Arthur Selig Hack, 86, of New Paltz, NY, passed away Thursday, May 14, 2020. He was born March 6, 1934 in Brooklyn, NY, son of the late Harry and Gertrude Hack.
Arthur was an English Professor at SUNY New Paltz for almost 40 years and loved teaching at all levels. He was passionate about literature, philosophy, the metaphysical foundations of Einstein's theories, and loved to engage in vigorous discussions thereof. Arthur enjoyed making people laugh and had the ability to inject levity into almost any situation. Anybody who met him will undoubtedly remember his unique sense of humor.
Arthur is survived by his brother, Martin Hack of Queens, NY, children, Julie Hack Buckler of Woodstock, NY, Paul Hack of Portland, OR and grandchildren Emma, Sarah, and Samuel Buckler of Woodstock, NY.
Arrangements entrusted to Keyser Funeral & Cremation Service, Kingston, NY. A tribute for Arthur can be found at www.KeyserFuneralService.com, where you may leave memories and expressions of sympathy for his family.
There are no events scheduled.
In 1998, I transferred to SUNY New Paltz and declared myself an English Major. Wandering around College Hall, I met a cast of characters, including the inimitable Arthur Hack and his anarchist confidante Abigail Robin. Before I knew it, I was swept up in their political banter, avante garde sensibilities, and self effacing humor. Later, I’d be in Professor Hack’s English Lit 3 class, study the best words in their best order by some of the best poets, and laugh at his absurdist jokes in between moments of existential and critical inquiry. Only Hack could weave the seemingly wild, senseless, and modern into the sublime from another time; words which could easily have seemed too archaic to the naïve or arrogant student. But he knew how to get your attention and keep it. If you could sort through the shtick (pieces of chalk flying through the air or an occasional loafer; he did physical comedy, too), the insights you’d glean from Arthur Hack were well worth the wait. He always had time for those lingering after class with earnest questions about “The Eve of Saint Agnes” or Prometheus Unbound. Later, as a TA in the MA program, I’d see Hack around the department then newly relocated to JFT. He loved a captive audience in that elevator (though not all the captives felt likewise), or downtown at The Bakery where he often held court. He was unabashedly himself, in all his antics, and anyone around was an inevitable player cast by fate in an improv show. His knowledge of theory and literature, his musings, candor, and humor remain Arthur Hack’s lively legacy, which will endure.