Archive for May, 2012

This post was made by Jason Bauman, and the original can be found at http://blog.jlbauman.com/2012/04/21/a-firm-handshake-and-an-easy-smile/.   We hope you enjoy his wonderful memories as much as we did.


My Grandfather passed away this morning. My grandmother asked all the grandchildren to think of memories of him to share at his funeral. I have so many memories. I wanted to share a few of them with you, to tell you about a man who had such a huge impact on my life.


Firesides and Fishing Lures

I was fortunate enough to grow up knowing all four of my Grandparents. My childhood was filled with visiting them at their homes, or visiting them at their campsite where all of us spent each Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend. J. Walter Hackman was my mother’s dad, and some of the strongest memories I have of him are from those camping trips.

Grandpop loved camping. He had a silver Airstream at the campsite all summer and he and Grammy would make frequent weekend trips there. Inside the camper there were beds, tables, and it felt like a small apartment, but if you stepped outside you’d see picnic table and his fishing poll leaning against it and a row of perfectly stacked logs placed a few feet away from the fire pit.

I remember riding my bike down to his campsite and seeing him standing at the chopping block splitting a log into kindling to feed into the fire. He’d hear me turn into his lot and would look up, smile and wave me over. He showed me how to place the logs in the pit to make sure they started burning the quickest, and how if you removed the bark from pine before placing it in the fire you wouldn’t get as much smoke.

I remember him walking up to my families campsite, tacklebox in hand, to take my brothers and I fishing. Grandpop loved fishing, but I think he liked taking us fishing more. We’d walk down to the lake and he would show us the perfect way to put the worm on the hook and he’d toss the line into the water until we were old enough to do it ourselves.

We never caught much fishing with Grandpop. When I went fishing by myself, or with my dad, we’d toss the line into the middle of the lake and wait for a curious fish to take the bait, but this took too long for my grandfather. As soon as the bait hit the water he’d start reeling it back in. While this might work for some fish, it wasn’t the best way to catch trout, but he didn’t care. He loved the act of fishing, of sitting on a bench with his kids and grandkids just enjoying the outside with them.

My grandfather was one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known but he always took time for his family and he knew how to relax. Whether it was relaxing at their campsite, going on one of his frequent vacations with my grandmother, or just cooking hotdogs on his grill at home, grandpop knew how to have a good time.


Service is the rent we pay…

In his office, Grandpop had a plaque with one of his favorite sayings. “Service is the rent we pay for out stay here on earth.” He had a lot of favorite sayings, but I think I heard him say this one more than any other. To Grandpop, serving others wasn’t an option. It was as natural to him as taking a walk or breathing.

Whether it was volunteering with a prison mission, or giving away something to a customer in need who came to his store, Grandpop loved helping people. He did it quietly though, never making a big deal of it. I didn’t know about his involvement in the prison ministry until someone mentioned it has his 60th wedding anniversary.

He taught me that service was an act of joy, not obligation, that helping others was something you just DID and not something you had to plan out and account for. He founded a church, worked in a prison ministry, and would always be there to lend an ear and offer advice to anyone who needed it.

Service was such a big part of his life, but I can’t pin down a single story to write about here.  Service was who he was, and his whole life is that story.

Success Has No Business Hours

My grandfather was a brilliant businessman, and he started at a very early age. I remember him showing me accounting ledgers from when he was twelve years old and selling peanuts up and down the streets of his hometown, where he neatly listed the costs and profits of each day. He showed me box after box of ledgers where he wrote down each detail throughout his entire life.

He was an entrepreneur. His first “real” business was an old truck he drove around the farmhouses in southern PA as a “Bookstore to your door.” Where he would sell bibles, school supplies, and other items to people who might not be able to make it into the “City” to go shopping.

This mobile bookstore eventually became Hackman’s Bible Bookstore, which grew into the largest independently owned Christian Bookstore on the east coast, one that won the “Christian bookstore of the year” award multiple times before my Grandfather sold the company to my Uncle and “retired.”

The favorite part of the store for him was the Bible Counter where he helped sell hundreds or thousands of bible’s to customers, showing them the different translations (His favorite was the Living Bible) and just getting to know his customers.

He had a mind for business, but he was successful because he had a heart for his customers. He loved getting to know people, not just to pitch them something, but because he loved talking to them. Grandpop loved to know everyone he could, and he’d remember the details you gave him.

From him, I learned the importance of getting to know people as people. In a business world dominated by metrics, efficiency, and things like “Average ticket.” Grandpop seemed more concerned about how a customer’s family was doing, and that’s why so many people loved him.



Watching him go was hard.  At the end they had him on Oxygen and every breath was a struggle.  We were with him last night until almost midnight, singing hymns and telling stories about all of the things he did for us.  When we got the call this morning saying he left us, my Aunt said that right before he went they stood around his bed singing his favorite hymn ‘He Lives.”  At the end he was peaceful, and his breathing a little less labored.  She said he raised his hand up into the air one last time and passed on.  He left surrounded by his loved ones, and I don’t think he’d want it any other way.

