Cover photo for Michael "Jack" Hartney's Obituary
Michael "Jack" Hartney Profile Photo
1925 Michael 2014

Michael "Jack" Hartney

October 17, 1925 — December 4, 2014

Michael ‘Jack” H. Hartney, 89, of Watkins Glen, New York, died peacefully at Seneca View December 4th after a short illness. Born in Athol, MA, on October 17, 1925, he resided in Orange, MA until 1966, moved to Atlanta, GA, and Hanceville, AL, before moving to Watkins Glen, NY, in 2006. A member of the Orange High School Class of 1943, he was the leader of the drum section of the Orange High School Band under the direction of Malcolm Hall and a member of the post-war American Legion Post 172 Drum and Bugle Corps of Orange. For many years he played in a dance band that played regularly at the Warwick Inn and the Gardner Hotel. A veteran of World War II, Jack served in the United States Navy stationed primarily on Guam in the South Pacific. In the service he was an airplane mechanic for the Pacific forces. After the War Jack worked for several automobile dealerships in Orange and Athol, MA as a mechanic. Then he began a long career at the Rodney Hunt Machine Company in Orange as a Sales Representative serving all of the New England states. He served briefly as an elected member of the Orange Airport Commission. After moving to Atlanta he was employed with various companies in the southern United States as a Sales Representative for large industrial machinery companies. In Hanceville, AL, he became a certified pilot, a life-long dream that began during his military service. And, until his retirement Michael worked at Speedring, Inc. in Cullman, AL, and IMD Group, Inc. of Birmingham. Jack built one of the first street hot rods in New England from the 1932 Ford roadster that his mother had helped him purchase while he was 15. He was a Charter Member, number 88, of the National Hot Rod Association. He is featured in the book, Cool Cars, Square Roll Bars, for his efforts to bring drag racing to New England, and was inducted into the New England Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2008. He was responsible for bringing the sport of drag racing to the Orange Airport in the late 1950’s under the sponsorship of the Orange Kiwanis Club. The club realized thousands of dollars from their sponsorship which benefited local agencies and causes. In the early 1960’s he constructed a dragster in his Brookside Road garage that went on to win numerous time trials and car show awards. The dragster nearly won the national championship for its class in 1963. The 1932 Roadster and dragster have been restored by his nephew, Steven LeBlanc, and the restored dragster won its class at the 2008 World of Wheels Car Show in Boston, MA. Both restored vehicles returned to the Orange Airport for the Drags Reunion in September 2010. As a racing spectator Jack attended the Indianapolis 500 in 1948 and for more than 50 consecutive years beginning in 1960. In 2007 he attended the 24 hours Grand Prix at LeMans, France. He moved to Watkins Glen, New York, in 2006 and became a frequent spectator at the many events at the Watkins Glen International track. He had been a spectator at the 2nd Grand Prix in Watkins Glen in 1949. A member of the Episcopal Church, he was active at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Athol, MA, and Saint James’ Episcopal Church in Watkins Glen, NY. He is survived by his son, The Reverend Michael Hartney (Susan) of Watkins Glen, NY; grandchildren Dr. Edgar Kemp (Heidi) of Kirksville, MO, Leslie Kemp (Jane) of Davis, CA, David Cameron Hartney (Michelle) of Las Vegas, NV, and Elton Matthew Hartney James (Ashley) of Los Angeles, CA; great grandson sons: Samuel, Max, and Alex Kemp; Owen and Declan Kemp; and great granddaughter Lily Hartney James; sister Geraldine LeBlanc (Al) of Venice, FL; nephew Steven LeBlanc of Milford, MA; and niece Diane (Kenneth) Cypher of Marlborough, MA. He is predeceased by his mother Constance Feindel Hartney, his father Elton Clarence Hartney, his first wife. Juliet Richter Sylvain, and his second wife, Betty English Hartney. His body will lie in state on Friday, December 12th, at Saint James’ Episcopal Church, Decatur and Sixth Streets in Watkins Glen, NY, where his family will receive friends from 7-9 pm. Vigil prayers will be offered at 8.45 pm. The Requiem Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at the Church on Saturday, December 13th, at 11 am. After cremation, burial will be at Lakeside Cemetery in Watkins Glen at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Endowment Fund of the Episcopal Parishes of Schuyler County, 112 Sixth Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891, or the International Motor Racing Research Center, 601 South Decatur Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891. You may express condolences to the family or light a "Candle of Remembrance" online at www.Royce-Chedzoy.com. Arrangements by Royce-Chedzoy Funeral Home, Watkins Glen.
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