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Richard W. Hacker

Richard W. Hacker

Richard Warren Hacker, retired Major League Baseball player, scout and coach, passed away on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, surrounded by his loving family at his home in Fairview Heights, Ill. Born on October 6, 1947, in Belleville, Ill., Rich bravely battled acute myloid leukemia for 15 months in the same manner he lived his life, with eternal optimism and unwavering determination to make the best of every single day.

A life-long resident of Southern Illinois, Rich married Kathryn (nee Hunter) on December 9, 1971. In 49 years of marriage, they had three children: Roger (wife Marisa Giller, son Ronan), Scott (girlfriend Jenny Ziegler), and Katy. Rich was the first of three children of Paul (1922-1986) and Dorothy Hacker (b. 1927). He is also survived by his sisters Ruth Ann (Jon) Hanft and Jeanne Jansen (daughter Laurie and family) and first-cousin Pam Hacker (husband Dave Sutton).

Rich, a two-sport varsity athlete (baseball and basketball) and graduate of Southern Illinois-Carbondale, spent time in the National Guard in the 1960s before building a successful career in baseball. Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals (1965) and the New York Mets (1967), the smooth-fielding shortstop logged 8 minor league seasons and played 16 games in the Major Leagues for the Montreal Expos in 1971.

Highlighting his 30-plus year career as a baseball manager, coach, and scout, Rich returned to the Major Leagues as a coach (1986-1993) with the St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays – participating in a World Series with St. Louis before winning two championships with Toronto. He also managed in the Cardinals minor league system and scouted for the San Diego Padres and Blue Jays.

A proud product of New Athens, Ill., Rich was an avid outdoorsman, hunter, and devoted friend to many.

A private graveside service was held for Rich on Friday at Oakridge Cemetery in New Athens, Ill., where his body will reside near beloved family members.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Richard’s name to the Barnes Jewish Hospital Foundation in support of nurses like his daughter who provided him such great care during his life.

Condolences to the family may be expressed here at www.heilschuessler.com.

Heil-Schuessler Funeral Home in New Athens, IL is in charge of arrangements.

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  1. John Costello says:

    Kathyrn, Maria and I want to send our deepest condolences to you and the entire Hacker family!!! Hack was my coach for parts of 3 seasons and more importantly a good friend for the past 30+ seasons!!! Hack was first class and was always positive no matter what the situation was!!! We will all miss him; especially at Alumni gatherings!!!!! Rest In Peace Hack and God Bless you Kathryn!!!!

  2. Marlene Mueller says:

    I am so sorry for your loss of Rich. He was such a great person and did so much for so many. I’ll always cherish all the great times we had together and all the kindness Rich shared with so many. I love you all and know how much you will miss him, but I know he will always live in your hearts and in all of us.
    Love, Marlene

  3. Patricia Kohlenberger says:

    Dorothy, Ruth Ann, and Jeannie,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Rich was one of the nicest guys I have known. He was a very nice young man when I knew him at church years ago and he just continued to be a class act.

    Pat Kohlenberger

  4. Brian Bartow says:

    So sorry to hear of Rich’s passing.

    Rich was one of my first coaches when joining the Cardinals PR staff. He was always full of energy and his positive outlook on life was unmatched. Rich was definitely an “energy giver” and he was a true gift to baseball and the Cardinals.

    I am thankful for having the opportunity to have been a Cardinals “teammate” with Rich.

    May God comfort and bless the Hacker family and their many friends.

  5. rharriman3@q.com says:

    Our deepest sympathy to Kathryn and the family. Words cannot express the loss we feel, but life has been better for knowing Rich, who was a tremendous person, and one of a kind. We have many fond memories especially when he an Kathryn came to visit us in Tucson. We had a great time and many laughs.
    sincerely Robbie and Charlotte Harriman.

