Sarah Smith Hackett, a longtime resident of Port Washington and Great Neck, died on March 30, 2006 after a brief illness at Glen Meadows Retirement Community in Glen Arm.
Mrs. Hackett was born in Baltimore, MD, on March 12, 1918. She resided Roland Park and attended Roland Park Country School and graduated from Western High School in 1935. It was a Western that she met Lucille Tingle Mason, Director of Music, who recognized the quality of her contralto voice and sponsored her to attend the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Upon graduation from Western she was hired to work at Hutzler's Department Store in 1935, first as a "stuffer" filing credit slips, then promoted to the Toy Department. Her starting salary was $12 a week. As it was the middle of the Great Depression she was thrilled to have secured a job and stayed there for six years. During her lunch hour her mother would drive downtown and rush her to the Peabody for her voice lessons with Frank Bibb. Her next employment was at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Women's Clinic 1942 - 1945. During this time she sang as a professional soloist in Baltimore churches including Emmanuel, St. Thomas' (Garrison Forest) and the Pro-Cathedral.
Her passion for music continued throughout her life. She was a season subscriber to the Metropolitan Opera throughout her years in Manhattan and Long Island.
In October 1945 at the age of 27 she went to visit a friend in New York City. She was so smitten with Manhattan that she soon resigned from her job at Hopkins Hospital and moved to New York, living at the Alden Hotel for women. She became enchanted with the fashion industry and worked several jobs in advertising and as a flower designer in a hat shop. Then she was hired to write or Women's Wear Daily, a Fairchild publication where she was an editor in several different departments before becoming dress editor. She had fond memories of going out to meet ocean liners arriving in New York to get the first "scoop" and interviews with the European dress designers. Dressed in the standard business attire of the day of a suit, high heels, gloves and a hat, she recalled how tricky it was mounting the narrow metal ladder suspended alongside the hull of the ship. One missed step would end with a plunge in the East River.
In 1958 she married James D. Hackett Jr. She resigned from Women's Wear Daily and moved to Great Neck and then Port Washington. They had one son, Rory Taylor Hackett. Mrs. Hackett launched into what was to become a most productive and satisfying career as a volunteer. She was listed annually in Who's Who in American Women.
Arrangements were made by the Mitchell-Wakefield Funeral Home, Baltimore.