He’s inspired me in so many ways and thinking back on his life, the strongest memories aren’t the ones of him in the hospital, battling Parkinson’s. My strongest memories of him are the bone-crushing handshakes he’d give, the smile on his face, and the image of him walking up the path to our campsite, tacklebox in hand.

Rest in Peace, J Walter Hackman. Your rent was paid in full.




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On behalf of our family, and the Montco Bible Fellowship family, extend loving condolences to you Mrs. Ruth Hackman, and to your children Rose, Becky, Jenny, Joe, and Libby, and to each of their families.  May our God, the God of all comfort and all sufficiency, be more than you need Him to be during this difficult time.

As a customer of Hackman’s Bible Book Store for many years I would like to share some of my experiences with you.

To begin, let me say that I find it helpful when I can associate the memory of a dear friend with portions of God’s Word.  In the case of my friend, Mr. Hackman, Acts 13:36 is the portion that reminds me of him:

“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and as laid with his fathers and saw corruption.” (Acts 13:36 ESV)

The portion “…served the purpose of God in his on generation…” reminds me of what I learned as a customer of Hackman’s Bible Book Store during the dash between 1973 (when I first met Mr. J. Walter Hackman) and 2012,  (when I said “good-bye” to him,  for now).

My wife and I first met Mr. Hackman in the spring of 1973, at Hackman’s Bible Book store.  He and I worked next door to one another; I was the pharmacist next door, and he was the owner of Hackman’s Bible Book Store.

Immediately, we discovered that we shared three common passions.  Love for God, love for His people, and love for “good” books.  Books share messages that meet needs and desires, and also speak to human hearts in ways that spoken words cannot.

For the next 39 years Mr. Hackman treated me and all his customers like true friends.  Today, because of his legacy, it is still a treat to go to Hackman’s Bible Book Store and to be treated as one of their special guests.

To me the text “he had served the purpose of God in his own generation” speaks of his impact.

His impact on me, through the lessons he shared, and the lessons I learned – not sitting in the pew, but as a customer standing in the aisle, are cherished memories.  Listening to, and observing this man of God in action was a gift.

His philosophy: Service is the rent he loved to pay for his stay here on earth- has always been my customer experience.

If you’ve ever been to Hackman’s Bible Book Store more than once, you know that you’re their favorite customer.  That was the impact of his ministry and life – the two were inseparable for Mr. Hackman.  Mr. Hackman taught so much without preaching, which has become powerful lesson for me, as I pastor God’s people.

He made a difference in my life and in the lives of countless others over the decades.  He showed all of his customers by how he served, that Hackman’s Bible Book Store was a ministry first, and then a business.

His service had a life changing impact on the many that he came in contact with.

Observing him in action was better than any education I could have received.  From short visits to his store I learned more than any university or seminary could offer.  The lessons were short teaching moments; to the point, and of high impact.

Mr. Hackman had the gift of offering the right book for the right ailment.  It was his Rx for what you had.

He had the joy of being used by God to transform lives without a pulpit or a missionary passport.

Also, Mr. Hackman was a keen student of people; he saw and treated all people as true image bearers of God.

He taught me that even though the “un-churched community” was diversified by culture, race, language, it was unified by common needs.  This community of discouraged, lost, and struggling people needed to find the Way, the Truth, and the Life in the person of Jesus Christ.

He also helped me appreciate that the “Church Community” (diversified by denominations, worship styles, and favorite traditions) shared common needs.  Whether they called themselves Baptists, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Methodist, Mennonites, Reformed, etc., they all shared the same spiritual problems of the heart – worry, lust, greed, anger, to name a few.  He tactfully offered solutions for these problems through books, Sunday school tools, Bible study materials, or understandable Bible translations.  With great skill Mr. Hackman pulled these remedies from his shelves, very much like a pharmacist would do with remedies from his shelves.

Mr. Hackman also had a unique way of combining wisdom, humor, and practical advice.  Some examples:

  •   “Why pray when you can worry?” was a memorable quote from him, which gives an accurate picture of too many lives.
  •  When Peterson’s “The Message” first came out many critics were against it.  During a private debate over this “new translation” in his store, Mr. Hackman didn’t chose sides, but said to me “Got a Minute?  Read this verse.”  It was John 1:14.  “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood…”  Since then this translation has been used in many sermons, mine and those of others effectively.  Truly, he was ahead of his time.
  •   Dale Carnegies’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” was a book which Mr. Hackman said and I quote “This should be in every church pew alongside the Bible and hymnal.”  He believed it would make a difference for the Christian community, for those living in it and for those outside looking at it.

To Mrs. Ruth Hackman, his treasured wife, and to his legacy of five beloved children and their families, I close with this thought from the text in Acts:

As with David, he (Mr. Hackman) fell asleep in the land of the dying, to awake in the land of the living with His Lord.

I say goodnight to a long time friend, and not goodbye.

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