Larry W. Hacker
1940 ~ 2023
Captain Larry Hacker, age 82, flew west on 15 September 2023. Larry was born in Sioux City, Iowa on October 20, 1940, to Edgar W. Schietzelt and Mary Frances Underschied. At the time of his birth, Larry was named Lawrence Wilhelm Schietzelt. Larry’s father, Edgar, was killed in action March 28, 1945, in Germany. Mary Frances later married Charles W. Hacker and Lawrence Wilhelm Schietzelt became Larry William Hacker.
Larry had five siblings: Gary, Maurine, Mary Dee, Margie and Charles. His adoptive father was a railroad employee and at one time Larry thought he might follow this career path.
Larry had a solid Catholic education; St Joseph Grade School, Bishop Heelan Catholic High School and Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. During high school Larry’s athletic endeavors included track and basketball. You could also find him on stage preforming with the rest of the Theater Group. His favorite role, Lt. Joseph Cable USMC, in the musical South Pacific.
School and learning were easy for Larry. He could hear or read something and retain the information. He never had to study for a test in school.
He worked as a hospital orderly during high school and for a collection agency, repossessing cars, during college.
Larry enlisted in the United States Marine Corps prior to high school graduation and in 1959 reported for basic training. It was during basic training that he learned he would be eligible to attend college on his father’s GI bill. Larry spent the next four years at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, graduating in 1962 after earning a bachelor’s degree in business. After graduation he returned to the Marine Corps and completed Officers Candidate School.
In 1962, on a cold, snowy day at USMC Base Quantico, a posted notice regarding flight training in Florida caught Larry’s eye. He couldn’t sign up fast enough and soon was off to NAS Pensacola and flight school. Larry had his first flight on 27 Mar 1963 in a T-34. Military aircraft types listed in his Aviator’s Flight Logbook include the T-34, T-28, TC45J, TH13M, UH34, UC45J, and CH46.
Larry flew the CH-46 Sea Knight in Vietnam and upon his return to the states he was assigned to NAS Pensacola as an instructor pilot.
His military achievements include: 14 Air Medals, a Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Larry separated from active USMC service in 1969, remaining in the USMC Reserve while concurrently applying for airline pilot employment with Northwest Airlines. He continued his USMC service for 26 years, retiring in 1985, with the grade of Lieutenant Colonel.
A long and fruitful 31-year career with Northwest Airlines began on March 24, 1969. Larry began that career as a Boeing 727 Second Officer. His flight log reports an early line trip was dated 12 May 1970 with Captain Paul Hamilton and Co-pilot Doug Holtan. Upgrades came slowly for those of his seniority. He eventually upgraded to the Boeing 720/320 as a Second Officer, thereafter as a 727 Co-pilot.
The DC-10 was new to NWA when Larry opted to qualify as a Second Officer and later Co-pilot. Larry had a chance to qualify as a 747 Second Officer, this proved to be good background for his eventual upgrade to Captain on that aircraft. His initial captain checkout was on the Boeing 727. Thereafter upgrades followed to Captain on the Boeing 757 and the 747 classic.
He served faithfully for years with the NWA Training Department and eventually as an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner for the 727 and 757.
Base assignments during his career included Minneapolis and Detroit. His layoff assignments included USMC Reserves, driving bus for the Metropolitan Transit Commission, working in Credit Collections at NWA, and installing drop ceiling tiles.
Married to Maureen, whom many of you may remember from Crew Scheduling, for 39 years. Children are Mary Eileen, Mark, Joseph, Elizabeth and Jason.
Retirement allowed him plenty of time to enjoy his numerous hobbies:
- Boating - weekends spent camping and fishing on St. Croix River.
- Golfing - tee time every Wednesday at 10:30 at the Municipal course in Boulder City. He always wanted to be paired with someone named Mulligan. Never happened.
- Hiking - the Sun City Hiking Club and the fun-filled overnight hiking trips.
- Bowling - his pride and joy was his 16-pound Black Beauty bowling ball.
- Fishing - annual trips with his brother, Gary, and friends, even when the walleye ended up costing $200.00 a pound.
- Cooking - his specialties included prime rib and barbeque ribs. He loved to cook and loved to eat his cooking.
- Stimulating conversation and coffee with the guys at the center every day between 0800 and 1000. They solved the problems of the world or at least discussed them.
- And finally, his dogs. Four of whom are waiting for him on the other side of the rainbow bridge. Cross-country trips with the dogs were quite an adventure. He even felt that they deserved their own truck. No arm twisting was necessary when he purchased his 2500 Ram diesel pickup with the mega cab. And then went on to outfit it with all the creature (dog) comforts.
Larry was an avid reader. His Kindle saw action for several hours every day. However, each day started with the newspaper: 1st section read – sports, 2nd section – comics, then on to the news of the day and the crossword puzzle. He was so confident in his answers he completed them with an ink pen.
Larry was a loving, thoughtful, considerate, and caring individual, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. A true gentleman in every sense of the word. He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
Love leaves a memory no one can steal.
(~ Maureen Hacker)