, brother Lee Ely and wife Kelly of New Holland, sister Barb Ludwig of Idaho, sister-in-law Barb
Liebars and brother-in-law Glenn Haag, both of Hamburg, her nieces and nephews Cathy Liebars,
Michael (Mer) Ely, Gretta (Keith) Young, Brad (Joy) Haag and Kristen (Mike) O’Connor (her nephew Todd
Ludwig and niece Jen Dorbich predeceased her) and many cousins, but most especially Becky Williams
who was particularly supportive in recent years.
A celebration of Karen’s life will take place when public safety related to the pandemic makes such a
gathering prudent.

Although Karen loved flowers, she asks in lieu of them that you remember her with a donation to the
Berks County Humane Society, 1801 N. 11th Street, Reading, PA 19604 or Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, 1700
Hawk Mountain Road, Kempton, PA 19529. Leibensperger Funeral Homes, Inc., Hamburg is in charge of
arrangements. For online condolences, please visit,

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Karen M. Haag (Ely), please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
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Provide comfort for the family of Karen M. Haag (Ely) by sending flowers.
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Hand delivered by a local florist

Kim Zerr

My deep sympathy and prayers to Barry, and Family...Karen was a wonderful part of my growing up years in Hamburg. I loved hearing all her family stories, with some of them being intertwined with mine. I will remember her as gracious, pleasant, always showing you a smile, and full of life. Please know that she was much appreciated, enjoyed and loved.
May God Bless you, Karen...I have a feeling that you might be trying to sell some shoes or clothing on the side, while you are
enjoying your much earned rest in Heaven!
With memories and love...Kim “Dinkel” Zerr
Comment | Posted at 05:57pm via Condolence

Shelley Broomhall

Barry and family, Ron and I are so sorry for your loss which is a loss for so many. She was not only a memory as a part of the family but a part of the community I grew up in. I remember feeling so grown up when allowed to go in and look for shoes all by myself. She will be missed greatly.
Comment | Posted at 12:24pm via Condolence

Ellie Walker

My deepest sympathy to Karen’s husband and family. She was a special lady and always had a big smile whenever you saw her- may she Rest In Peace
Comment | Posted at 11:26am via Condolence

Janet Barr

Karen was indeed a delightful person to know and talk to. I still think of her and her parents when I walk on 4th Street, and remember their smiling faces when I would stop in there to talk and perhaps to buy footwear -- they would welcome us in any case. My sympathy goes out to you, her family, for your loss.
Karen, it was great to know you. Thank you for making life in our little town so much better every day. Rest in peace.
Janet Barr
Comment | Posted at 08:07am via Condolence

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