By Ken Haas
Evans Haas, a salty character on the Venice Beach scene, passed away at the age of 83 on March 16. Born in Manhattan and raised in Culver City, Evans spent most of his life in Venice, so much so that he became known as the King (or Mayor –depends on who you talk to!) of Venice Square (AKA Hamburger Square, at Washington and Pacific). A sailor, an artist, a free spirit, Evans fell on hard times, and spent most of the last 25 years without a home. Business owners and other locals took care of him, fed him, gave him rides, clothes, let him shower at their homes, and trusted him to house-sit.
Highly intelligent, articulate, generous and extremely witty, Evans represented vestiges of the old Venice. While homeless, he lived in a van parked in back of the Venice Bike and Skates, owned and operated by Carolyn Andersson, a Venice native. Carolyn’s parents owned the Bait and Tackle shop housed first at the end of Venice Pier and later where Venice Bike and Skates is currently located. Carolyn, a benevolent soul, and Arlene Matteson, another Venice resident and dear friend of Evans, were always looking out for him. Arlene helped Evans secure senior housing at Del Rey Square for the last two years of his life through the St. Joseph Center.
Almost daily, Evans was a fixture at Hinano Café, his throne the third bar stool from the entry. Thanks to local artist Barbara Mastej, Evans is immortalized in her painting in oil, Carlos Vargas, Bartender at Hinano’s. Evans’s signature is etched on one of the original round resin tables in the back of the café.
Evans is survived by his son, Ken Haas of North Bend, WA and his daughter, Tina Odum of Burbank, CA. In lieu of flowers, the family requests any donations (tax-deductible) be made to the St. Joseph Center, 204 Hampton Drive, Venice, CA 90291 in memory of Evans Haas/Venice Square. It will make a difference in the community for the homeless. Evans would like that.
Above: Evans Haas at Venice Bike and Skates