By Leah Williams
The Hackley Family Reunion 50th Anniversary was held on July 26-29 in San Diego, California. Nearly 75 direct descendants and extended family members of Archibald and Hazel Mae Hackley converged on the city from Maryland, Georgia, Ohio, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and Texas to celebrate and fellowship together for three days of planned family events and activities.
Originally established in Toledo, Ohio in 1969 by Glaudius Hackley Hudson Stewart, one of the seven children born to Archibald and Hazel Mae Hackley, the Hackley Family Reunion now occurs every other year and rotates cities and chairpersons. The 50th Anniversary reunion was chaired by Archibald and Hazel Mae Hackley’s great-granddaughter Chanel Fields.
When asked about the importance of the reunion, Ms. Fields said, “There’s something about being in a room filled with people that you like and love, who also like and love you. The love and laughter continually flows and pours into our spirits, filling us up until the next time we meet and have the opportunity to love on each other once again.”
Married on October 24, 1913 in Toledo, Ohio, Archibald and Hazel Mae Hackley built a lasting legacy of faith, family, and hard work. Mr. Hackley was born in Jolliet, Illinois in 1886 and later attended the Michigan Conservatory of Music. He was the church organist and a member of the famous Abyssinian Quartet at Third Baptist Church. Mr. Hackley was also among the first black U.S. Postman in Toledo. Born in 1896 in Dayton, Ohio, Mrs. Hackley was described by her daughter Glaudius (now deceased) as a consummate stay at home mother who possessed a “quiet, yet forceful set of principles.” The Hackleys had seven children: Evelyn, Glaudius, Archibald, Athalstine, Melvin, Phyllis, and Ursula. It is their descendants who carry on the reunion tradition.
Co-chairperson Edvelyn Webster (great-granddaughter) said that the reunions were a blessing and “treasured legacy” initiated 50 years ago by her great Aunt Glaudius. Another great-granddaughter of the Hackleys, Julianne Banks-Pearson said, “Our family reunions are life-giving! Coming together and experiencing the love we have for each other makes my heart smile.”
Events and activities during the Hackley Family Reunion weekend included a rooftop Meet and Greet, Beach Day, Bowling Night, Trolley Tour, Family Program and Banquet, and Farewell Breakfast. The Family Program and Banquet was emceed by the Hackley Family Chaplain Jason Banks who delivered a stirring family address encouraging all, but especially the young attendees, to continue the tradition of gathering together for generations to come.
“It doesn’t matter where we go, I always enjoy the family reunions! These are God-given special moments that can’t be replaced,” Mr. Banks said. “To quote my late father, ‘I can’t afford to attend family reunions; but I can’t afford not to.”