  6. Kathryn, Roger, Katy and Scotty…Sharon and I are so sorry For your loss. Memories of Rich always bring a smile to our faces and warms our hearts. Traveling to Cooperstown for Whitey’s induction, Hammerstone’s while listening to ‘Earl’ singing “What a Wonderful World” on a Sunday night with Kathryn and Hack. Talking baseball while having breakfast was a treat. Loved every moment spent with our dear friend.
    Hack…Thank you for the gift of ‘You’. You touched so many lives.

    • Gary Franklin says:

      I knew Rich for 60 years. We played ball against one another in Khoury league. In 1987, I was down at spring training and Rich was kind enough to get me tickets. I saw Rich frequently in 2017 when his mom was in the same nursing home as my dad. Rich was the kindest, most considerate man you could ever meet. If this world had more people like Rich it would be a much better place live.

  7. Tim and Patti berry says:

    Tim and I are so sorry for the loss of Rich. He has been in our prayers. He was such an interesting man and loved when we were around him telling stories especially his Cardinal experiences. Peace to your family.

  8. Terry and Nancy (Nagel) Maltby says:

    Words cannot express the sadness we are feeling for the loss of Rich. He was a gift to us and everyone he knew. He led a life of service and was an example to young and old. Even though he has earned his wings, he will forever live in our hearts. He asked that we think of him when we go for a run or bike ride. It shall be done. We are so thankful to be able to call him our dear friend.

    • John Tudor says:

      Kathryn
      So sorry to hear about Hack. I know I don’t have to tell you what a class act and great person he was. I always enjoyed seeing him when I was back in STL. He was such an unheralded part of those 80’s teams and always had a great manner and positive attitude about whatever was going on. Going to really miss seeing him in the future. Please express my condolences and best wishes to the rest of the family
      John Tudor

  9. Linda Walker Loesche Hamilton says:

    I feel like I’ve known you and your family my entire life. Wishing you and your family peace, strength, and healing.

  10. Rollie and LaVon Canning says:

    Kathryn, words can’t express how sorry we are for your loss. Prayers to you and your family.

  11. Ozzie Smith and family says:

    My condolences to Kathryn and the entire Hacker family Rich was one of the nicest people I have ever met. We spent a lot of time talking baseball and him hitting me ground balls. Thanks for making me better 🙏 Rest in Peace

  12. Scott Terry says:

    So sorry for your loss. My condolences to you Kathyrn and the entire family. Rich was my coach, teammate, fellow instructor, and friend. He gave so much to so many and was absolutely tireless in doing so. His enthusiasm and energy was infectious and endless. Rich always gave more than you asked for and always one call away. Thank you my friend for spreading joy and so much more. You will be missed!

  13. Alice Kuehn John Kuehn says:

    Kathryn, and family,
    We are deeply saddened to hear of Rich’s death. John has great memories of playing baseball and basketball with Rich at New Athens High, he was a great guy. You and your family will be in our prayers.

  14. Charlie and Sandy Coulson Raban says:

    We want to express our sympathy to you, Kathryn and your family. You were our neighbors in Belleville and Kathryn, a friend from Marissa. Our children, Kristin and Jon send their respects also.

    • Susan Gray says:

      So very sorry for the loss of Richard.

      Our thoughts & prayers are with you.

      Sincerely,
      Doug & Susie Gray & family

  15. Mary Schlieckert says:

    4/26/2020, 2:30 pm. from classmate Mary Stutz Schlieckert. My sympathy to the family. Rich’s accomplishments are a tribute to our high school class and New Athens, IL. Rest in peace.

