Ellen E. Hackney, former editor and director of communications for the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), died Oct. 7 in her hometown of Indianapolis. She was 79.
After receiving her degree from Indiana University, Hackney joined NRHA, which at the time was called the National Retail Hardware Association. She worked for NRHA in various editorial roles for 49 years, retiring in 2009 from her post as director of communications.
Throughout her career, Hackney was a strong advocate for the independent home improvement channel. She served as spokesperson for the association and granted interviews to several news outlets, including The New York Times and Inc. magazine, which reported on topics impacting independent home improvement retailers.
As editor, Hackney wrote NRHA’s 100th anniversary book in 2001, which chronicled the growth of the association and the industry through a century of helping independent home improvement retailers become better and more profitable merchants.
“I had the opportunity to work with Ellen during the early part of my career at NRHA, and not only was she a wealth of knowledge about the industry, but she also cared very deeply for the association and its mission to serve retailers,” NRHA executive vice president Dan Tratensek says. Tratensek worked with Hackney for the first 13 of his now 21 years with the association.
“I learned a great deal from Ellen, and I have no doubt that her work with NRHA helped independent retailers succeed,” he says.