Friday, October 30th 2020   |

Shirley K. Haspel dies in Dallas at 95

SHIRLEY KRASNE HASPEL,  passed away on Sunday, August 9, 2020, just two days shy of her 96th birthday in her adopted home of Dallas, to where she had relocated following Hurricane Katrina.


Despite her living away from her beloved city of New Orleans, the place she had called home since 1948, Haspel maintained many close relationships over the past 15 years. She added to the ongoing restoration of the city by her continued generous charitable giving. 

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, her parents soon moved to Kansas City when she was just a mere infant, carrying her in a basket, according to family legend. She graduated from Sunset Hill School and matriculated to Connecticut College for Women before meeting her future husband, Dr. Robert Ber Haspel, at a Kansas City wedding one night. 

The Haspels were married shortly thereafter in 1948, making New Orleans their new home. After raising her family, Haspel enrolled at Tulane University, from where she earned a master’s degree in Social Work in 1974. She began her new career, working  tirelessly to improve the lives of her clients and also volunteered her few spare hours with the reading program “For the Children.” 

She and her husband supported Breakthrough, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, My House, Dollars for Scholars, the New Orleans Council for Young Children, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and Woldenberg Village. In addition, Haspel was a supporter of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Touro Infirmary Foundation, KaBoom, Teach for America, The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, Jewish Children’s Regional Service (JCRC) and Kingsley House.

Both Haspels were awarded the coveted Tzedakah Award from the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana (JEF) for their past largesse and continued charitable giving. They also were recipients of the Hannah G. Solomon Award from the Greater New Orleans Section of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and the A.I. Botnick “Torch of Liberty” Award from the  South Central Region of the Anti-Defamation League.

Prior to the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, her husband, who had been battling cancer, was forced to ride out the storm at Touro Infirmary with her and her son. After the storm had passed, conditions forced them to evacuate to Dallas, where her husband eventually succumbed to complications from surgery a few days after arriving.

It was then Haspel elected to make Dallas her home, a difficult transition for someone who was 82 at the time. 

After her husband’s death, with Friends of City Park, she established the Robert B. Haspel Stage in the Botanical Gardens.

In Dallas,  Haspel was a supporter of Jewish Family Service, Dallas Food Bank, Temple Emanu-El, Lighthouse for the Blind, and the Equest Foundation.

Haspel was a gifted visual artist before vision problems later in life forced her to abandon painting. She was also well-known for creating magnificent floral arrangements at the many beautiful parties she hosted.

Haspel is survived by her three sons and their partners: David and his wife Victoria Mundt Haspel of Nashville, TN; John and his wife Amy Gainsburgh Haspel; and Robert and his fiancée Augusta Rego Barros of Baja, Mexico; her sister, Delores “Dot” Neustadt of  Dallas; seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations are suggested to: Kingsley House, 1600 Constance St.New Orleans, LA 70130; Jewish Children’s Regional Service (JCRS),  P.O. Box 7368, Metairie, LA 70010-7368 or Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas, 5402 Arapaho Rd., Dallas, Texas 75248

Donations to local food banks or the the charity of your choice are also appreciated.

Arrangements were by Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home. For more information, call 504-486-6331. Condolences may be expressed online at

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