John Kenneth Wackman ’73

John Kenneth Wackman, 69, died suddenly of an apparent heart attack on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, at his home in Kingston, N.Y.

A former resident of Portsmouth and Eliot, John spent 10 years with New Hampshire Public Television in Durham. As NHPTV’s Executive Producer, he worked on New Hampshire Crossroads with Fritz Wetherbee, The Making of Ken Burns’ Baseball, and Ciao Italia.

Born Dec. 1, 1951, in New York City, John attended Davidson College in North Carolina. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in natural resources analysis and a master’s in communication arts.

After a happy stint with a Madison-based children’s theater group, he began his career in television production, first with Madison’s NBC affiliate. After leaving the Seacoast, John became co-creator of the Hallmark Channel’s daily show, “New Morning.”

In his next and ultimately final act, John moved to New York’s Hudson Valley, where he founded one of the first Repair Cafes in the United States, launching a movement that spread throughout the region. John’s first book, “Repair Revolution: How Fixers Are Transforming Our Throwaway Culture” (coauthored by Elizabeth Knight), was published in October 2020. In all of his positions and throughout his life, John always sought to bring people together, share their joy, and highlight their accomplishments.

John is survived by his children, Nathaniel K.S. Wackman (Shewanna) of Chicago, and Lucy S.S. Wackman of Kittery, and his grandchildren Nicholas and Zoe of Chicago; his partner, Holly Shader; his former wife, Susan Sinnott; his sister Anne W. Oros (John), brother Christopher B. Wackman (Nancy) and many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends from all parts of his life.

A private burial took place on Jan. 13 at the Rosendale Plains Cemetery Natural Burial Ground, Rosendale, N.Y. His family looks forward to gathering at a future date to celebrate John’s inextinguishable bright light.

Donations to the Repair Cafe of the Hudson Valley and Catskills can be made in John’s honor through Sustainable Hudson Valley, the project’s fiscal sponsor, online (specifying Repair Café as your chosen project) or by mail c/o Post Office Box 3364, Kingston, NY 12402 with “Repair Cafe” in the subject line.

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