Services set for April Hackney - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, October 1, 2020
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Services set for April Hackney

A celebration of life for April Hackney will take place Saturday, March 24, from 4-6 pm at the home of Gov. Bill Sheffield, 3125 Susitna View Ct, Anchorage, Alaska.

April was born April Lynn Newlun in Sitka, on Feb. 23, 1964, to Bruce and Lydia Newlun (Panamarkoff). She was of Tlingit, Russian, and Anglo heritage.

The well-known political consultant was half of the Hackney & Hackney agency. She died unexpectedly (and uncharacteristically) quietly on March 14, 2018. Her husband Art held her hand at Providence Hospital as she passed from this world.

April graduated from Sitka High School in 1982, and worked for the Forest Service before driving to Anchorage in 1985 in her Mustang, with only $100 in her pocket. She landed work with the Holden Hackney & Holmstrom advertising agency, where she rose from receptionist to administrative assistant to production manager to wife and business partner of company President Arthur Hackney. They married and formed the partnership Hackney & Hackney.

April was a shining light who had a powerful impact on every person she met – and she met people all over this planet. Whether it was a president, a senator or a person cleaning the streets in New Orleans, April wanted to know what made them tick. April had a way of coaxing stories from people that even their family members had never heard. April and Art remained business partners and best friends from the time they met until her death.

Her memory lives on in the countless community projects she supported, including Anchorage Town Square, Three Virtuoso’s concerts, Cyrano’s Eccentric Theatre, the Alaska Basketball Development Program and the Mayor’s Charity Ball. She served on George W. Bush’s National Finance Committee and was selected as a Whip for the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Pa. As a major donor to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, April’s name is on a plaque in the Center’s courtyard in Dallas, Texas, at Southern Methodist University.

Her clients included Senators Ted Stevens and Frank Murkowski, Congressman Don Young, Mayor George Wuerch, many State Representatives and Senators and Assembly members, as well as some of Alaska’s largest businesses.

She dearly loved Art’s daughters Heather and Alexis.

April traveled widely. She petted a rhinoceros, helped remove a spear from the side of an elephant on the Laikipia Plateau of Kenya, swam with sharks and dolphins, rode camels, fished, zip-lined, hang-glided, kayaked, snorkeled, climbed tall trees and enjoyed life – a life that ended far too soon.

[Read: April Hackney, creative political force, has passed]

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I am sorry to hear of this. Also, Kim Blend of Alaska Airlines recently died unexpectedly. What is the world is going on?

  • What happened to April Hackney?

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