Greg Haws was a man who made a difference through his work.

Haws, who died Thursday, Sept. 14, following emergency surgery for a stomach ulcer, is recalled as a man behind many positive changes in Weber County government and in the State of Utah.

He was 65.

“He was a great citizen who lifted our community and lifted our state through tireless public service,” said Bob Hunter, president of United Way of Northern Utah and also a former Weber County commissioner.

“He was the kind of person who was willing to put everything on the line to move things forward. That takes a special kind of person,” said Joan Hellstrom, who was a Weber County commissioner when Haws was Weber County clerk-auditor-treasurer.

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An accountant, Haws was elected to his Weber County position in 1990. The Weber County clerk-auditor-treasurer is no longer a job today for one person.

“He was such a stalwart,” Hellstrom said. “He gave us good advice. He was just brilliant and always honest, honest with his opinion. It made it all work.” 

Haws was also elected to the state school board and served for 11 years, according to his obituary.

Haws became the treasurer of the National Association of State Boards of Education. But it was in his defeat in 2009 when he ran for Weber County treasurer that John Bond, who was the winner of that race, saw Haws’ true character.

Bond said he went to visit Haws after the election.

“Even though he had lost, he was so encouraging and so respectful,” Bond said of Haws. “I was so appreciative of the way he was. I was a fan of Greg’s.”

Those who spoke about Haws’ contributions often were emotional.

Spencer Stokes, a former Weber County commissioner and a member of the Utah State Board of Education, said Haws’ fiscal management was unbeatable.

“He was frugal before Frugal Dougall,” he said, referencing a slogan by John Dougall, the state auditor.

Besides saving money for the county, he also took great strides to hold government officials accountable, Stokes said.

Hiring Bond as the county’s first county auditor was one way Haws achieved accountability, Stokes said. Another was restructuring the budget so that residents and county workers could have a clear view of the operations of all county departments.

His efforts were so successful that Weber County won a national award for its internal budgeting, Stokes said.

“When Weber County consolidated the offices of county auditor and county clerk, Greg quickly made the two operations run smoothly and won national awards for best practices in accounting principles,” Hunter said. “He also received nationwide recognition for his outstanding internal budgets.”

Efforts to create a bond rating for the county were useful in restoring the Peery’s Egyptian Theatre and opening the Ogden Eccles Conference Center and the Weber County Center, he added.

By giving each county entity its own certified tax rating, Stokes said Haws created a situation that allowed the Weber County Library system to grow. When the library system obtained its own small tax increase, Stokes said the new Pleasant Valley Branch was a result.

Haws’ efforts also were instrumental in spinning off Weber Human Services into its own entity, according to Stokes.

Haws served on boards for Mission 2000, Utah Association of CPAs, United Way, Utah Transit Authority, Weber School District Foundation and The Permanent Community Impact Board.

“He was a great, great man,” Stokes said. “He very much had his head screwed on right.”

A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Haws served a mission to Alabama and Florida from 1971 to 1973.

He later served as a teacher, young men's president, elders quorum president, stake seventy, high councilor, bishop, young adult branch president and as a counselor in the presidency of the Weber State University stake. He also held a position in the Utah North Area as an assistant area auditor.

He and his wife, Debi, were called to serve as missionaries in West Africa in September 2012, according to his obituary. They later were reassigned to the Missouri Independence Mission until August 2014.

Family members will greet visitors at viewings from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, at Lindquist's Roy Mortuary, 3333 W. 5600 South in Roy and Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Muskrat Springs Ward LDS meetinghouse, 5000 S. 5900 West, in Hooper.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m on Saturday at the ward meetinghouse. 

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at jfrancis@standard.net or 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or like her on Facebook at facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis.  

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