headshot of smiling manComtech Services
December 2022

It is with heavy hearts that Comtech announces the passing of William (Bill) Hackos, former owner and vice-president of Comtech. Bill played an instrumental part in Comtech’s existence for almost 40 years until retiring six years ago, doing anything and everything necessary for the business, from consulting to writing newsletter articles, from tracking financials to managing people, from holding down the fort while JoAnn was away to traveling all over the world with her. As he was a constant presence at our conferences, we’re sure many of you met him personally and have fond memories.

JoAnn wrote the following obituary to celebrate Bill’s life:


Picture of a smiling man and woman in front of waterfallDr. William Hackos Jr was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1939. He grew up in Little Falls, NJ, and earned his BA in physics at Rutgers University. He began teaching physics at Belleville NJ high school while he was earning his physics MS at New York University. It was there he met his future wife, JoAnn. They were married in 1966 and left for Indiana University, where Bill earned his Ph.D. in Astrophysics and JoAnn her Ph.D. in English Literature. In 1968, their first son, David, was born. After graduation in 1970, Bill became a professor of physics and astronomy at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, where their second son, Nathan, was born in 1971. In 1974, JoAnn and Bill moved to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa, TX, where Bill taught engineering and headed the computer center, while JoAnn taught English literature.


At UT Permian, Bill wrote the first inventory software program for the UT system. He also discovered that the first item purchased for the new university was a revolver! In 1977, Bill and JoAnn moved to Colorado, where Bill worked for the US Geological Survey as a lead programmer. After USGS, Bill worked at Homestake Mining and Climax Molybdenum as a programmer. He wrote the first program to create a digital map of the underground works at the Climax mine.
In the late 70s, JoAnn and Bill started their international consulting business, Comtech Services, Inc. in Lakewood. They traveled throughout the world consulting with companies about managing their technical content efficiently. Bill made friends everywhere. They especially enjoyed their many trips to teach workshops and consult in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and China.


Picture of smiling man and women on the beachBill was always a dedicated hiker and birder. He ran a marathon years ago with Nathan in Phoenix. He enjoyed finding and learning about new birds, finding and identifying new wildflowers, and collecting photos of butterflies. He and JoAnn traced the route of Louis and Clark from the Mississippi River to Astoria, OR. They had many adventures in South and Central America, Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, Russia, Poland, throughout Europe. He only missed Africa when he became ill.


Bill served on the board of Evergreen Audubon and led one of the Christmas Bird Count routes for many years. He served as a volunteer at the Evergreen Nature Center.


He is survived by his wife, JoAnn, their sons Nathan and David, and their eight grandchildren, Jorge, Katherine, Rodrigo, Estelle, Kristin, Briana, Julian, and Dylan. Please make donations in his name to Evergreen Audubon at: https://evergreenaudubon.org/get-involved/support-us/donations/