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Elmore Howard Hackney

Posted By Hall-Wynne On March 5, 2011 @ 12:00 am In Obituaries | No Comments

Elmore Howard Hackney, died Saturday, March 5, 2011, after a period of declining health at the age of 95. His death occurred in the Emeritus Senior Living, San Dimas, California where he resided since February 2003. “Honeyboy,” as he was affectionately named during his illustrious football career at Duke University, was born in Durham on September 13, 1915 to Bunn Washington and Addie Metts Hackney. He was the youngest of six children: brothers Bunn, Rufus, Norman and sisters, Lovie and Nell. His three elder brothers each excelled in athletics at the University of North Carolina, so of course, Honeyboy was the “black sheep” and attended Duke University where he too excelled with academic and athletic achievements.

“Honeyboy” attended Durham schools and excelled in athletics at Durham High and was awarded a football scholarship to attend Duke in the fall of 1934. For his football prowess in 1935, he earned the nickname of “Honeyboy.” It was during a dashing punt return for a touchdown against Tennessee, when Duke’s Sports Publicist Ted Mann’s wife Peggy Mann, admired the dash and called the touchdown a “honey of a run” – thus the nickname “Honeyboy.”

A great athlete in every sense of the word, Elmore Hackney was a football and track star during his undergraduate days at Duke in the late 1930s. He was twice 1936, 37 named to the All-Southern Conference football team. In 1937, Hackney was voted Duke’s Most Valuable Player and was also honored as an All-American. He led the Blue Devils to a three-year 1935-37 record of 24-5-1, one of the best three-year marks in Duke Football history. In 1936 and 1938, he lettered on the Blue Devil track team. Hackney was the Carolinas AAU triple jump champion and a member of the 400 meter champion relay team in 1938. Hackney still holds the record for most punt returns in one game with 11 for 136 yards against Colgate in 1936. He had over 80 runs ranging from 12 – 72 yards, nothing short of phenomenal, and was touted as “The greatest running back the South has ever produced.” After his senior football year, he was selected and played in the College Football All Star Game at Soldiers Field, Chicago, and the East-West Game at Kezar Stadium, San Francisco. He declined offers to play for the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears in the NFL. He was inducted into the Duke Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.

While at Duke, “Honeyboy” met and fell in love with the beautiful Nell Puckett of Charlotte, N. C., and they were married March 22, 1940. This was during the time of World War II and it was amazing that such a tremendous athlete was discharged from the US Army due to a disability – “Flat Feet” – after only serving for limited time.

Returning to Durham, “Honeyboy” began his career with the American Tobacco Company and was in supervisory management for 42 years, until retiring in 1982. Together he and his beloved wife Nell raised their family in Durham. Unfortunately at a very early age, Nell died in 1977 after a very short and unexpected illness. Now they will once again celebrate together the lost years with eternal joy, love and happiness.

He was a member and an ordained Deacon of the First Baptist Church of Durham where he and the family attended Sunday school, church and participated in the Wednesday night-supper services. He also was a member of the Exchange Club for many years and served numerous officer positions and as its President. Both “Honeyboy” and Nell were strong supporters of their children in the Durham City School system, being very active in the Parent Teachers Association and were always active and engaged in education.

“Honeyboy” for 50 years, operated the scoreboard at all Duke home football games, without missing a single game. In addition to his full time occupation at the American, he worked for
Duke Concessions until he was 87 and loved every minute and every day. He was known to pop the best popcorn for all the Duke home athletic events and was very proud to share his special mix with the personnel of the Athletic Department. In 2003, the Athletic Department hosted a well deserved 2nd retirement after Honeyboy’s many years of dedicated service and love to Duke.

He is survived by his son Howard and wife Pat who live in Tybee Island, GA/Metamora, MI, daughter Jane Schult with her husband Bob who live in Glendora/Newport Beach, CA, grandchildren Rob and Cristin who also live in California, and several nieces and nephews living in North Carolina. We would be remiss not to mention his loving Bichon Frise, affectionally named “Duke.” Honeyboy lived a celebrated life and he will be long remembered by Howard and Jane for his fabulous smile and his love for his family and friends.

A friends and family visitation and viewing will be at Hall-Wynne Funeral Services on Friday evening March 11th at 5 PM – 7:30 PM and the Celebration of Life Memorial Service at Hall-Wynne Funeral Services on Saturday, March 12th at 11 AM followed by internment at Maplewood Cemetery. The family will host a luncheon after the services. The services will be performed by Rev. Andy Winn of the First Baptist Church of Durham.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial contribution may be made to: In memory of Elmore “Honeyboy” Hackney, Duke Athletics, Box 90542, Durham, North Carolina, 27708.

Arrangements by Hall-Wynne Funeral Services, 1113 West Main Street, Durham, NC 27701-2028, Telephone 919 688-6387. www.hallwynne.com


Condolences for the family of “Elmore Howard Hackney”

Condolence from Tim Lassiter on March 10th, 2011 12:00 am

To all the hackney family my prayers are with you. I got to know mr mo as i called him thru my mom and dad working the games at duke. It was not till later in life that i heard all about who he was. As a sports fan that made me respect him even more. Mr mo even after he moved to cal would call and check on mom and dad. He will be missed but not forgotten. God bless

Condolence from M Keel on March 9th, 2011 12:00 am

Welcome home, “Honey Bear.” I have missed your smile and hugs. Much love, Your “Sweetheart”

Condolence from Roy & Debbie Moore on March 9th, 2011 12:00 am

Howard and Pat, our memories of Mo will always be wonderful. Mo was one of the kindest and most welcoming gentlemen that we have ever had the pleasure to know. He always treated us like family and we always looked forward to his visits to Savannah. It was always special to be treated like family in our many visits to your home and when Mo was there he always lifted the merriment to a higher level. Even though we havent seen Mo in many years, we will miss him greatly. Our prayers with be with you and the family to comfort you in your lose and we will celebrate on Saturday his home going and prenomenal life.
Love You Guys,
Roy and Debbie Moore

Condolence from Ray Eason on March 10th, 2011 12:00 am

I and my fellow St. Paul United Methodist Church workers had the pleasure to work with Elmore Hackney at the Duke concessions for over 30 years. He was an honorable man,easy going,hard worker, and truly a great person.
His devotion to Duke speaks for itself, by his continued presence at Basketball, Football and all the other sports at Duke.I was saddened when he moved to California, but I understand his reasoning. He was greatly missed when he moved, but I as well as others can look back and remember “ELMO” as one of the best.

Ray Eason, Operator of Duke Basketball Concession Stand #209

Condolence from Janetis Vassiliades on March 11th, 2011 12:00 am

He is Mr Hackney, the good neighbor, who shared his fatherly nurturing with me, the kid next door.
He taught me how to ride a bike in one training session on Howard’s two-wheeler.
He persuaded my mom when I couldn’t, permitting me to join Howard for a outdoor sleep over in his backyard.
He let me borrow his tools from his garage provided I asked first.
He devoted a month of summer mornings gathering up and coaching the neighborhood boy scouts through a fitness program. He taught me that effort does bring results and the value of exercise.
Each summer he shared the sweetest tomatoes and refreshing cucumbers from his side yard garden.

I am fortunate to have such a good neighbor.

Condolence from Joyce Hill Pendergrass on March 11th, 2011 12:00 am

To the Family of Elmore Hackney. Your father and/or grandfather was truely a great person. My thoughts and prayers are with each of you today and in weeks to come.

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