Former Alaska state legislator, beloved community volunteer Glenn Hackney dead at age 97

A former state senator beloved by his home community of Fairbanks, Alaska just passed away this week.

Former Alaska state legislator Glenn Hackney died Friday at the age of 97 due to severe injuries sustained in a car accident earlier in the week, a local media outlet reported.

His death was confirmed by his son, Art Hackney, a political consultant from Anchorage, who along with other family members was by his father’s side as he passed.

War veteran, state legislator, and community volunteer

Hackney had been born in New York in 1924 and, like so many other young men of that era, rushed to enlist in the U.S. military during World War II, according to his son.

Unfortunately, due to medical screenings that detected an enlarged heart, none of the major military branches would accept Hackney, so he ultimately joined the Merchant Marines and sailed in convoys that transported vital munitions and other supplies for the troops across both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

After the war’s conclusion, Hackney moved to Alaska in 1948 and soon established himself as a fixture in the Fairbanks area where he worked a variety of different jobs for the city as well as in the concrete and construction industry.

He eventually entered politics and served as a state legislator for eight years, but it was his role as a caring community volunteer that really sealed his legacy of greatness.

Loss of a “great Alaskan” and “true American hero”

“Alaska has lost a true American hero with the passing of Glenn Hackney, a man known far and wide for his steadfast dedication to the community and love for Alaska,” Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said in a Facebook post and noted Hackney’s service in WWII as well as the state legislature from 1973 to 1980.

“For over 50 years, Glenn could be found with a smile and a trash bag cleaning up along the roads all around Fairbanks during ‘Clean Up Days.’ Glenn was also a renowned supporter of the Fairbanks Community Food Bank, bringing in literally millions of pounds of food over many years for those in need in the Interior area,” the senator continued.

“Glenn inspired people of all ages to get involved in their community and taught us all that if you see a need, you should do something good,” Sullivan added. “Julie and I always enjoyed our time with Glenn — to hear his stories and to be inspired by his sunny optimism, which was his natural disposition. We join the entire Hackney family — especially our friend, Art — and all Alaskans in mourning the loss of this great Alaskan.”

Spirit of volunteerism

Hackney’s efforts to keep the roads around Fairbanks clean were such a big and well-known deal that Alaska Public Media published a brief profile in 2018 of the former legislator’s volunteer work to pick up accumulated trash in the Spring once everything had thawed.

His volunteerism spread to others in the Fairbanks community and, hopefully, that spirit of caring for the needs of others and each individual doing what they can to help will continue as Hackney’s lasting legacy following his tragic death.

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