In Memoriam: Dana Hackett


The Institution announces with great sorrow the death of Dana Hackett, WHOI’s warehouse supervisor, on Friday, February 16, after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 66.

Dana was one of four children born to Commander Donald J. and Laura O. (Benoit) Hackett. His father’s family traced its roots to John Alden of the Mayflower.  Because of his father's naval career, the family moved several times over the years. Dana was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, and spent several years in Walnut Creek, California, before settling in Port Chester, New York. He attended Port Chester High School and then worked for more than 30 years in the construction trades.

Dana began working at WHOI in 2003 as a distribution assistant.  In 2007, he was promoted to senior distribution assistant.  In 2012, he was promoted to distribution supervisor of the warehouse.  He loved his job at WHOI and worked through everything, rarely taking time off.

In 2016, Dana accepted, on behalf of his three-person team, the prestigious Penzance Award, bestowed annually to a group chosen for "sustained exceptional performance, for outstanding representation of the WHOI spirit, and for major contributions to the personal and professional lives of our staff."

Dana was one of the earliest members of the Cape Cod Polo Club based at Boxberry Hill Farm in Hatchville. While still a fledgling club, it quickly developed a solid reputation when competing against more established clubs along the East Coast. He also helped with the re-formation of the Newport Polo Club in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, which had been closed for several decades. He owned and trained a string of polo ponies, his favorite being O’Henry with whom he competed in a race at the Barnstable County Fair.
He was an avid reader with eclectic tastes, a talented horseman, and loved sailing, skydiving, and golf. He traveled with his wife on several occasions to France where he particularly enjoyed spending days in museums.

He is remembered for his sense of humor, his good nature and kindness to everyone, and his strong work ethic.

Dana leaves his wife, Diane (Hinrichs) Mirlicourtois; three siblings and their spouses, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Bruce W. Hackett of Prince George, Virginia, Fay S. Nephew of Hyannis, and Pamela A. Kokmeyer of East Falmouth; a stepdaughter, Julie Scott of Houston, Texas; many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews; his former wife, Malora Gresham-Hackett of Hatchville; several cousins; and other family.

A memorial gathering is being planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Make A Wish Foundation.


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