Peter Hass, 36, collapsed and died from overexertion at the end of the Kaiser Permanente half marathon earlier this year.
The Orinda resident's Feb. 6 death made Bay Area headlines. And five months later, San Francisco's Department of Emergency Management issued a report that said there weren't enough trained paramedics at the finish line that day.
But Jordan Wright wants to steer some focus to who his friend Hass was in life and not just remember his storied death. So Wright is organizing a charity golf tournament in San Ramon to raise money for Hass' surviving family and Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation.
Wright says the fundraiser is also a memorial to a life lived to the fullest.
Hass was an entertainer, the life of the party. He loved his family – his wife, Eden, and their two young children, Gavin and baby Eden.
Hass and his wife – both animal lovers – started a pet toy company called Petsport USA, which is located in Pittsburg.
"Pete naturally was a big animal lover so it is only fitting that we named ARF the beneficiary," Wright wrote in an email.
If you plan to attend:
WHAT: The Pete Hass Classic
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 22
WHERE: Bridges Golf Club, 9000 S. Gale Ridge Road in San Ramon
More about Pete, a letter from his friend Jordan Wright:
He asked me if I wanted to go as casually as if he ask if I wanted to grab a beer ... that was Pete. I had never been to China so I was in. Pete knew how to navigate China like it's was his second home. He knew the culture well, he knew how to get things done.
Where ever other "tourist" floundered Pete would flourish. Although that was Pete's first time in the city of Beijing he was not on the Visiting team he was definitely Home. His company had been manufacturing products in China for years.
We were exciting to be the Olympics! We'd get stuck or want tickets to some event. Pete would disappear for a few minutes and come back with tickets that were supposedly sold out. If there was a line out the door for a bar he would find us a way in 10 minutes.
You would then find him at an open table in a packed bar with four beers ready to go and his classic cheshire cat grin. He was good and he knew it. It was the only way he knew how to play the game. He carried this drive throughout all aspects of his life, business, social, recreational, sports ... I loved this about Pete, eventually I would work for him shortly after this trip.
I knew I wanted to learn from him.
To backtrack when I first met Pete... I had heard of Pete before I had met him. This was common for him, his reputation would almost always proceed him. He was literally a "character."
Nothing was out of line for Pete. You had to learn to not be surprised on the things he did or more often would say. He loved to joke and when I say joke I mean Daniel Tosh-caliber jokes. Shockers, and he would say it to anyone anytime. He would stun you and follow it up with a focused stare feasting on your reaction and a contagious laugh. You couldn't get offended if you tried, you had no choice but to join him laughing.
Pete was overseas when he jumped head first into some body of water and cracked his tooth on a hidden boulder. He called the dentist office where my girlfriend was working and said he was flying back early to get it fixed by them. Pete had made good friends with the dentist and her staff like he did everyone in his vast network.
She came in on a saturday accompanied by my girlfriend to take care of Pete, because it was Pete. He's one of those people with one name like Madonna or Prince, he was just Pete (except his name comes with a roll of the eyes and a smile from the person hearing it).
After getting his tooth fixed unlike a normal happy patient or responsible business man he did not send flowers or fruit basket to the office for their favor. He took the dentist, her husband, my girlfriend (I wasn't available), his wife, and brother in-law to a Cuban restaurant in walnut creek. It was his way of saying thanks.
Dinner and pitchers of Mojitos was the plan for that thursday night. I would hear later that Pete ran the show with non-stop jokes, observations, and laughter. His energy was infectious and focus was on always on upping the tempo and getting everyone to Pete's level. He never intended the night to end just with dinner. He would make sure everyone stayed out laughing and dancing until the bars closed that night.
The next day my girlfriend would tell me about her night. "This Pete guy is crazy" He was telling me he was excited for tomorrow because he would be blowing up tennis balls at work with an air compresser to test their strength. He invited us to play on his co-ed softball team. I knew instantly, "I'm gonna like this guy."
And I did. Pete and I were a lot alike. We joked the same and love to get shit done. Even better he was my window into the future. Pete is 10 years older then me but you would never know it by the way he looked or by his energy level. Pete had spunk. I liked knowing that in 10 more years I wouldn't have to act old. I loved to chat with him about life and learn about the successes and mistakes he made. He always was giving me advice.
Pete had a lot of success in business from a young age and it was comforting to see someone so successful with so much love for living. He wasn't textbook and it was refreshing. You could have your cake and eat it to. I'm forever grateful to learn that from Pete. He had his own unique playbook for life and I admired it.
I'm a budding entrepreneur now. My website mojo.co launched it's beta last week. It's a new schedule based dating site. I think of Pete pretty often. He'll just pop in my head randomly as I'm jumping from task to task. Pete was a natural born hustler and I was glad to have learned how to work fast and always find solutions. He would always find a way to get things done and nothing was impossible to him.
I keep that mentality close to me these days as I need it more than ever. He would so very often say "today is the best day of my life" and unlike most people who say stuff like that he actually meant it. I strive to live my life like that now as do many others that Pete's life touched. We are all grateful to have had him in our lives.
Hopefully this helps provide a glimpse of the life of Pete and who he was.