Alfred Clair Haynes
Aug 31, 1931 - Aug 25, 2019
Retired Captain Alfred Clair Haynes passed away on August 25, 2019 at the age of 87. Al was born August 31, 1931 in Paris, Texas to parents Herbert and Fanny Haynes. He was the youngest brother of 3 boys, Baylor and Kent as well as a younger sister Mildred Anne. He married Darlene Sumovich January 17, 1959 and they had 3 children, Anthony, Daniel and Laurie. He was preceded in passing by Darlene in 1999 and Tony in 1994. Surviving are Dan and his partner Nancy, Laurie and her husband Mike. Also surviving are Tony’s son, Michael Haynes and wife Julie, and their daughter Lylah and Tony’s daughter Samantha. Laurie and Mike’s son Mike. Dan’s step daughter Jenna Olson and her husband Tyler and their son Bryce. He is also survived by his brothers Baylor and Kent.
Al graduated Woodrow Wilson High school prior to attending Texas A&M University for 3 years before joining the US Marine Corps in 1953 where he served as a pilot and flight instructor until 1956. He earned his commission through the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in Pensacola, FL. Al joined United Airlines in 1956 where he was as a flight engineer on DC-6 and DC-8’s for 9 years. He promoted to First Officer 9 years later flying DC-6’s, 727’s and DC 10’s. Al then advanced to Captain in 1985. He retired in 1991. He spent his entire career with United Airlines.
Al had a passion for being a Little League Umpire, which he started because he was attending a game to watch his son Dan play and they had no umpire. Al said he was handed a rule book, a uniform and safety gear and in 2 hours became an umpire. He enjoyed it so much he spent the next 5 decades devoted to the Little League. Al was recruited to be a Chief Umpire Consultant for District 10 when the district first hosted the Washington State Little League Tournament. He remained the District 10 Consultant until 2016. In 1978 he was an umpire at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. Al attended the Joe Brinkman Umpire School in 1990. Al was a founder, director and member of the Evergreen Umpires Association (no longer in operation). He umpired Pony, Bronco, American Legion and high school baseball. From 1977 to 1981 Al was a cofounder and co-director of the Highline Area Superstars (a high school level competition between selected athletes patterned after ABC TV “Superstars” program.
In 1981 Al became an announcer for the King County Junior Football association and the Highline School district where he also formed a chain crew for the high school to work during Highline District games. Al would run the crew when not announcing the game. His chain crew was selected to handle the chains for many Washington State High School Championships.
Al had received many honors over the years for his participation including:
1980 – Perry Miyao Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award from South Highline District 7 Little League
1989 – Volunteer of the Year from Soundview District Little League Baseball, Tacoma, WA
1989 – Volunteer of the Year from Washington State Little League Baseball
1989 – Volunteer of the Year from Little League Baseball, Western Region
He was one of four finalists for the 1989 National Little League Baseball Volunteer of the Year.
Al was the Captain of United Flight 232 which crash landed in Sioux City, Iowa in 1989. There were 112 souls that did not survive the crash and 185 survivors. Captain Haynes along with First Officer Bill Records, Flight Engineer Dudley Dvorak and Captain Denny Fitch attempted to land the crippled DC 10. Captain Haynes has always attributed those who survived to the professionalism, communication and preparedness of entire flight crew including Jan Brown, Tim Owens, Susan White, Donna McGrady, Jan Moore, Barbara Gillaspie, Kathy Tam, Georgeann Del Castillo as well as Rene LeBeau who did not survive the accident. He also made it a point that without the help of those in the tower, first responders and all of Sioux City, many more would not have made it. Captain Al and the entire crew had received many commendations and awards including the following:
Special Commendation – United Airlines
Special Commendation – International Flight Safety Association
Special Commendation – U.S. Senate (including special resolution in the Official Record of the United States Senate)
Captain Al Haynes was also an Honoree in the Living Legends of Aviation.
After Al retired from United, he started to speak to small groups about what had happened that day. It was his way of dealing with the trauma of the accident. It grew into his becoming a motivational speaker that traveled around the globe inspiring others with his lesson of cooperation, communication and preparedness. He finally slowed down the amount of the talks he was doing when he turned 85, but was still willing to talk with anyone who asked. With all of these talks, he asked that all proceeds would go to several different scholarships and charities that he endorsed including a scholarship in Rene LeBeu’s name.
He was a legend in his own time. His love and support for his family and friends never wavered. He will be missed but never forgotten.
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