Albert M. Sackett, formerly of Memphis Publishing Company, dies at 95

By Daniel Connolly of The Commercial Appeal

When Albert M. Sackett died Friday at age 95, his family sent an obituary to the newspaper. The obituary recounts his birth in Iowa, his 40-year Navy service and his career that included working for the company that publishes The Commercial Appeal.

The obituary comes straight from the source: Mr. Sackett wrote it himself.

He had some health issues a couple of years ago and decided it was time to write the obit, said one of his daughters, Julie Butler, 51. The decision to write the obituary reflected his sharp mind and attention to detail, she said. "He was an admiral to the end. Very organized and put everybody's wishes first. Really made a point of keeping the family sailing in the right direction."

Mr. Sackett died in Knollwood, a military retirement community in Washington, D.C. The cause was small-cell lung cancer, his daughter said.

Mr. Sackett was born in rural Victor, Iowa in 1920. His father died when he was an infant, and his mother was left to raise him and three siblings on her own. At 17, he enlisted in the Navy.

His service would span from 1937 until 1977, through World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and thereafter.

In 1983, Mr. Sackett was appointed director of community relations for Memphis Publishing Company, which at the time published both The Commercial Appeal and the former Memphis Press-Scimitar. An article at the time quoted Mr. Sackett: "I believe business and industry have a commitment to help the communities where they earn their livelihoods."

He retired in 1994.

His daughter said that at one point, he served on 19 local boards, including the Rotary Club and the Black Business Association. He also played a leadership role in the Liberty Bowl Festival Association.

She said in a phone interview Friday night that she was too numb to describe him well, but she asked other people in the home to try their best, and relayed their descriptions: "Great presence and personality. Whose warm voice you could hear three rooms away. And whose hug could make you feel unconditional love and relevance. He had kind of a larger than life personality."

When writing his own obituary, Mr. Sackett gave a prominent place to his wife Patt, who survives him.

A private memorial service is planned with burial in Victor, Iowa.

The Commercial Appeal (http://www.commercialappeal.com), May 2016