Albert Francis Hackett


Orono - Albert Francis Hackett, 88, passed away peacefully on July 13, 2019, at his home in Orono, ME. The son of Edward William Hackett, Sr. and Helen (Murphy) Hackett, he was born in Milo on June 22, 1931. Affectionately known by family and friends as "Popeye," he grew up in Derby listening to baseball games broadcasted by the only station powerful enough to reach his small town, and there grew his love of the New York Yankees. He graduated from Milo High School, Class of 1949, where he was a standout athlete; he then earned a B.S. in Education from the University of Maine, Class of 1953. While at UMaine, he played basketball for two years and baseball for four. In baseball, he set three career records upon graduation, including most RBI's, most total bases, and most home runs. At just 16 years old, he tried out with the Boston Braves and then with the Boston Red Sox a few years later. In 1985, he became a member of the State of Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, and the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. In recognition of his contributions to area youth, he also was inducted into the Class of 2012 Hall of Honors by the Eastern Maine Section of the Maine Sports Legends.

Al entered the United States Army in 1953 and was assigned to an Engineering Company, but soon he was put on "temporary duty assignment" to play baseball across Europe. He was rightfully proud of his service to his Country, but he often jokingly described his time playing ball in Germany as, "the key to maintaining World Peace during the Cold War." He was released from Active Duty to the Reserves in 1955. As it was with all of the "Hackett Boys," Al pursued a career in education, knowing that he wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. He went on to earn his M.Ed. in School Administration from the University of Maine and began his career as an educator in 1956, accepting a teaching and coaching position at Foxcroft Academy in Dover. In 1959, he married Sharon Morrill, also a native of Derby. In 1961, he became the Director of Guidance and Assistant Principal at Schenck High School in East Millinocket, a job he loved and planned to keep for many years. He often said that when he was a student on the UMaine campus, he imagined what it would be like to work at the University, but he never dared dream it could be possible. With the encouragement and support of his eldest brother, Ed, he was selected to be the Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Maine in 1966, and he proudly remained at UMaine until his retirement.

In 1967, Al and Sharon adopted a son from the Good Samaritans Agency in Bangor. He loved to tell the story of how his father-in-law, Frank Morrill, needed some time and convincing before he was ready to accept the idea of adoption. When the baby finally arrived, Al and Sharon named him Frank, his namesake, further dispelling any doubts Grampy Morrill might have about adoption. With a dream job, a wonderful wife, a newborn, and a house to call his own, Al often said that life was more than he could have hoped for at the time. Unfortunately, the young family was soon met with the sadness of losing Sharon, who died unexpectedly in 1971. Al dedicated the rest of his life to being a loving and caring father, supported along the way by his brothers and their families, especially his eldest brother, Ed, and his wife, Mary, who lived right next door. He continued to keep Sharon's parents involved in young Frank's life for the remainder of their own, helping to care for them when they could no longer live alone.

Al also dedicated his time and talents to his job at UMaine, spending the rest of his career helping young people pursue their education. With a reputation for finding ways to provide support and options for students who needed it most, high school guidance counselors throughout Maine and New England often made Al their first call when they had "a tough case." A supportive, yet principled counsel to coaches who brought young prospects to campus with a love and knowledge of athletics, Al was charged with the admission of freshmen athletes. Through his years at UMaine, he never missed his morning coffee breaks and afternoon rounds of golf, where he enjoyed doling out ribbings to his good friends.

While living in Orono, Al was an active member of the community, coaching various Little League and Babe Ruth teams over the years. Despite his busy work schedule that often took him away from home, he somehow managed to attend all of his son's games. Al proudly served as a member of the Orono Recreation Committee and the Orono School Committee. Perhaps second only to his love of his work at UMaine, he took great pleasure in broadcasting games with George Hale on WABI for nearly three decades, covering high school and college football, basketball, and baseball. The duo was on the air every year for the entire Eastern Maine Tournament at the Bangor Auditorium, broadcasting all of the boys' and girls' games. The highlight of his time in the booth was covering nearly the entire UMaine Baseball Team schedule for many years, traveling all over the country with the team, including six trips to the College World Series in Omaha, NB.

After almost 30 wonderful years, Al proudly retired as Associate Director Emeritus of Admissions in 1994. Not one to slow down, he enjoyed working for the Iris Network for the visually impaired as a part-time driver. He continued his life of service to others when he opened Bertrum's Home for the Elderly with his partner Nancy Morse, his loving companion with whom he spent the winter months at their home in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Popeye was a wonderful father and grandfather, a caring partner, a generous uncle and family member, and a loyal friend. He treasured his time with people, especially his dearest friends and brothers, and developed an especially close relationship with his brother, Don, and sister-in-law, Ruth, during his retirement years. He had a way of making everyone he met feel special, asking questions until he found a shared connection to someone they knew. He was the kind of person who would provide advice when asked, but never judge or second-guess someone's decision. He loved to share a laugh and tell stories, and he had a way of making friends with everyone he met. He taught his family to enjoy every day of life, to appreciate the 7th inning stretch, and to cherish the ones you love.

