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Levi's Peter Hass dies at 86

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Peter Hass Sr., who boosted civil rights while building Levi Strauss & Co. into a world-class jeans maker, died in San Francisco of natural causes at age 86.

During a six-decade career, the great-grandnephew of company founder Levi Strauss was president when the company went public in 1971 and chairman when the family reclaimed it in a 1985 leveraged buyout.

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Hass, who died Saturday, and late brother Walter Hass Jr. wove social responsibility into the jeans maker.

In the 1950s, Peter Hass told leaders in the South that he would open factories there only if blacks and whites were granted equal status.

Time magazine honored the brothers in 1953 as "Leaders of Tomorrow."

"He used Levi's economic leverage to bring about social change in a way that was not easy but very important," the University of California's Harley Shaiken told The Los Angeles Times.

Hass and his family donated millions to social and charitable causes.

"My uncle Peter distinguished himself with his strong values and generosity," said Levi Chairman Robert Haas.

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