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John's Story

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John "Jack" Andrew Hauptman, chair of the Alachua County Land Conservation Board for 10 years and a superintendent at two national parks for 15 years, died Saturday, Feb. 3, at Haven Hospice in Gainesville. He was 82.

Born Sept. 7, 1935, in Brooklyn, NY, he was the son of Frank and Esther Donoghue Hauptman. His life was marked with public service. He took to heart the message in 1961 of President John F. Kennedy: Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.

His family described him as a "real deal New Yorker." He was born in Brooklyn to uneducated German-Irish Americans -- he was the first in his family to finish high school. He attended Brooklyn Technical High School, a competitive city school for boys. Determined to shape his future and make something of himself, he joined the U.S. Army to further his education with the help of the G.I. bill. He planned his discharge from the Army in time for the fall semester at the New York State School of Forestry on the Syracuse University campus. He was a landscape architectural student.

He worked for several landscape architectural and park planning firmsincluding being responsible for picking out New York City street treeswhen he was recruited by the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, part of Department of Interior, and thus began his federal public service. Among his responsibilities was to implant federal policy on the National Wild and Scenic Rivers and the National Trail Systems.
That Bureau became the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, where he worked his way up to Division Chief, then acting Associate Director for the national HCRS. His work included the merger of the HCRS with the National Park Service.

In May 1982, he was appointed as superintendent of Fire Island National Seashore, responsible for all aspects of natural resource protection and visitor services on the 30-mile long barrier island. In February 1987, he became superintendent of Acadia National Park in Maine. One of his major accomplishments was putting in place private fundraising efforts to restore the 52 miles of carriage roads and the vistas within the park.

On his marriage in September 1991 to Marjorie Leahy, then of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., and a college classmate, he decided to return to Fire Island as superintendent. He retired in 1997 and moved to Gainesville.

A member of the United Church of Gainesville, from 2006 to 2007, he was the church moderator, the top lay position to help coordinate the many projects of the church.

He was appointed to the Alachua County Land Conservation Board in 2000 and became its chair in 2001. He served for 10 years to protect and acquire environmentally sensitive land within the county. He received the Alachua Conservation Trust Conservation Stewards Award in 2012.

Jack had been a member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Gainesville for just over 20 years. He was also a member of the Bar Harbor Rotary Club and the Patchogue Rotary Club.

Survivors include his wife, Marjorie Leahy Hauptman of 26 years; two sons, Skye, of London, England, and Kyle of Washington, D.C.; a daughter, Tara Averill of Brooklyn, N.Y., three step-children, James Leahy of Harrogate, England; Laura Ferguson of Bedingfield, England, and Jack Leahy of Boulder, Colo., and three grandchildren, Fiona and Liam Averill of Brooklyn, and Ethan Hauptman of London.

Internment is in Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery. A memorial service is planned for 4 p.m. Friday, at the United Church of Gainesville.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the United Church of Gainesville, 1624 NW Fifth Avenue; the Alachua Conservation Trust or Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery, both located at 7204 SE County Road 234, Gainesville, FL 32641.
Published on February 14, 2018
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