Duane “Hack” Hackworth, 65, of Akron, passed away at 3:10 AM, Wednesday, January 29th, 2020 at his home.
On March 30, 1954, Duane was born in Kosciusko County. He was a treasured son of Oliver and Ora Lee Marsillett Hackworth. Growing up he shared his childhood with two sisters and a brother. Hack was a proud member of the Akron High School class of 1972.
In the Akron United Methodist Church, Duane married his high school sweetheart and best friend, Miss Janet L. Sheetz, on August 25, 1973. They have shared 46 years of life’s adventures. From their union came a handsome son Marcus Duane. Sadly at age 21, Marcus passed away from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.
An iconic public servant, # 9, Hack served the Henry Township Fire Department as it's Chief for many years. He currently was leading the group as Assistant Chief. Always there for his community in tough and challenging times whether it was a fire or rescue from a motor vehicle accident or farming Hack was a quiet laid back leader who conveyed a calm demeanor. He is the longest continuous servant in the group's history.
Reliable, consistent and dependable are some of the attributes, Mr. Hackworth possessed, with a sweet temperament as he climbed on board bus # 38 each morning to chauffeur his kids to the Tippecanoe Valley Schools. With a tender heart he was there for all of them, exhibiting a keen interest on hearing about their day as they shared their successes and accomplishments.
Driving the same route for nearly four decades, Duane drove 6 families for two generations. Maintaining excellent discipline and safety, if the bus became a little too noisy, like sometimes happens, a shrill whistle would silence his riders, his method of reminding them it was time to quiet down. He and Janet always saw to it that everyone that rode his bus had a treat bag before Christmas and took them for treats to celebrate the end of each school year. Additionally, Duane owned a Mobil Oil distributorship from 1977 - 2000, delivering petroleum products to residents and businesses.
A man of strong faith, Duane was a member of the Olive Branch Church. He led a small group Bible studies. Over the years he and Janet a dynamic team, conveyed their love, understanding and compassion by leading many grief support groups for parents who lost children.
In the early years, Duane, Marcus and Janet would head to Florida to enjoy the surf, sand and sun on spring break. They loved the excitement and speed of snowmobiling. Hack also shared his love for Harley's with Marcus, enjoying many rides together. During the holidays they established a family tradition of seeking out the perfect Christmas tree, cutting it down and decorating it to perfection. Fishing was another sport they all enjoyed.
Janet and Hack enjoyed fun and adventures making memories with their extended family the Mills Crew and Bowers. It was a new tradition, Janet and Hack would prepare breakfast on Christmas morning with Hack overseeing the preparations and cooking the Belgian Waffles, while Janet handled the trimmings. The entire day was enjoyed watching sporting events, story telling and playing games. The Hackworths were always seated in the stands to cheer the kids on, attending dance recitals and concerts. They all attended many Purdue University Women's basketball games.
Thanksgiving 2019, the Hackworths traveled to Florida to watch Duane's niece play in the Gulf Coast Showcase at Estero, FL. featuring the Purdue women. Many memories were made as his sisters Becky and Barbara, were also there making it a great family event, while cheering wildly for the lady Boilermakers.
The Hackworths were members of the Blacktop Cruisers Car Club. The summertime brought on an opportunity to enjoy many rides on his shiny fire engine red Harley-Davidson Firefighter Special Edition. Hack drove while Janet hung on tightly, both catching the warm breeze and freedom only a Harley ride can provide.
As a grill-master, Hack was known for his sizzling juicy hamburgers. He used his mother-in-law's coleslaw recipe to duplicate the tasty salad to perfection. Hack loved his role Santa Claus entertaining family and friends, making all of the kid's day during the holiday season. For fun he loved walking the dogs, cruising around on the Ranger, watching NASCAR and baseball.
Many will remember seeing Janet and Hack seated at Jarrety's tall table enjoying coffee each morning and sometimes at lunch. They always sat with a variety of friends who engaged in solving the world's problems while catching up on the latest local news.
Left to cherish Hack's memory are his wife Janet, two sisters, Barbara Whitaker and husband James, Becky Whitaker and husband Rick all of Warsaw; two canine companions, Zoie the Golden Retriever and Lucy the Golden Doodle; special extended family, Mike and Ruby Bowers, Shannon and Chrissy Mills, Ryan Bowers and the Mills kids, Kennedy, Payton and Sydney, special cousin Larry Sheetz and Susan, the students who rode bus # 38, his Olive Branch Church family, his fellow fire family and the many families he befriended during a rescue, a fire or even recipients of his many a simple random act of kindness.
Preceding Duane in death are his parents Oliver and Ora Hackworth, beloved son Marcus on July 17, 1997, brother Douglas Hackworth and his father and mother-in-law, Dale and Edith Sheetz.
A celebration of the life of Duane Hackworth will be at 11:00 AM on Saturday, February 1, 2020, in the Olive Branch Church, 4581 E. 1200 N, Roann, IN 46974. Pastor Jeff Sumner will officiate. Friends may visit with the family from 4-8 PM in the church on Friday, January 31, 2020 and one hour prior to the service on Saturday. A Fireman's Memorial Service will be held at 7:00 PM Friday. Interment will be in the Akron Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Marcus Hackworth and Scott Sechrist Memorial Scholarship Fund through the Northern Indiana Community Foundation, 227 East 9th St., Rochester, IN 46975 or the Henry Township Fire Department, 206 West Rochester St., Akron, IN 46910. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Good Family Funeral Home. Electronic expressions of sympathy may be made to his family at www.goodfamilyfh.com.