Born on April 3, 1951, in Youngstown, he was the youngest of four children. Raised Catholic and fiercely proud of his Irish heritage, he explored other spiritual paths as he grew older, yet did not take himself too seriously, saying that as an Irish-Catholic-Buddhist, he believed in "forgiveness, compassion, and...revenge." He was a well-read and inquisitive spirit, but always with a wry sense of humor and a poet at heart - all beneath the hat he wore as city manager, at which he excelled for 22 years.
He leaves behind his loving wife of 14 years, Terry Uyeki, and their four children, Sean, Sarah, Brooke and Robin; sisters Pinky (Ed) DeAngelo and Pat (Ed) Knuff and their children and grandchildren; father- and mother-in-law Ed and Aiko Uyeki; and sisters and brothers-in-law, Amy Uyeki and Rees Hughes, and Bill Uyeki and Dana Supan. He is preceded in death by his father and mother, Clarence and Clara, and brother Peter.
After earning a bachelor’s degree at Ohio University, he earned a master of public administration at the University of Dayton. He worked at the University of Dayton, and cities of La Junta and Boulder, Colo., before serving as city manager of Alamosa, Colo., for 18 years before announcing a late-in-professional life change to becoming the city manager of Arcata, Calif. The move brought him and his wife closer to her family in the Arcata area. He was proud of many accomplishments during his tenure as city manager of Alamosa, but topping the list were the reconstruction of the levee along the Rio Grande, obtaining millions of dollars in grant money to fund such projects as the wastewater treatment plant construction and the acquisition of the Alamosa Ranch for open space.
Ever the seeker of innovative thinking in his field, he was named a senior executive fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and was a participant in the Bighorn Center for Public Policy Leadership Development and the Rocky Mountain Institute. He had been looking forward to finishing out his career at the City of Arcata, and enjoyed working with city staff and the council before his life was cut short.
While many knew the man at city hall as a firm yet caring administrator, there were also kindred spirits who shared his love of music, especially jamming on a number of stringed instruments, and composing music and lyrics from his heart and soul. His professional accomplishments should not overshadow his musical legacy as a talented songwriter. He and Terry were passionate about listening to live music, hiking in the wilderness, traveling, and sharing good food, wine, and the craic with good friends. But above all, he cherished his family and the achievements of his children, of whom he was so proud.
The family is grateful to Dr. Ryan of UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Bonis and staff of Eureka Internal Medicine, and Hospice of Humboldt.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date to be announced in Arcata and in Alamosa. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to one of the following: the Boys and Girls Club of the San Luis Valley, California, the Alamosa Live Music Association in Colorado, and Hospice of Humboldt, Calif.
MICHAEL MARTIN HACKETT, 58