ELIZABETHTOWN — Paul Francis Hackett, a lifelong educator from Elizabethtown, died on Friday, Aug. 14, 2009. Born in Cambridge, Mass. on July 27, 1926, he was the son of Joseph and Eileen Murphy Hackett. He was a citizen of the Greatest Generation.
After graduating from Belmont High School in 1944, Paul volunteered to serve his country as an enlisted man in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War. After attending Naval Training at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., Paul served as a LCM Coxswain on the USS Wheatland in the Pacific theater of operations. He later piloted a landing craft for the U.S. Navy and was among the first U.S. troops to land on the Japanese mainland.
After the war, Paul completed a bachelor’s degree in physical education at Arnold College. He later achieved a master’s degree from the Boston Teachers College and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Administrative Science from the University of Connecticut.
In 1951, following an exciting cross-country journey, Paul took his first teaching position in Merced, Calif. Over the years, he functioned as the Principal, History Teacher, Phys Ed instructor, Coach and “jack of all trades” at a very small school located in White Mountain, N.H.
He was also the headmaster at the Dewey School in Great Barrington, Mass., a Principal at Queensbury Elementary School, in Queensbury, and finished his career as the Director of Student Teaching at Plattsburgh State University College, where he worked for 37 years.
An educator for over half a century, Paul took great pride in the profession and was always honest with his students. He helped generations of educators achieve their degrees and worked hard to find them placement upon graduation. Paul knew a good teacher when he saw one and wasn’t afraid to tell others to seek alternative occupations. Three of his children graduated with degrees in education.
Paul was a wonderful father to his five children and a great grandfather to his nine grandchildren. He was a consummate sports fan who favored the Boston Bruins, the Red Sox, the Celtics, the N.Y. Giants and the Plattsburgh State Cardinals Hockey Team. His coaching background was evident whenever he entered an ice arena, which he often did when his children and later, grandchildren laced up their skates.
Undoubtedly, the greatest love of his life was his wife, Mary Elizabeth Byrne Hackett, who he married on Aug. 25, 1951. He was preceded in death by Mary, who departed on July 11, 2007. After being together for 56 years, they are now happily reunited behind the Pearly Gates.
Paul is survived by his children: Malachy Hackett of Elizabethtown; Eileen Hackett of Pendelton, Ind.; Joseph Hackett, his wife Maria and granddaughters Willow and Meadow of Ray Brook; Elizabeth Hackett of Willsboro, and grandchildren Corey, Mary and Malachy; and Paul Hackett Jr., his wife Lisa and grandchildren Olivia, Hannah, Cameron and Madelyne of Red Hook.
He was predeceased by his brother, Joseph John Hackett.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 21 at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Elizabethtown. A memorial service will follow the Mass at the church hall.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Paul’s name to the American Heart Association. The family will be participating in the Plattsburgh Start Heart Walk, on Saturday, Sept. 26, and welcomes Paul’s friends to join them at this event. For more information call 643-9760.
W.M.Marvins Sons funeral home in Elizabethtown is in charge of arrangements. For online condolences, go to www.wmmarvins.com.