Lee Russell Hacker

Posted: Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lee Russell Hacker, 66, of Juneau passed at his home on Douglas Island on Aug. 29, 2010.  Born Feb. 4, 1944, in Chicago to Alfred and Gloria (Heinen) Hacker. Lee’s  appreciation of music would follow him through out his life. At age 17, his talent led him to join the U.S. Naval School of Music.  He served with a Navy band aboard the USS Kitty Hawk. Later, he re-enlisted and served in Korea with the 101st Army Band percussion section. He was proud of his service to his country.

Lee attended Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois, where he was personally responsible for beginning their jazz band. He majored in music theory and composition and played in the jazz and concert bands at Southern Illinois University.   

Lee studied with jazz drummer Philly Joe Jones, and appeared with Clark Terry and Art Pepper. He taught many students of all ages percussion. His musical experience spanned from the 60s’ San Francisco Rock era to Chicago clubs, as a member of country band “North Forty” as well as gigs alongside his father Al in Los Angeles. He also performed in musical theater productions and symphonies in California, Washington and the Puget Sound Naval Farragut Brass. Lee’s last decade included mentorship with the Juneau Symphony, Thunder Mountain Big Band, Fleet Street, and other gigs in Juneau, Haines and Skagway.  A member of the Piano Technicians Guild, Lee was an exceptional piano tuner. Lee worked as a chef, commercial potter, and enjoyed sculpting with clay and paint with watercolors.

Lee was predeceased by his brother Kurt, who was killed in action in Vietnam, his father, and, in April, his mother. He is survived by his sisters Cherie Hacker of Sacramento, Calif., Gloria Hon of Chicago and their children.  Lee remained close to his first wife Maggie Swinney of Texas.

Lee was a Priesthood Disciple of Matsuoka-Roshi at the Zen Buddhist Temple of Long Beach, Calif. His dedication led to a peaceful passing surrounded by his musical family, friends and sister Cherie. His ashes were spread in Lynn Canal on Friday. There will be a memorial celebration of his life in the spring of 2011 featuring Fleet Street and others.

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