A life less ordinary: Remembering David Hacker

The Business News staff lost a very good friend last month. And what he left us with are warm memories of a man who found an interesting story in every place he visited and every person he met.

The last time any of us saw Dave Hacker was after the grand opening of the new Traverse City library. Even though he hadn’t written for our former publication, the Prime Time News & Observer, for a year, he always found time to drop by to say hello and give us a story idea for The Business News. You could always count on him to have something clever or witty to say.

For three years, Dave spiced up the Prime Time News with his commentary on, well, just about anything he happened to be thinking about at that moment: speedometers, pet peeves, straw, the outdoor barbecue grill–no topic was too trivial. And his profiles on everyday folks truly amazed us. When I asked him how he was able to find out such intriguing information about people, he nonchalantly replied that everyone has a story to tell. And if anybody could get someone to talk, it was Dave.

Dave’s career as a newspaper man spanned 42 years because it “beat working for a living,” he once said. When asked about the Pulitzer Prize he won for his 1981 coverage of the Kansas City Hyatt-Regency Hotel sky walk collapse, he didn’t carry on about his great achievement. Instead, he reflected on 114 lost lives and the painful conversations he had with four women who became widows following the catastrophe.

But that was Dave; always more interested in others than himself.

After he and his wife, Barbara, moved back to Kansas in the fall of ’97, he could have easily forgotten all about our publications. Instead, he offered to help edit them via e-mail.

He once shared his philosophy with us on Prime Time’s approach to older readers: “All of life is for all persons of all ages. If one wants to take up tap dancing at 85 and you can do it, by all means then do it. If you want to let your hair grow at 18 and sit cross-legged on a mountain top being a guru, do it.”

And Dave sure did it. His “addiction to a life of novel” had him houseboating on the Suwannee River, living in South Africa, climbing the Rocky Mountains, speaking Japanese, wandering across the five Great Lakes states in a motor home…and much more than we even have room for.

Thank you, Dave, for inspiring us to live as “thoroughly” as we can. We miss you!