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J. Walter Hackman, 88, formerly of Allentown, passed away April 21, in Souderton Mennonite Homes.  He was the husband of Ruth (Yoder) Hackman. They were married on June 10, 1944. He was the son of the late Joseph W. and Katie (Derstine) Hackman. He attended school in the Souderton School District and graduated from Eastern Mennonite High School in 1941. He was a salesman all his working life, even as a child, selling vegetables, pretzels, etc. from a push cart door-to-door in Souderton and Telford. He learned the butchering trade at various Philadelphia markets.

In 1947, he started BOOKSTORE TO YOUR DOOR, a truck stocked with Books, Bibles, Music and Gifts. This was the forerunner of what is now known as Hackman’s Bible Book Store in Whitehall. He was well known for his knowledge in selling Bibles, not only locally, but publishers were also aware of his experience and sought his advice.

From 1968-1970 he was President of Christian Booksellers Association, an international organization.  Also, in 1968 he received the Christian Bookstore of the Year Award. The Hackman’s were avid campers and for forty years they enjoyed a trailer in the Poconos at Spruce Lake Retreat with their children and grandchildren.  Three times they camped across the country. He was an expert at maneuvering his motorhome, even to Alaska. He loved fishing.

He was an active member of Allentown Mennonite Church for many years, starting the church’s first Vacation Bible School in a tent along with a camp program for city children. He conducted monthly prison services for 35 years at Lehigh County Prison. More recently he was a member of Swamp Mennonite Church.

Survivors: Wife, four daughters, and one son; Rose, wife of Glenn Martin, Barto; Rebecca, Wife of John Hess of Jonestown; Jenny, wife of David Fitting, Allentown; Joseph, Husband of Marcia Hackman, Emmaus; Libby, wife of Matthew Bauman, Quakertown. 11 Grandchildren: Lisa Stoltzfus, Rodney Martin, Shawn Hess, Andrew Fitting, Kevin Fitting, Joe Hackman, Elizabeth Kennel, Brian Hackman, Jason Bauman, Kyle Bauman, Jon Bauman.  6 Great grandchildren: Alex Rodriguez, Matthew Martin, Ryan Martin, Caleb Stoltzfus, Brandon Stoltzfus, Ila Hackman. In addition to family he is survived by two sisters, Verna Moyer and Dorothy Martin. He was preceded in death by Granddaughter Kim Rodriguez, Great Granddaughter Elizabeth Rose Stoltzfus, one sister Susan Moyer and two brothers, Linford and Wilmer.

Services:

Thurs April 26, 11 a.m., Swamp Mennonite Church.

2125 Rosedale Rd. Quakertown

Viewing:

Wed, April 25 6-8 p.m., Souderton Mennonite Home,

207 West Summit Street Souderton, PA 18964

Thurs, April 26 9-10:30 a.m. Swamp Mennonite Church

Interment:

Swamp Mennonite Cemetery

 

Memorial Contributions:

The Gideon’s International, P.O. Box 3381, Allentown, PA 18106

Good Shepherd Home, 601 Saint John St, Allentown, PA 18103

 

Jeffrey A. Naugle Funeral and Cremation Service will be handling the arrangements.  www.janauglefcs.com

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The Hackman family has recently had some sad news; J. Walter Hackman has passed away to be with our Lord and Savior.  We ask you to please pray for the family at this time while we all remember the great man J. Walter Hackman and the spiritual legacy he left behind.

In the beginning….

“We moved up to Allentown to take over a small mission,” says J. Walter Hackman, who co-founded Hackman’s Bible Book Store with his wife, Ruth.  That was in 1947 when Hackman was a meat cutter in Philadelphia.  “A friend say, ‘why don’t you sell something for the soul instead of the stomach?,’ and that’s how we started selling books and Bibles,” he remembers fondly.

Within his Mennonite denomination, Hackman felt the call to service and moved, with Ruth, to Allentown.  While living in a third floor apartment on Sixth Street, Walter carried a basket door-to-door selling books and Bibles.  He eventually had a bread truck outfitted as a mobile bookstore.  With that truck, he covered a 70-mile radius from home, and that’s when Hackman’s Bible Book Store was born.

“I’d approach a home carrying a basket that had three tiers to it,” Walter says.  “On the top tier, I had non-religious items; in the middle, I had books, and on the bottom, I had Bibles.  As I approached, I knew what would be in the customer’s mind: ‘We don’t want any books today.’ But in my mind was, ‘What do you need today?’

This is actually a key insight into what has built Hackman’s to its present stature.  Walter’s focus, from the very beginning, was on the customers and on providing the customers with what they needed at that particular time in their lives.  Most often, that involved inspirational books and Bibles that had the ability to change people’s lives.

“‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he'” Walter quotes. “We tried to provide that right thinking through the books we sold and the Bibles we sold and the products we sold.”

The first bricks-and-mortar Hackman’s Bible Book Store was on Sixth Street in Allentown, right next to the mission they had come to foster.

“It started very slowly,” says Ruth.  “The bill for rent was $35, and a big day was $16.50 at the time.  And we were also paying someone to be in the store!”

All five of the Hackman’s children worked in the store as they grew up.  The store grew too.  “The Lord blesses with sweat,” says Walter.

With a full family effort, Hackman’s relocated to St. John Street, and then after 17 years in that location, moved to an even bigger store on MacArthur Road, where it stayed for another 17 years before the store moved to its current location at 1341 Mickley Rd. in Whitehall, now owned by Joe and Marcia Hackman.

We ask everyone to please share their stories about how J.Walter Hackman has touched their lives, and fond remembrances of him.  Please leave them in the comments section below.

