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St. Peters veteran gets one last dance


William [Bill] Edward Hahs, a 28-year U.S. Army veteran, got one last dance with his dance partner from Dance Pizazz on Oct. 11 while in the ICU at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Peters.
In early October, Hahs was admitted to the hospital. He spent the next few days recovering and, with hope and high spirits, constantly talked about his plans to have 16 of his family members see him dance in the December Showcase Dance at Dance Pizazz. This showcase became Hahs’ fighting purpose despite his deteriorating health. Two weeks after being admitted to the hospital, it became apparent that Hahs would not make the Showcase, so his family asked Dance Pizazz if they could bring the show and dance party to him in the hospital. Hospice was called and helped get him a bed that would sit up more than typical hospital beds.

On Oct. 11, his ICU room became a ballroom with party lights, Big Band music and a room filled with a dozen members of Hahs’ family and dance friends.

Nikki McElvain danced with Hahs one last time, with Hahs leading with his fingertips from his bed. He was smiling one of the biggest smiles and tapping his foot to every beat, McElvain said. The party lasted an hour and attracted staff from all around the hospital. It was an unforgettable day for every person involved and, most importantly, Hahs. The next evening, Hahs passed away peacefully in his room.

Hahs proudly served his country and retired after more than 28 years in the United States Army. In his younger years, he enjoyed playing soccer, traveling and dancing with his wife. Hahs’ son recalled his parents dancing in the kitchen to an Artie Shaw record. After retirement, Hahs and his wife, Opal, settled in Lake Saint Louis. Years later, he began taking dance lessons. He enjoyed all types of music, but was a dedicated listener of Big Band music.

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