Gary L. Hackbarth, 86

Published 6:24 pm Friday, June 21, 2024

Gary L. Hackbarth, 86

Gary Lee Hackbarth, age 86, of Austin, Minnesota, passed away at home surrounded by family on Sunday, June 16, 2024, after battling cancer. He was born in Lyle, Minnesota on May 18, 1938, to Orie and Helen (Perkins) Hackbarth.

At an early age, Gary’s family moved to California where his father worked building ships for the war effort. Near the end of the war, the family returned to Austin and Gary attended a one-room schoolhouse through 8th grade. He went to Austin High School and graduated in 1957.

After high school, he attended Lee’s Barber College in St. Paul. He returned to Austin and worked for a local barber shop until getting drafted into the U.S. Army in the fall of 1961. After basic training, he went to Military Police School in Georgia. He was mobilized to Fort Sumter, South Carolina during the Cuban Missile Crisis and when tensions relaxed there, he was sent to Mississippi to do crowd control during race riots. For months, he was part of the detail that worked to protect James Meredith, the first African-American student admitted to the racially segregated University of Mississippi.

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Upon returning home from service, Gary returned to barbering in Austin. He worked at the North Main Mall (Temple) for four years before entering into partnership in The Barber’s Three. In total, Gary barbered close to 60 years.

When he returned from service, Gary started dating Marlys, his beloved wife of fifty-nine years. They started their life together in Rochester and progressed over the years from trailer park to building their own home with three children in rural Austin. On the same homestead, they started a Choose-n-Cut Christmas tree farm which they operated for over 15 years.

Gary loved family, friends, the yard, gardening, his shed, and old cars as well as hunting, trap/skeet shooting, and the outdoors. He enjoyed introducing these past-times to his children. He was an active member in Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and the Cedar Valley Conservation Club (66 years) where he did trap and skeet shooting. He was also a proud member of Grace Lutheran Church for 80 years where he served on various committees throughout his lifetime.

Gary is survived by his beloved wife, Marlys; son, David (Sheleen) of Hudson, Wisconsin, daughter, Barbara (Robert Mueller) of San Diego, California, and son, Daniel (Maren) of Zimmerman, Minnesota; and eight grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Orie Jr.

A memorial service for Gary will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 29, 2024, at Grace Lutheran Church in Austin. The visitation will take place from 9:30-11:00 a.m. prior to the service on Saturday. Interment will be in Grandview Cemetery, Austin. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Grace Lutheran Church, American Cancer Society of Minnesota, or the American Heart Association. Worlein-Hoff Funeral Homes are assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at