Late in his life when he ran for state representative, Ted Haley knew he didn’t have a legitimate chance of winning.
But winning the 2004 election wasn’t really the goal for the surgeon , who ran as a Libertarian.
“He wanted his opinion printed in the voter’s pamphlet,” said Sharman Haley, Haley’s daughter. “He had some pretty iconoclastic ideas.”
Ted Haley was a proponent of legalizing marijuana and marriage for gay people. He wanted to increase renewable energy sources, pay teachers more and reduce immigration rules.
Haley died last week at Madigan Army Medical Center. He was 96.
Haley, the son of Brown & Haley co-founder J.C. Haley, was born and raised in Tacoma and attended Stadium High School. He graduated from Amherst College in 1944 and the University of Rochester School of Medicine in ‘47.
Haley served as a doctor with an Army MASH unit during the Korean War, eventually retiring as a lieutenant colonel.
He told United Press International in 1982 that his first patient upon arriving in Korea as a second lieutenant was a dog that a quick-triggered watchman had shot by mistake.
“They brought the dog into the M.A.S.H. hospital and called Haley, who had just arrived,” Haley said. “They didn't know if they would let me operate on people so they wanted to see how I did on this dog.
“I operated on the dog and brought him around so they decided to let me operate on people.”
At the end of the Korean War in 1953, Haley established a private practice in Lakewood. He also treated patients in Bolivia, Rwanda and Pakistan.
Haley, a Republican, was elected to represent Washington’s 28th District (encompassing Lakewood, Steilacoom, Fircrest and University Place) in the House in 1974 and was re-elected in 1976 and 1978. He was elected to the state Senate in November 1979 to fill a partial term and was elected to a four-year term in 1981.
Former President Gerald Ford campaigned for Haley during his run to unseat U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks. Ford gave a speech during a two-hour breakfast at the Executive Inn in Fife on July 29, 1982. Haley ended up losing that election with 33 percent of the vote.
Haley believed politicians should serve no more than 10 years in office, said Sharman Haley, so he did not seek reelection in ‘85. He continued to work as a surgeon and in 2003 he became an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.
Haley loved mountaineering and skiing. He was an original shareholder of Crystal Mountain Resort and he passed along his passion for outdoor sports to his children and grandchildren. His grandson, Colin Haley, is a professional mountaineer.
Haley’s first wife, Margaret Shaw Haley, died in 1972. His second wife, Rosel Haley, lives in Tacoma.
The state Department of Health suspended Haley’s license to practice as a surgeon for 10 year in September 1989 after he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old whose spleen he had removed after a car crash. The department stayed the suspension in lieu of probation that included monitoring of his practice and monthly psychiatric evaluations. Haley appealed the sanctions, but they were upheld by the state Supreme Court.
Haley unsuccessfully ran against Dicks as an independent in 1996 while advocating the legalization of medical marijuana, and he was one of the prominent endorsers of Initiative 685, the 1997 measure that legalized medical marijuana in Washington state.
Haley attempted to regain election to the state Legislature in 2002 and 2004, running as a Libertarian candidate in the 26th District from his Key Peninsula home. He was running on a platform of a state income tax, drug legalization, allowing human cloning and stem cell research, converting to the metric system, free health care and supporting physician-assisted suicide. He finished third each time.
In 2007 he wrote and self-published a book called “Nation of Nitwits and Barbarians.”
Information from The News Tribune archives was used in this report.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653