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Donald Haack, 78, diamond expert, adventurer, author and founder of Donald Haack Diamonds & Fine Gems in Charlotte passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 1, 2009
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Donald Haack
Donald Haack, a diamond broker was been referred to as the “Indiana Jones of the diamond industry.” He had diamond experience as a miner, trader, and broker on the national and international level.

Don was born and raised in Milwaukee and West Bend, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a major in Economics and Finance after which he served in the U.S. Marines at Cherry Point, N.C., his first exposure to North Carolina and Charlotte.

Don spent 20 years abroad as manager and consultant of diamond mining companies in British Guiana and Venezuela, a licensed buyer of rough diamonds, and as a pilot with over 5,000 hours of bush flying. He organized and operated “Guyana Wings,” an air charter service to remote diamond mining areas of South America. In the 70’s, he designed, built, and operated ocean-going excursion boats in Grenada and St. Martin and maintained international gem connections in Europe where he had one of the biggest sales to a royal family.

He had a rare insight of the inner workings of the DeBeers cartel, and many anecdotes concerning his friend, the late Harry Winston, who donated the Hope diamond to the Smithsonian institute.

After two revolutions in third world countries, Don, his wife, Janet, and four children returned to the U.S. in 1981 where they opened, Donald Haack Diamonds in Charlotte, N.C.

Don served as president of the World Trade Association, past chairman of the Better Business Bureau Board of Directors and Chairman and President of the Foreign Trade Zone. He had served as Chairman of the Rotary Foundation, on the Charlotte Symphony Board of Directors, and was a member of Metrolina Business Council, Chamber of Commerce, NC Wine and Grape Growers Assoc., NC Writer’s Network, Charlotte Writer’s Club. Don was a charter board member of the Charlotte Steeplechase Association. He wrote articles, and published three books: Bush Pilot in Diamond Country, Diamond Safari, and Diamonds ‘neath My Wings. He lectured in the field of world trade and gems, and at his passing was designing a hi-speed ocean-going boat.
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