Life Story Service
A reception will follow in the Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
Life Story / Obituary
There is no doubt Ray Hackman loved his family. A wonderful husband, father, and grandfather, he created a beautiful example of living life to the fullest and selflessly giving to others. Known to participate in Halloween haunted houses, and sit inside Gingerbread houses in the cold, there was nothing Ray wouldn’t do for his kids and grandkids. Deeply loved, he will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by his special friends and family.
His story begins in the midst of the 1930s when the nation was bouncing back from tough economic times. Glen and Lillian (Cook) Hackman welcomed his arrival on June 5, 1936, in Kingsley, Michigan, a small town near Cadillac. His birth brought great joy and happiness into the family home. Growing up he loved the outdoors. He and his brother enjoyed fishing and walking around the local lakes. They found their fair share of mischief and had the normal sibling rivalry, of course. Ray was said to be the one who stayed out of trouble as he had witnessed the shenanigans his brother caused! Keeping himself away from trouble earned him the respect of his peers and he graduated at the top of his class. After graduation, he moved to Grand Rapids to study accounting at Davenport University. His skill set was put to good use as he later became a cost estimator for KVP Sutherland. Anything he set out to do, he gave his all and did to his very best.
Ray had a knack for developing lasting friendships with clients and coworkers. One important friendship was with Sharon who worked in the same office. If Ray walked by her desk, he’d stop and start a conversation. They found solace in their friendship and, years later, began dating and eventually married. As a family, they took many memorable trips. Each summer they cleared their calendars for a family vacation. They drove all over the country visiting the Grand Canyon, the West coast, and many national parks. His favorite was Crater Lake in Oregon. A record-keeper himself, he was fascinated that it’s the deepest lake in the United States. On one of their trips, they were gone for an entire month logging over 9,000 miles in their truck camper! Once the kids were grown, summer vacations were spent traveling to visit them.
Ray had many special interests, yet sports were a theme that ran throughout his life. He loved staying active by playing in baseball and softball leagues through church, even until he was seventy-five years old! When he was younger, he participated in a traveling volleyball league in Grand Rapids. He cherished the years of teaching the neighborhood kids how to play ball on the local fields near his home. Some of those kids, years later, thanked him for the time he spent with them playing ball together. After a busy day at work, Ray never let it stop him from heading out to the backyard to play ball or going for a swim with his kids after dinner. He was very involved as a dad and loved supporting their hobbies and interests.
Always interested in learning new things, Ray also tried his hand at beekeeping for a while as well as raising rabbits. A friend of his even talked him into keeping homing pigeons. As a result, his kids enjoyed having a mini-farm of sorts at home. Neighborhood kids were always welcome to visit and Ray even built a treehouse with a slide to keep them entertained. A large part of his life was the time he devoted to his children and the neighborhood kids over the years.
In addition to sports and family, Ray enjoyed many unique hobbies. He kept completed weather journals for nearly 70 years. This data made him well known in the area as an amateur meteorologist. The local TV and radio stations and newspapers would regularly consult him for historical records and weather information. He knew the records so well, he could recite much of it from memory. One of his favorite quips was to share what the weather was on your birthday.
There was never a dull moment when Ray was around. He enjoyed people and was known as a practical joker and an exceptional storyteller. One favorite story was the Snapple adventure. He saved bags of Snapple bottles and drove across state lines to Maine so he could return them for the bottle deposit. Little did he know, they only accept them on certain days…and the day he was there was not it. The story turned into legend and was repeated for years to come!
He enjoyed playing card games and board games, sometimes making up his own way to play the game. He engaged his family and friends in games that resembled Mad Libs and Frisbee Golf before they became popular games, always wishing he had patented them himself. He often pranked others with his funny jokes. Ping Pong was one of his favorite activities. If Ray knew you were any good at playing Ping Pong, he would instantly see you as a friend. Ray was also a talented musician. He had a great singing voice and used his talent by being part of several choirs, including the Kalamazoo Male Chorus. At the age of seventy-eight, Ray experienced the thrill of women screaming at him while performing on stage with Foreigner!
Described as a good sport, a fun-loving grandpa, and a cheerful person to know and to love, Ray leaves behind a wonderful collection of many special memories shared with his family. May his memories live on in their hearts for generations to come.
Raymond Hackman, age 85, of Kalamazoo, MI, died on December 10, 2021. Ray was preceded in death by his daughter, Kimberly. Surviving are his wife, Sharon; children: Raymond (Tammy) Hackman, Amy (Ralph) Ackley, April (Eric) Hackman-Dial, and Angel (Kurt Oswell) Hackman; grandchildren: Zach, Christopher, Cassey, Caleb, Arianne, Connor, Gloria, Aaron, Taylor, Adrianna, Corinna, Ruby, nine great grandchildren and god daughter, Summer; siblings: Charles (Caryle) Hackman and Diane Itter; and his dogs: Mickey and Gabriel; and Abby the cat.
Cremation has taken place. Please join us at a Life Story Service at 11 AM Saturday (DEC 18) at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center where food, beverages, and stories can be shared. Visit Ray’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook.