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John F. Hackler

John F. Hackler, 68, died Sunday, September 10, 2017 at Beverly Hospital surrounded by his wife of almost forty six years, Lucinda, his three daughters, and two sons-in-law. Cardiogenic shock brought him to peace after years of physical disability caused by chronic terminal illness. Diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, he was cared for by his wife and family at home with the support of Fresenius Dialysis, Lahey Health at Home, ABC Home Services and Beauport Ambulance. The family is grateful for the caring and respectful assistance they provided.

John was born in Keene, NH son of the late  Edward and Ellen (Arnott) Hackler. “Jay” or “Johnny” was raised in Marlborough, NH near Mount Monadnock where he grew up enjoying the beautiful area through hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, canoeing and skiing. Interested in science, he was a member of the Keene Amateur Astronomers Club and built his own telescope. John was proud of his Finnish heritage as his paternal grandparents came from eastern Finland in the late 1800’s. He graduated Marlborough High School, Class of 1966 as Class President. His high school nickname “Beech” came from the fact that he drove a “woodie” or “beach wagon” and his family vacationed at Hampton Beach every summer. John attended the University of New Hampshire, Class of 1970, earning a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He was a member and house manager of Phi Mu Delta social fraternity and member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He furthered his education at Northeastern University receiving a M.S. in Civil/Environmental Engineering in 1978.

John was a cadet in the Army ROTC at UNH all four years during the Vietnam War. He was the recipient of the Superior Cadet Decoration Award, promoted to the rank of cadet captain with the position of commanding officer and a distinguished military graduate. At college graduation he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He served as an officer in the US Army Engineer Reserves through his honorable discharge in 1979 at the rank of Captain. He married his college sweetheart of four years, Lucinda (Cindy) Ruhf (UNH Class of 1971) in October 1971. The couple first settled in Gloucester and moved to Ipswich in 1974, where they raised their three daughters, Beth, Jill and Robyn.

John had a challenging and rewarding thirty-three year career in public service as an Environmental Engineer for the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1, Boston. At the EPA he was responsible for development and enforcement of the first national water discharge permits for industry and municipalities throughout New England resulting in construction of the first water treatment plants for most of these dischargers. In 1980 John became the first supervisor in the new Federal Superfund hazardous waste site cleanup program for New England. He was also a Federal Project Officer for oversight of several major contractor firms and multi-million dollar contracts for investigation and cleanup of sites including Lowell, Acton, Woburn, Holbrook, Tyngsboro, Templeton, Westford, and New Bedford Harbor. In 1987 John was appointed to manage the Connecticut State Unit responsible for all hazardous waste regulatory and enforcement work under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. In 1996 he needed to stand in for the EPA Region 1 administrator to sign the Long Island Sound Agreement along with the Governors of Connecticut and New York. He received four Bronze Medals for commendable service (highest regional level award for EPA).

After retirement, John worked part-time for LBK Transportation driving a school van for students with special needs from all over the North Shore. A lifetime Red Sox and Patriots fan, he also enjoyed boating in Gloucester Harbor, Annisquam River and Ipswich Bay, golfing, model building, reading about the Civil War, and building additions and making renovations to his home. He treasured XC skiing trips, living by the ocean and entertaining friends and family saying, “Let’s dig a hole, get some seaweed and have a clambake!” He had a good life: he loved and he was very much loved. His life was too short, dimmed and then extinguished by the heavy burdens of disabling illnesses.

In addition to his wife, Cindy, he is survived by his three daughters and two grandchildren, Lisbeth Candido and husband Frank of Ipswich, Jill Israelite and husband Justin, their children Olivia and Caleb of Beverly, and Robyn Hackler and partner Timothy Davis of Manchester, NH. He is also survived by his two sisters Judith, wife of Robert Lauterbach of Hudson, FL and Margaret (Margo), wife of Thomas Letourneau of Rindge, NH. Nephews Christopher Lauterbach, wife Stacey and son Xavier of Texas, and Jason Lauterbach, wife Desiree and their children Bella, Beau and Sterling of Illinois. John is also survived by several cousins of the Hackler and Coutts families. He is pre-deceased by his parents and his in-laws; Robert and Marguerite Ruhf of Allentown, PA.   

A family service was held at New Highland Cemetery, Ipswich on September 18, 2017, with arrangements under the direction of the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home. Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the Ipswich River Watershed Association, www.ipswichriver.org P.O. Box 576, Ipswich, MA 01938 or the Pulmonary Hypertension Association at www.phassociation.org

Family and friends are welcomed to a Celebration of Life Service at 2:00 pm  Friday November 3, at First Church in Ipswich, One Meetinghouse Green, Ipswich, followed by a reception in Fellowship Hall at the church to greet the family and celebrate John.

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