In addition to his parents, Al was predeceased by his wife, Sharon Hackett (Morrill); his two brothers, John and Edward Hackett, Jr. and his wife, Mary; and his sister, Mary Buck and her husband Chester. He is survived by his loving partner of almost 30 years, Nancy Morse; son, Frank Hackett, and wife, Julie; grandchildren Parker, Cameron, Kelsey, and Jessica; brother, Donald Hackett, and his wife, Ruth; sister-in-law Betty Hackett; and many nieces and nephews.

Al was a devout Catholic and man of faith. At his request, no services will be held. A private interment will take place at Greenwood Cemetery, Milo. Those wishing to remember Al may make gifts in his memory to the Iris Network, 189 Park Ave., Portland, ME 04102, or to Beacon Hospice, 289 State St., Suite B, Bangor, ME 04401.
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Published on July 19, 2019
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24 posts

Rodney Bushway
Aug 24, 2019
Condolences to his son Frank and his family along with all Al’s living relatives. I grew up in Derby not far from where Al’s mother Helen had her store. The entire Hackett family were the best people you could ever hope to know and made Derby a great town to grow up. Al was my favorite since he gave me my chance to begin my life in the educational system and to teach and do research for 37 years at the University of Maine. In December 1966 I received my early admissions letter to attend the University of Maine class of 1971 signed by Al. Al gave me the opportunity to do want I really enjoyed and wanted to do in life. May you rest in peace AL and thanks to you and all the Hackett’s ...for my initial educational endeavors.

Al I bet you are very successful in heaven.
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cliff and June McCormick
Jul 31, 2019
Our sympathy to you , Frank and your family. May your wonderful memories sustain you in the days to come. We have fond memories of your father from our years in Orono.
Tony Hamlin
Jul 26, 2019
My father grew up next door to the Hacketts in Derby and in my youth I heard in my father's voice the respect he had for the Hackett boys. I knew Popeye from the late 50s when he ran the Milo Rec Dept in the summer and taught us to love the game of baseball. He was our All -American hero; a flesh and blood Jack Armstrong; he was gifted, generous, patient, honorable, and always interested in what was taking place with whomever he spoke. When I attended UMO and played hoops for Skip Chappelle in the early 70s, Popeye always was there watching and encouraging. He never forgot that he came from a large, Catholic family in Derby who was raised in the hard times of the Depression. He brought honor... to his family, town, and state. Popeye was my earliest hero; he was quite a guy. My sincere condolences to you and your large family. The Hacketts are special people and Popeye and his siblings represented the best America has to offer. God Bless.Read more
Jon Perry
Jul 24, 2019
Frank, Julie and Family,

It is with a heavy heart that i write this about your beloved Father, Father in law, and grandfather. Mr. Hacket, as we all called him playing ball, was a steadying influence for all f us and just a tremendous resource and voice of reason. I remember it as his guidance and suggestions selecting courses, for me anyway, to enroll in entering my Freshman year at UMaine. And the one trip he didn't make, my Junior year to Texas, my Dad filled in , although not quite as good as your Dad. My heartfelt prayers and condolences to you, and a hug to Julie as I worked with her a couple of years at OTHS. God bless you all and thinking of you during this difficult time.
Leo Pelleriti
Jul 22, 2019
To the Hackett family,
Our sincerest condolences from the entire Pelleriti family. Your father touched the lives of generations of student athletes from the pee wee programs to their college degrees. Your dad exemplified the positive side of human character. To Al Hackett losing was never a tragedy; it was only a part of the winning process. You were a strong advocate for my coaching career at O.H.S.; both during the good seasons and the not so good seasons. One does not forget that kind of commitment nor that kind of support.

