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Man From Mars Productions

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Most of us have known someone who was involved in an office romance. This is the story of the earliest office romance involving two employees of WDRC.

The story began on December 2, 1907 when Marguerite Rose Reichel was born in New Haven, CT. Peggy attended local schools and graduated from Stebbings Secretarial School. The 1927 New Haven City Directory indicated she was employed as a stenographer.

Shoppers Special Program on WDRC - Walter B. Haase, Master of Ceremonies

In fact, Peggy was hired as a secretary and bookkeeper at WDRC which was then located on the top floor of the glamorous Taft Hotel in New Haven. Three years earlier a young man had joined the station as announcer and manager.

If Walter Haase became the right hand man of WDRC founder Franklin M. Doolittle, Peggy Reichel became his left hand.

Peggy Reichel at WDRC's New Haven studios in the 1930s
Peggy Reichel at WDRC's New Haven
studios in the 1930s

 
 

At the behest of the CBS Radio Network, Doolittle moved WDRC to Hartford in November 1930. Since there were no commuter buses, Peggy drove from New Haven each day - in an era long before there were superhighways. At first Walter Haase was her supervisor.

Peggy was never an announcer in the way we think of air personalities today, though she did appear on the air from time to time reading commercials or society news.

Eventually Cupid's arrow targeted Peggy and Walter. They were married in 1938 and moved to Wethersfield.

Radio Daily magazine, August 6, 1937, p.8
Radio Daily, August 6, 1937, p.8

 
 

Broadcasting magazine, January 15, 1938, p.82 - secretary Peggy Reichel sorts mail along with WDRC announcers Harvey Olson, Bob Provan and Eleanor Nickerson
Broadcasting magazine, January 15, 1938, p.82.

As was the social custom of the time, it was generally not considered appropriate for married couples to work together. On April 28, 1939 Peggy turned in her notice and left Mr. Doolittle's employment.

While Peggy stayed home and raised their young son, Richard, Walter climbed the career ladder at WDRC. He served as studio manager, program manager and station manager, and secretary of the corporation in 1947. His 35-year radio career ended on August 3, 1959 when Buckley-Jaegar Broadcasting Corporation bought the company.

Broadcasting magazine, September 15, 1938, p.67 - Peggy reichel was one of many WDRC employees who had lengthy daily commutes
Broadcasting magazine, September 15, 1938, p.67

 
 

Walter Haase died on July 19, 1975. Peggy decided her life wasn't over so she joined an organization called USA65, a group of retirees who wished to stay busy and socialize. They took small assembly jobs from area manufacturers who didn't want to pay factory wages. Peggy was their bookkeeper for ten years.

 
 

At the age of 90 Peggy expressed an interest in computers, so her son bought her one. As she aged, and mobility became increasingly difficult, Peggy loved communicating by e-mail, online shopping, staying up on the news, and playing Solitaire.

The last time she renewed her driver's license Peggy was 96 years old. Maintaining independence was important to her, though she gave up her license six years later.

She spent her final years at Aaron Manor in Chester, CT. Marguerite Rose (Reichel) Haase died on December 21, 2012, 19 days after her 105th birthday!

We are indebted to Richard and Sally Haase for their contributions to this page.

Peggy (Reichel) Haase enjoys a piece of cake on her 105th birthday in 2012!
Peggy (Reichel) Haase enjoys a piece
of cake on her 105th birthday in 2012!

 
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