  16. JEFF MARSHA HACKER says:

    I do not know where to begin. From HS in NEW ATHENS TO SIU. WHILE HE WAS 2ND COUSIN, WE STAYED CONTACT. NEVER NEW A STRANGER, HUMBLE AND GRACIOUS WE ALWAY VISITED, BUT THE LAST 15 MONTHS WAS AMAZING AFTER WE MOVED TO STL. WEEKLY VISITS WE HE COULD C PEOPLE AND ALMOST DAILY CALLS. ALWAYS FAMILY AND BASEBALL. PROUD OF 2 BASEBALLERS AT EAST AND ALWAYS ASK ON OUR GRANDSON AT UTAH VALLEY IN BASEBALL. TIPS AND VIDEO WERE VIEWED. LOVE YA MY DEAR FRIEND BRING THEM HOME FROM 3RD IN HEAVEN RIP. LOVE TO THE ENTIRE FAMILY ESP THE NEW GRANDCHILD MARHSA&JEFF HACKER

  17. Jennifer Tolson (Albert) says:

    My heart is deeply saddened by this passing!! Rich was a long time family friend to the entire Albert family of New Athens!! He went to school with my dad, David Albert, and played sports with my Uncle Larry Albert!! He was loved very much by my Grandma, Corine Albert..who he would stop by her house every time he came to town to visit to check on her!! Our hearts go out to the entire Hacker family and we send our love and deepest sympathies!! Play ball in Heaven, Rich!!

  18. Vern and Lucy Moehrs says:

    We have lost a great friend who played with the Waterloo Buds while he was in high school. When you were in Rich’s company and talked baseball, it always made the game more fun. We spent many spring trainings with Rich at St. Petersburgh and cherish those memories. I am sure Rich is looking down at all his friends and waving somebody home from third base. God bless Rich. Vern and Lucy Moehrs

  19. Eldon Warfield says:

    Great guy. Great representative of Southern Illinois.

  20. Carla (Recker) Wirth says:

    Jeannie , Ruth Ann and Dorothy,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Rich was a kind and caring person to everyone he knew. Growing up in New Athens I heard so many stories about him when he was growing up with my uncle Larry Loesche. There was always so much laughter when they all got together. Please accept my sympathies and may Rich Rest In Peace.

  21. Wendell Cave says:

    I was a teacher and assistant basketball coach at New Athens High School 1963-65. Rich made such an impression on me that I kept in touch with him all these years.
    He was a true friend and buddy
    I cherish all the time we spent on the phone during his illness.
    A student and player had to be super s po special for a teacher and coach to maintain a close friendship over the 55 years since his graduation in 1865.
    I miss you friend.

    Wendell “Coach Cotton” Cave

  22. Diane Kinzel says:

    Rich was one year ahead of me in high school, and was one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. We ran into him years and years after high school but he still remembered me, my name and my family. May he rest in peace.

    • Russell Hargraves says:

      Very sorry and all of you are in our prayers. Always enjoyed talking with Rich and following his career and doing cousin things in New Athens. You are loved and if we can be of help let us know. Hi to the home
      family. God Bless. Russell and Sandy Hargraves

  23. Pete Stoll says:

    Rich never met a person he didn’t like. I met Hack in 1982 as a rookie Athletic Trainer in JC, Tenn. He was my mentor and friend. Even though baseball made out friendship work from afar, Hack was always there. Even after his accident, more than 30 years after our time in JC, Rich still could pull my name out of his memory and we could sit and reminisce for hours. I will never forget you my friend. Condolences to Kathryn and family. RIP my friend.

  24. Bruce D. Walker says:

    I remember Rich as a very kind and helpful Senior at New Athens High to me, a lowly Freshman, in addition to being an excellent ball player. He was a good man. My prayers are for the family.

  25. Tess, Heather and Andy Schlesinger says:

    Jeannie, Ruth Ann, Dorothy, Scott and Family,

    Our deepest sympathy to you all and loving memories to forever hold in your heart.

    • Charlene Winter Guzior says:

      My deepest sympathy to Rich’s family. He left us all with beautiful memories.

      • Fay Kokkeler says:

        Richard represented the kind of role model any parent would want for their child. He was one of a kind and will forever be missed. Sleep well, dear Richard. We love you.

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