Malachy "Mal" Thomas Hackett died on June 24, 2014, at his home in Elizabethtown.
He was an extraordinary individual, a lifelong adventurer and an accomplished, worldwide traveler who remained forever young at heart. He had visited every state except Alaska, and all continents except Australia and Africa.
He was the first of five children born to Paul F. and Mary Byrne Hackett, and arrived at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie on July 1, 1952.
A graduate of Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School's Class of 1970, Mal furthered his education at Plattsburgh State University College with a bachelor's degree in broadcast communications in 1976.
He served as a television broadcast engineer at both WCFE and WPTZ in Plattsburgh, and for an NBC affiliate in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
During a long career as a journeyman electrician, Mal spent five tours at the U.S. Naval Base at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. He was a member of the Old Antarctic Explorers Association and regularly enjoyed taking authentic "Polar Plunges" while wintering over at McMurdo Station. He also attended "summer camp" at the South Pole Station.
Like his father, uncles and grandfathers before him, Mal was a true patriot, who attained the rank of sergeant while serving his country with the New York Army National Guard, 172nd Infantry. He was an expert marksman who trained as a mountain skills expert with the Alpini, the Italian mountain troops. He claimed the scariest moment of his life was "jumping out of a perfectly good helicopter" to the slopes below.
Mal was a product of the Greatest Generation, who came of age amidst the rock and roll '70s.
He was an accomplished photographer and videographer who delighted family and friends with his fantastic portfolio of wildlife, wild friends and their wild times.
He was a founding member of the Hogs-R-Us Motorcycle Club in Elizabethtown and owned more than a dozen bikes in his long career on the road. Although he had an affinity for Harleys and Triumphs, he often could be found tooling around on a vintage 1974 Ducatti.
Mal was also a true "techie" who introduced many local residents to a new generation of electronics while serving as the manager at Wilson's Appliance/Radio Shack store in Elizabethtown for many years.
One of his most enjoyable endeavors in recent years was serving as a census taker during the national census. The experience allowed him to visit parts of the region he had never seen before and to meet friends he never known.
He was quick with a laugh and was a great listener who truly cared for his fellow travelers throughout his life. He was also an accomplished horticulturist who freely shared his knowledge, for the betterment of all. Above all else, he was genuine to a fault and honest about where he stood on an issue. He didn't beat around the bush.
Mal was a consummate reader and researcher who never stopped learning. He was also a good friend, companion and a great big brother who wished to be remembered as a "loyal friend to all."
As an avid sportsman and shooter, Mal was a member of the Elizabethtown Fish and Game Club and a life member of the NRA who enjoyed target shooting and hosting his annual "NRA Summer Shooting Camp" for his numerous nephews and nieces.
An enthusiastic collector of air rifles, knives and rock-and-roll music, Mal embraced life to the fullest and had a wide circle of friends. He was a wandering soul who touched many lives, and he made the world a better place simply by his presence.
He is survived by his sisters Eileen Hackett of Pendelton, Indiana, and Beth Hackett Fehlner of Willsboro, and nephews Corey, Malachy and niece Mary Fehlner; brother Joe Hackett and wife Maria and nieces Willow and Meadow of Ray Brook, and Paul Hackett Jr., his wife Lisa, nieces Olivia, Hannah, Maddie and nephew Cameron Hackett of Red Hook.
He was predeceased by his dog Mattie, the love of his life.
There will be an Irish wake to celebrate Mal's life, hosted at his home at 195 Water St. in Elizabethtown from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 18. Friends and associates are invited to attend. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 19 at St. Elizabeth's Church in Elizabethtown. Burial will follow in the parish cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Mal Hackett may be made to the Elizabethtown Fish and Game Club or the American Society for Cancer Research.