Ephraim Hackett died peacefully in his sleep of heart failure on Sunday, February 10, 2019. He was 83 years old.
Ephraim is survived by his brother, Harvey Hackett, by his children, Richard, Michael, Lisa, and Janet, his grandchildren, Lillian, Annie, Olivia, and Eric Ephraim, his nieces and nephews, and Penny the Wonderdog.
A Memorial concert for Ephraim Hackett will be held at 2 pm on April 13, 2019, at West Albany High School, in Albany, Oregon.
Ephraim Erwin Hackett was born in 1935 in Victor, Montana. He graduated as class Valedictorian from Victor High School in 1953, and went on to study music and trumpet at the University of Montana in Missoula, graduating with a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1957. His first teaching position was in Buhl, Idaho, teaching all music programs, including choral music until 1959 when he moved to his next job at Klamath Union High School, where he really began his career as a band director. He remained in Klamath Falls until 1965, teaching band in the high school and elementary schools. In 1965 Ephraim took a job as band director at North Junior High School in Grants Pass, and became the director of the Grants Pass High School Bands in 1972. In 1978 he left Grants Pass and returned to school at the University of Iowa for a Master of Music Education degree, completed in 1979. He then taught at West Albany High School from 1979 until his retirement in 1994. During his years of teaching, he led award-winning bands, taking his bands from Grants Pass High School to Philadelphia for the BiCentennial celebrations in 1976. Over the years he performed regularly as a trumpet player with the Klamath Community Orchestra, Ashland City Band, the Southern Oregon Symphony, and the Albany Brass Quintet. He was the founder and conductor of the Corvallis New Horizons Band and was honored by the Northwest Band Masters Association in 2007.
In the summer of 1960, Ephraim took summer school classes at the University of Montana, where he met a beautiful young singer named Sharon Johnson. By August he had proposed, and on October 14, 1960, they were married in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Richard, Michael, and Lisa were born in Klamath Falls, and Janet was born in Grants Pass. Raising a family of four children, all born within six years, the Hackett family was a whirlwind of activity. With multi-instrumentalist children, sports, fishing, and hunting trips all being squeezed into the schedule, one former colleague described the Hackett household as “a whirlwind of laughter, joy, (and) music….” adding that “No parent loved their kids more.” Eph was, above all, a family man who would do anything humanly possible for his beloved wife and kids. Ephraim and Sharon were married for 49 years, until her death in October of 2009. After retirement, Ephraim and Sharon traveled throughout the U.S. visiting family and friends across the country. Ephraim was a passionate fisherman, with extensive knowledge of fishing spots and waterways throughout the state of Oregon. He was also a fine photographer and carried a Nikon camera with him on all of his travels and fishing trips. Most of all, Ephraim was a teacher. He loved people, and his greatest concern was always to help people see a potential for excellence, whether in themselves, or in their music, or in their work. He had a significant and wide-reaching impact on the lives of countless students and their families.
In lieu of flowers, donations by check may be made to the Willamette Valley Concert Band with a notation in the memo line that money should go to Ephraim Hackett Memorial Band Camp Scholarship Fund and sent to WVCB c/o Ellen Bewley, 3495 Murhammer Lane S, Salem OR 97302.