Dr. Hackler’s Castro Valley practice thrived under his leadership for more than 40 years, with patients large and small receiving his undivided attention until he sold the practice and entered semi-retirement in April. The compassion Hackler showed his patients earned him widespread admiration from their human companions, many of whom wrote with stories of his many kindnesses.
“Our family was having a difficult time as our dog began to decline and it was evident he would have to be put down,” wrote Michael Barrett of Fremont. “Dr. Hackler saw what was happening with our family and he came to the house, helped everyone through it. I remember him stroking our dog’s head as he left the house.”
Hackler, who learned to fly with the money from his GI Bill, was at the controls of a small amphibious aircraft he was restoring when the plane went down south of the Calaveras airport.
Hackler is survived by his wife Kathie, children Teresa Dilger, of Pleasanton; Tara Hackler, of Bend, Ore; and Russell Winston Hackler Jr., of Livermore; two sisters, Carol Ghisalberti, of Lexington, Mo., and Cathy Schmid, of Fort Worth, Texas; a brother, George Hackler, of Warrensburg, Mo.; and three grandchildren.