Robert N. Hackett Jr., known as Bob, passed away Nov. 21, 2019. He fought a gallant battle with complications due to cancer treatment, having been diagnosed in 2001. Born in 1942 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Robert and Helen (Wing) Hackett, he was the oldest of four children. Eventually the family moved to Hood River, Ore., where Bob graduated from Hood River High School in 1960.
He attended Whitman College, graduating in 1964, and went to Law School at the University of Oregon, graduating with a Juris Doctor degree in 1967, which was followed, as he said, by admittance to the Washington State Bar and draft notice.
He served 10 months as an infantryman in Vietnam with the 25th Infantry Division (North of Saigon) and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, and served six months as a legal clerk, with a return to civilian life in November of 1969 looking for a job.
As he told the story, the Prosecuting Attorney’s office in Yakima was desperate for lawyers at that time. He moved to Yakima and for $800 a month he began in traffic court prosecuting assaults, DUI’s, and minor traffic violations. The judges were patient and provided a marvelous learning environment. Public service appealed to him and he worked in the office until 1989.
In 1989 he was sworn in as a Superior Court Judge in Yakima County. This court is the general jurisdiction trial court in Washington, responsible for all felonies, serious personal injury, and business cases, probate and family law. The highlight for Bob was in 1999, as he implemented and thereafter presided over Drug Court, one of the first programs of its kind in the U.S., which offered treatment and sobriety to low-level felony drug addicts, and a chance to avoid prison.
He retired in 2009, after beating cancer and serving 20 years on the bench.
Along with his studies at Whitman, he honed two life-long hobbies: Golf and bridge, “both of which proved instrumental in my personal life.” He was a low-handicap golfer and became a Life Master at bridge, playing competitively until his passing. He met his first wife, Mickey, at the duplicate bridge table. They married in 1973 and he gained a ready-made family with two boys, Steve and Jeff.
Mickey passed away unexpectedly in December 1995. Months later, he became acquainted with a neighboring golfer, Mardi. The two fell in love and married in August 1997 and five more sons were added to the Christmas photo. Eleven grandchildren followed, and Bob was a very loving and devoted grandfather. Bob’s later life was busy with frequent family gatherings, Husky football games, and a social life centered around the golf clubs in Yakima and in Hayden Lake, Idaho, where he spent each summer.
Even in times of poor health, Bob’s faith and positive outlook on life never wavered. He had a fabulous wry sense of humor, a quick intellect, and was an inspiration to all who knew him.
Bob is survived by his loving wife, Mardi, of 22 years, stepsons, Steve Maples, Yakima, and grandsons, Taylor, Bellevue, and Jamie, Seattle; Jeff Maples (Tambra) and granddaughter, Nikki, Moxee; Todd Lundgren (Eileen) and grandchildren, Zooey and Rainier, Hong Kong; Rick Lundgren and grandsons, Calvin and Spencer, Selah; Paul Lundgren, Moxee; Kyle Lundgren (Kayla) and grandsons, Jace and Peyton, Yakima; and Reid Lundgren (Ashley) and granddaughters, Piper and Parker, Moxee.
He is also survived by his sister, Martha (Hackett) Buffington, Hood River; and nieces, Paige, Ft. Worth, Texas; and Lexi (Dylan) Rogers, Southfield, Mich.; brother, Tom Hackett, Hood River; brother-in-law, Richard (Deb) Uhlmann, Rathdrum, Idaho; cousin, Nora Hounsell (Richard) Hinton, Seattle; nephews, Steve (Kristen) Connell, Oakland, Cslif.; and James (Colleen) Connell, Spokane, Wash.; and families, sons of Bob’s sister Sally (Hackett) Connell who predeceased him in 2003. He was also predeceased by his mother and father, Helen and Robert Hackett.
Bob was a member of the Washington State Bar Association, Yakima County Bar, Yakima Duplicate Bridge Club, Yakima Country Club, Hayden Lake Country Club, Whitman College Alumni Association and Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
There will be a celebration of life at the Yakima County Club, 500 Country Club Drive, on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 2-4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Memorial Foundation, 2701 Tieton Drive, Yakima, WA, memfound.org, or Whitman College, 345 Boyer Avenue, Walla Walla, WA, Whitman.edu/give, or a charity of choice, or in care of Brookside Funeral Home (PO Box 1267, Moxee, WA 98936). To leave a message or memory for the family please go to www.brooksidefuneral.com. Brookside Funeral Home is caring for the family.