Coach P.
peter howard
Jul 21, 2019
My wife Vivian got to know Al and Nancy when we moved to Conners Mobile Home Park in St, Petersburg. We all lived in the same corner of the park. Once I found out that we were both from Maine and both former guidance counselors the friendship grew. Being a Red Sox fan and Al a Yankee fan we had many pleasant talks about the teams. We would attend Rars games when were there because we both got cheap seats!! Al loved his coffee. There was a group of us who would get together several times a week to go to Dunkin Donuts. Al took me to Tampa where the Yankees spring training . Got to meet Stump Merril a few times. Our little neighborhood had many great times. Will miss Al with his great sense o...f humor. Being from Millinocket we shared many stories about when he was at Schenck High School. So from Maine in summers and St. Pete in winters we miss you Al. Best to your good friend and companion Nancy.Read more
Jenny Rideout
Jul 21, 2019
Frank, your father was a wonderful man. I hope you find comfort knowing how beloved he was, and of course how much he loved you. You are in my thoughts.
Jenny Rideout
Tom Scott
Jul 21, 2019
Frank and family:
We all have our inspirations leading to who we are and what we do. Your dad clearly provided that for you.
What a wonderful legacy he left all of you.
May he Rest In Peace.
Michael and Jeanne MASON
Jul 21, 2019
Al was a special person. He will be missed by everyone that came in contact with . love those YANKEES . PRAYS BE WITH YOU.
Laura Vittorioso
Jul 21, 2019
I have very fond memories of Al Hacket when traveling with Pat Monahan, then vision rehabilitation teacher at The Iris Network. Al was just that kind of person, a people person, who was interested in everyone and what they were doing. Those trips traveling to peoples' home with Al and Pat were very memorable because of Al. He just had a way of connecting with everyone. Al was very dedicated to the work of The Iris and participated in activities outside the scope of his job as a driver. Al was certainly an example of living life to the fullest and living life well. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Joseph& dyane
Jul 20, 2019
You will be in our prayers RIP
Patricia Monahan
Jul 20, 2019
Al was my driver for 15 years as I did itinerant Vision Rehab Therapy (VRT) work in rural Maine with The Iris Network. He went to FL in the winters for the last 10 years. So, I would have to find another driver for the winters. This proved to be challenging because no other driver measured up to Al. Al was willing to do anything to help with our work. He would work on the weekend, if requested, he would transport clients, he would drive in almost any weather, and he would make himself available when needed. I remember another VRT’s driver received “employee of the year” award and I thought if folks only knew how Al went above and beyond the call of duty, he would certainly receive an a...ward. I so much appreciated having Al, especially in the beginning, since itinerant VRTs work in isolation. He was always there willing to help even though he knew little about my work. But, he was interested in everything and loved the people. Al was 72 when he started driving for me and was 86 when he stopped. And, he only stopped driving because I stopped working. He was a special person and I have been so fortunate to have known him.
May he Rest In Peace.
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Alan Whittemore
Jul 19, 2019
My condolences to Al's family. Al served as my mentor in the UMaine Office of Admission, especially after my own father's passing, he took me under his loving arms which meant I was treated with sharp barbs and critiqued in the special way Al let you know he cared. I was included at his coffee breaks with Len Harlow and John Winkin elevating me to a status I didn't deserve but thoroughly enjoyed and appreciate to this day. He taught me humility. He was and remains my personal hero. May God hold him in the palm of his hand.
bob wood plumber
Jul 19, 2019
great man sadly missed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jul 19, 2019
It was a true honor to know Coach Hackett. He was a great influence in my life. God rest his good heart and soul.
Father Gregory O'Keefe
Jul 19, 2019
Al was simply one of the nicest people you could ever have the good fortune of meeting. He was a gentleman who excelled in helping others. If he got involved in your life, you were sure to win and triumph over all adversities and succeed. May the Lord rest his soul among the Saints and may he rise one day in glory!

We will celebrate a requiem service for him at St. Michael's parish in Tucson on Sunday, July 21st. Rest in peace Al...we'll see you again soon in Paradise.

+Fr. Gregory
Priscilla Applegate
Jul 19, 2019
I will never forget my many years working with Al and taking Frank to the dentist when his father was on the road traveling for the Admissions Office. We shared hours talking about our families and just enjoying time together. Will miss seeing him at mass in the summer. RIP my friend.
Brian Howe
Jul 19, 2019
My demanding high school algebra teacher at FA. RIP Al.
John "JK" Kolasinski
Jul 19, 2019
My friend you will be deeply missed. I so treasure those nights in the press box of Mahaney diamond during the EMABL where we talked baseball endlessly. It was there a great friendship developed. One that saw you drive the vans for our Husson teams on our spring break and then for you to make it a point to come over very year and see and visit with me when my Siena Heights teams were in Florida to play each year. Your friendship made me a better person. I will miss you greatly!
Ron Bean
Jul 19, 2019
A Memory: A month or so after Jesus saved me, I found myself unemployed with no future. It was December and an acquaintance named Al Hackett who was the assistant director of admissions at the University of Maine asked me why he hadn't heard me on the radio lately. (I had been in broadcasting.) I told him what was going on and he suggested that I go back to school. I told him that I had ended my academic career by majoring in beer and poker, hadn't attended any classes, failed them all, and had a cumulative GPA of less than 1.5. In addition, second semester started in a few weeks. "Come see me", Al said. Al specialized in hard cases and I was one. I don't know how he did it, but God used him... to get me back in school, get approved to take 21 credits that spring and 9 that summer and graduate with a GPA high enough to earn a degree in education in August. A month later I was teaching. Al Hackett passed away this week and I will always remember his care for me at that crucial time and how it changed my life's course.Read more
Liz Downing
Jul 19, 2019
Many, many special and fond memories of working with Al in the UMaine Admissions Office. What a kind, fun and lovely human being. We will all miss him, and we raise our UMaine Steins to Al Hacklett, a true friend of UMaine always!
Raymond Cota
Jul 19, 2019
Frank and family: I loved your Dad. He was one of the first friends that I made in Orono, when we moved back. His lasting legacy for me was smoothing out my rough edges. By his example, I never missed a sports game of Joey and Amy. He was a quiet leader by example. Oh, and the morning coffee and subtle needles that he injected into those sitting in the booth. Lot's of great memories from a wonderful father and friend. May he rest in peace. My sincere condolences for your loss.
david gray
Jul 19, 2019
Frank, very sorry to read of your dad"s passing. I enjoyed our visits either at the tournaments or on the Orono campus.
David Gray
Frank Hackett
Jul 18, 2019