Former Alaska legislator Glenn Hackney has died at the age of 97. Hackney had been in a car accident that left him with numerous injuries earlier this week. His family had rushed to Fairbanks to be with him and Art Hackney, his Anchorage son who is a well-known political consultant, was at his side when he passed on Friday morning.
Hackney was a much beloved figure in Fairbanks, where he was known as a volunteer for the food bank. He was also a regular volunteer each Spring in cleaning up the roads of Anchorage in preparation for summer. In fact, he was one of the founders of the annual cleanup.
Art Hackney told the story of when the United States entered World War II, young Americans rushed to enlist, and his father was among them.
“Dad, like so many, was raised on a farm (upstate New York). Their high school let them graduate early so they could enlist. Dad’s brothers entered various services, and like his brother Howard he went for the Marines, and was completely shocked to be rejected because he had ‘an enlarged heart.'”
Glenn tried to enlist in other branches of the service, but received the same rejection.
“This is a young man who had rigged up a rope across the barn so he could train going hand-over-hand. He was fighting fit. Determined to serve, he ended up going into the Merchant Marine (which lost more people than any other service). He delivered munitions across both the Pacific and the Atlantic and watched ships in his convoys taken out by submarines. For so many farm boys, memories of service in WWII were the most vivid of their lifetimes, Dad was no different,” Art remembered. “He received a commendation from Ted and Don and Lisa at a Republican Women’s convention in Anchorage which I wrote that started with the enlarged heart story, then recounted his life of service and ended with, ‘It turns out they were right – Glenn Hackney does have a big heart.'”
Hackney served as a legislator for eight years and volunteered countless hours over the decades, serving as founding member of community organizations and on numerous boards. He was in demand at Republican conventions and meetings, where he was frequently asked to recite the Gettysburg Address, first delivered by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.
Hackney worked as a city purchasing agent in Fairbanks, was a special assistant to Gov. Keith Miller, a sales manager for television advertising, and was a longtime plant manager for Concrete Products of Alaska. Born in 1924, he was educated at Cornell University before moving to the Territory of Alaska in 1948.
More details will be added to this story as they become available.