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Earth day is coming up, and we wanted to remind everyone that this is a great time of the year to plant a tree or even your own vegetable garden.  A garden is a great family activity, and a way to get exercise and spend time outdoors.  Not only that, but you can then eat delicious, home-grown produce.  The wonderful tastes and colors of naturally grown fruits and vegetables were created by God, and nourish the body and the soul.  Earth day is also a great time to do crafts with kid’s such as making a pine-cone bird feeder.

For delicious, healthy ways to use the produce in your new garden, Dr. Scott Stoll has some great information and recipes here.  We’d love to hear how you celebrate the Earth and all of God’s wonderful creations!

Keep in mind that we have some events coming up at the store.  On April 20 at 7pm  is Ian Holme’s CD release concert and birthday party.  Everyone is invited, and we’re hoping to have a nice crowd.  You can check out Ian Holme’s and even download some of his music at http://ianholmesmusic.com/.

On April 28 at 9 AM is Christian Education Workshop with Velvet Lozada.  All Christian educators are invited to this free conference.  We have also cancelled our Courageous events this month.  Remember you can keep up on all the latest news on our Facebook page.

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We are excited to announce that our Easter chicks can be found in store again this year!  They will be spending the week with us, so you can stop by and see them anytime before April 7.  They’re adorable, and the kids love them!  We are running a live webcam feed this year of the playful little chicks that you can find on our Facebook page, here.

We are also running a coloring contest for children ages 1-10 this week.  You can pick up the coloring pages in store, or print them out at the links below:

http://www.catholicmom.com/images/coloringpages/cross3.gif http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Kh0CZuWd0T8/TU0e7nAHNGI/AAAAAAAAJhU/014yL1x-xss/s1600/easter+chicks+colouring+page+in+a+basket.gif

There are prizes for all children who color a picture.  We look forward to seeing many wonderful and creative entries!

This past week was also the Immersion Day event with Dr. Stoll that we have been looking forward to, and we certainly didn’t dissapoint.  Thank you to Dr. Scott and Kristen Stoll for a wonderful afternoon, and for all the vendors and people who helped make it possible.  There was amazing food and great conversation, and everyone had a fantastic time.

Starting tomorrow, we will be starting another contest, so keep your eyes out!  Don’t forget, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Foursquare.

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Here at Hackman’s, we’ve been enjoying the beautiful weather and getting ready for the Easter chicks to join us at the store.  They should be joining us the week before Easter.  Here are some of the cuties we had last year:

We will be sharing updates on the chicks to let you know when they hatch and when you can come see them at the store.  If you have kids, or know someone who does, we recommend that you pick up the new Veggie Tales DVD while you’re at it!

Right now we’re getting ready for our Immersion Day tomorrow from 9 AM- 3:30 PM.  We’re so excited to have Dr. Stoll and his wife in here to talk about nutrition and loving your body the way God intended.  We will also be providing a catered lunch.  We encourage you to check out this great video by Dr. Stoll:

http://www.fullyalivetoday.com/preview/pages/video.html

If you can’t join us, you can purchase his Fully Alive! Book and Kristen Stoll’s cookbook here at the store.

Make sure to join us on Twitter!  A little birdie told me we might be holding a contest on there.  Tweet, Tweet!

www.twitter.com/hackmansbooks

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If you’re looking for a perfect Easter present, I suggest that you check out our adorable little lambs that plays “Jesus Loves Me”.  We’ve been selling these for many, many years and they are always a huge hit.

We’ve heard some wonderful stories from our customers about the lambs.  They make a wonderful Easter or Christening gift, and many families have started a tradition, like Roger and his family:

“Thirty five years ago, we had our first grandson.  I came home from work and my wife said to me, ‘Look what I bought for him’.  It was a small lamb that played Jesus Loves Me.  That was the start of the family tradition.  Since that time we have purchased fourteen lambs for our grandchildren and four for our great grand-children.  I lost my wife Sept. 5, 1995, but I have purchased the last two myself for two great granddaughters.  You keep up the good Hackman tradition and as long as I am able I will keep up our tradition.  When I am unable to do so, I know my daughters will do the same.”

We’re also still looking for entries for our Facebook contest to win 2 tickets to Dr. Stoll’s Immersion Day on March 24.  Just let us know, on Facebook (or here) about your experiences with how Dr. Stoll’s system (or any type of healthy eating) has changed your life for the better, OR how you think Dr. Stoll’s system can help you to change your life.  Immersion Day will be an exciting event with great information on biblical nutrition, and a healthy catered lunch.  The contest will be ending on Tuesday, so there are only a couple more days to enter!

Also, our new website is live!  Please let us know what you think! (www.hackmans.com).  There are pictures and useful information on the site, and we also encourage you to visit our online store.

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One of the many reasons that we decided to start this blog was due to inspiration from Ruth Hackman’s, “Reflections”, a column in the Morning Call that started on Nov. 2, 1974, and ran for 22 years.

Originally intended as a sales column for Hackman’s, “Reflections” quickly became a “personal chitchat” column, which readers were thrilled with.  The column read very much like blogs today do.  Ruth would offer personal reflections, talk about her family, and share household tips.

Not only did Ruth’s column make Hackman’s and their store widely known around the valley, but she offered a subtle spritual guide for those that had lost their way, and invited customers and readers into the Hackman’s lives.

Thank you, Ruth, for starting such a wonderful tradition and creating the community relationships that we value so dearly.

Our next bible study will be on Feb. 8 at 10 am, and led by Ron Ridenour.  The topic is “ROMANS 12: The Christian Life”.  Registration is requested; we hope to see you there!

 

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