Emanuel V. Hackett, 58, MANOZiii the magician

February 15, 1997|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

MANOZiii the magician died doing what he loved most: making people laugh.

The former West Baltimore resident, whose real name was Emanuel Valentine Hackett, collapsed and died of a heart attack in the early hours of New Year's Day after he had completed a performance at the Stairway to Heaven music-cafe in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Mr. Hackett, who had lived in the Netherlands since 1990, was 58.

With his trademark Cyrano de Bergerac nose, top hat tilted over one eye, black walking stick, cutaway coat with fresh boutonniere and doves perching on his shoulders, MANOZiii was a familiar figure for more than a decade in Baltimore hospitals and senior citizen and recreation centers.

"Everyone called him Manny, and after taking part of his name and combining it with his nose, he came up with MANOZiii," said a brother, the Rev. William R. Hackett of Owings Mills.

Mr. Hackett pursued a busy performance schedule throughout the Middle Atlantic region and the South. Associated with the Mayor's Office of Special Projects and the Department of Recreation and Parks, he performed annually at 140 of the city's recreation centers as well as at festivals and area camps.

His visits to hospitals especially cheered sick children.

"Unfortunately, we cannot make the illnesses and hardships of so many of our children to 'disappear,' but visits such as yours help to bring fun and happiness to our children," wrote Susan Kleinberg, director of child life and education at the Mount Washington facility in 1982.

On stage, Mr. Hackett performed with rabbits and doves, which he seemingly pulled out of his top hat and from his coat and side pockets, as children roared with approval and adults scratched their heads and tried to figure out his tricks.

But true to the magician's creed, Mr. Hackett never revealed his secrets.

He was born in Baltimore in 1938, the day after Valentine's Day. He was one of 17 children. In the early 1950s, after the death of his father and mother, the children were placed in St. Elizabeth Orphanage, a Franciscan order, on Ellerslie Avenue.

It was there as a youngster that he began experimenting with magic.

"The Franciscan nuns who ran the orphanage didn't think too much of his magic tricks because [they] thought they were too worldly," said the Rev. Hackett.

Years later, Mr. Hackett had the pleasure of performing for the nuns of the same order at a convent in the Netherlands.

After graduating from St. Francis Xavier Parochial School in East Baltimore and Carver Vocational-Technical Senior High School, he enlisted in the Air Force.

Stationed as a military policeman at bases in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, Mr. Hackett continued performing magic tricks as a hobby -- entertaining children and Air Force personnel.

In 1965, he married Cato Zegel and after the couple returned to Baltimore in 1980, he became a professional magician.

In addition to working as a magician, he was a commercial artist, interior designer and caterer.

"My brother was a real Christian who every day tried to figure out how he could make someone else's life brighter. He didn't make much money and often performed for free, but his whole reason for living was to bring smiles to the faces of others," said the Rev. Hackett.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 2 p.m. today at St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church, Windsor Avenue and Hilton Street, Baltimore.

In addition to his wife and brother, he is survived by another brother, Donald Hackett of Baltimore; seven sisters, Carmelita Hackett of Woodlawn, Anita Sterrette, Gloria Jackson, Theresa Jordan, Delores Bowles, all of Baltimore, Imelda Felton of Washington, and June Richey of Seattle; and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital, 1708 W. Rogers Ave., Baltimore 21209.

Hugh F. McKenna, 90, Social Security official

Hugh F. McKenna, who worked for the Social Security Administration for nearly 40 years and retired as an associate commissioner, died Jan. 27 at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson of a heart attack. He was 90.

Mr. McKenna, who lived in Lutherville, began work at Social Security offices in New York in 1936, two years after the inception of the agency. He was a technical adviser in the Bureau of Old Age Benefits.

In 1938, he was appointed a regional representative and came to the downtown Baltimore SSA offices in 1944 to head the division of field operations.

At his retirement in 1975, he was an associate commissioner, responsible for the entire range of the cash benefits programs administered by the agency.

After retiring, Mr. McKenna was an SSA consultant for a year and lectured at the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Va. He also served on the Central Area Advisory Council of the Baltimore County Board of Education and was elected to the SSA Alumni Council in 1978.

A native of Meriden, Conn., Mr. McKenna graduated from Tufts University in 1929 and sold insurance for several companies until he joined Social Security.

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