Life of educator extraordinaire Obra V. Hackett celebrated

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Obra Hackett

Longtime educator, administrator, and community advocate, Obra Vernell Hackett, succumbed July 13, 2023. A celebration of life service was held July 20, 2023, at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Jackson, MS. Collins Funeral Home handled arrangements.

Obra was born September 9, 1937, in Amite County, MS to Letha Turner and James Hackett. He was reared by his mother and stepfather, Hillery Williams, along with 10 siblings in a home where Christian values were instilled, and the importance of an education and hard work were taught. 

A product of Pike County Public Schools, he graduated with honors from Pike County Agricultural High School in 1956. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Science Education from Jackson State College (now, University) in 1960 and a Master of Arts in Guidance and Counseling from Atlanta University. He did further study at Mississippi State University.

After graduation, he served as a math teacher and assistant principal at Henry Weathers High School (Rolling Fork, MS). He later held positions as vocational counselor and dean of students at Utica Junior College.

In 1974, Hackett began his 34-year illustrious career at his alma mater. During his tenure at JSU, he served as Director of Public Information and Director of Development. In 2007, at the close of his 20th year as Director of the Career Counseling and Placement Center, he retired, leaving an indelible footprint. 

During his 47-year career as educator and higher education administrator, Hackett had a positive and oft times life-changing impact on the lives of thousands of young people.

Hackett was active and held leadership roles in numerous professional, social, religious, and civic organizations and associations. He served on the Board of Directors for Central Mississippi Health Services and the Woodhaven Homeowners Association; Chairman of the Deacon Board of the Christian Light Baptist Church of Anguilla, MS; State Secretary (MS) for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated; President of the JSU Staff Senate; and National Board Member for the Jackson State University National Alumni Association.

To say that Hackett loved JSU would be an understatement, making these recognitions among his most cherished: Alumnus of the Year by the JSU National Alumni Association and Inaugural Inductee into the JSU National Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame. He served as Treasurer of the JSU National Alumni Association for many years. 

In 2010, he received the coveted Golden (50 Year) Diploma; and was the first, non-professorial rank administrator to address a JSU summer commencement. 

Other recognitions included Phi Delta Kappan of the Year by the Utica Field Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa International and membership in the fourth class of Leadership Jackson.

In every aspect of his life, Hackett brought his unfaltering optimism and unwavering faith. No matter the circumstances or the challenges, he faced them with a “Can-Do” attitude – Faith, Courage, and Compassion. These qualities were best exemplified during the last decade of his life when faced with health challenges. He chose not to give in to his illness; instead, he chose to live and embrace his life to the best of his ability. Hackett was a true source of inspiration for his family and an example for others to follow. This perhaps is one of his greatest legacies.

He was preceded in death by his parents, first wife Grace Jackson, stepdaughter Emma Loretta McCune Carroll, and brothers Willie Williams, Louis C. Holden, and Leroy Hackett. 

He leaves to cherish his memory, his loving and devoted wife of 53 years, Amelia Carolyn Evans Hackett; son, Obra V. Hackett Jr., (Shebra) of Grand Prairie, TX; grandchildren, Jessica Amelia Anne Hackett of Jackson, MS, Reginald Keith Dunlap, II and Reanna Kristine Dunlap of Grand Prairie, TX, Miles Willis Barker and Maxwell Ricardo Barker of Jackson, MS, Sandi Denise Carroll of Jackson, MS, Kenneth Carroll of Atlanta, GA, and Candace Carroll of Dallas, TX; siblings, Eddie Williams (Joe Ann), Hillery Williams Jr. (Beverly Ann), David Lee Williams (Ruth), Richard O’Neal Williams (Gloria), Freddie Emmauel Williams (Julia), Marilyn Williams Lewis (Vernell), Larry Darnell Williams, and Clarence Cicero Williams (Pamela); sisters-in-law, Regina Hackett and Arnella Williams; aunt, Minnie Pearl Turner;  and a plethora of other relatives and friends.

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Life of educator extraordinaire Obra V. Hackett celebrated

By Jackson Advocate News Service
July 24, 2023