From February 6, 1943 to October 17, 2023, Robert John Hackett lived life putting the needs of others first. His legacy of kindness lives on in the hearts of his friends and family.
Bob was born in New York City and grew up in Waldwick, New Jersey. He served as an altar boy in his youth and graduated from St. Luke’s High School in New Jersey. He then attended Rutgers University, where he had the opportunity to play football. One of his greatest joys included playing on the 1961 undefeated Scarlet Knights' football team. He graduated from Rutgers with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1964. Bob’s interests in law and politics led him to attend Duke University School of Law, where he graduated in 1967. During law school, he served on the editorial board of the Duke Law Journal and played for the graduate rugby team. Bob often talked about his good fortune in receiving a quality education, having the opportunity to play college football, and experiencing southern life in North Carolina.
Bob began his legal career practicing at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in New York City. In 1969, he married Anita Carlile, who would become his wife of 54 years. In 1971, they ventured to Phoenix, which was then the “fastest growing city in the U.S.” Phoenix offered a warmer climate, along with the opportunity for a successful law practice. It seemed ideal for raising the family they hoped to have. In Phoenix, he first practiced at Evans, Kitchel & Jenckes. He later practiced at Fennemore Craig, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, and Ridenour, Hienton & Lewis. Bob devoted more than forty-seven years to the practice of law. He was a trusted and respected counselor, practicing securities, corporate, and business law at the highest levels with utmost professionalism (in a heavily starched white shirt and tie, of course).
Over the course of his career, Bob served as Chair of the Securities Regulation section of the State Bar of Arizona, President of Family Service Agency, and President of Arizona’s Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth. He was also a proud member of the Xavier College Preparatory School Advisory Board. In the early 1990’s, he volunteered with other Arizona lawyers to alter the legal code of Ukraine to facilitate economic reform. Working with government and business leaders in Ukraine and members of the Ukraine parliament, he helped compile statutes necessary for a free-market economy to operate; those were then translated into the Ukrainian language.
Bob loved sports, whether playing or watching as a spectator. As a young child, he watched the Yankees from the rooftop of his grandparents’ tenement house in the Bronx. He especially loved baseball, and although his roots were with the New York Yankees, his heart was ultimately with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He championed all things Duke basketball and, of course, cheered on the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants. His heart was happiest coaching little league baseball and skiing with his family.
Friends remember Bob as a caring person, never too busy to give of his time. He took tremendous pride in recruiting and mentoring younger lawyers and helping people in his community. Bob was a devout Catholic; attending Mass routinely was a vital part of his life.
Bob would tell you that his greatest achievement was raising a family. They were his first priority and always a source of tremendous joy. Bob is survived by his wife, Anita; his sons, Robert Jr. (MaryRuth) and John (Kathryn); his daughter, Kathryn (William); and eight grandchildren: Evan, Joshua, Ella, Juliette, Mckenna, Ashlyn, John, and Emilia. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Betty Anne Boscarini, her family, and members of the Lingenfelser and Cullen families. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Marie Hackett, and his younger brother, John.
The Hackett family would like to thank his many kind caregivers and Hospice of the Valley, as well as his caring friends. A funeral Mass will be held at Brophy Chapel on Monday, October 30 at 4:00 p.m. with a reception to follow. A private burial service will be held at a later date. His final resting place will be with his parents, grandmother, and other family members at Holy Hope Cemetery in Tucson.
Those who wish to do so may contribute in Bob’s honor to Duke University Alzheimer’s research (https://www.gifts.duke.edu/dukehealth/?designation=3916988), Hospice of the Valley (https://www.hov.org/donate/; 1510 East Flower St., Phoenix, AZ 85014), or a charity of your choice.