Remembering Pharmily: Gene Hackney

In memory of Gene Hackney, BSPhar ’54, a dedicated community pharmacist and lifelong friend to the School

Story by Kirsten Beattie | Published September 19, 2023

Sara Hackney and Gene Hackney in formal wear

Gene Hackney was a renowned storyteller, a trait that no doubt endeared him to his pharmacy customers in Lumberton, NC. Members of the Carolina “pharmily” were saddened to learn of his passing on August 30 at the age of 91.

Gene grew up in Sanford, NC, before heading to Chapel Hill to earn his pharmacy degree with the Class of 1954. While in pharmacy school, he met the woman who would become his wife of 59 years. Sara Hackney earned her pharmacy degree from UNC in 1956. The two married in 1957 and settled into pharmacy and life in Lumberton, NC.

Gene and Sara were quintessential community pharmacists – caring, dedicated to their patients and communities, and always willing to go the extra mile. They owned and ran Hedgpeth Pharmacy and North Elm Pharmacy for 40 years. Gene was known to go in after hours if needed, and both were immersed in their communities. 

Both Gene and Sara were committed to giving back not only to their community but also to their pharmacy school. They served on the UNC School of Pharmacy Foundation Board of Directors. Sara became a charter member of the Junior Service League and Gene was active with Rotary Club and Friends of the Library. Gene also served on the Board of the North Carolina Mutual Drug Company.

Quick with a grin and the gift of the gab, Gene delighted in sharing stories from his career and about his beloved UNC.

Gene and Sara’s daughters, Sally and Elizabeth, recall Gene’s commitment to serving the people of the community. “The pharmacies were an integral part of our lives, the employees and customers like family. He dedicated his life to helping others, taught us the value of hard work and service above and beyond,” they say, adding, “Nothing made him happier than a Tar Heel victory in any sport, especially if it was over Duke.”

In honor of their parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, Sally and Elizabeth created the Eugene W. and Sara J. Hackney Scholarship at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Friends interested in honoring Gene are invited to support the fund by visiting We also welcome remembrances to be shared with the family in the comments below.

Gene and Sara spent their final years at Croasdaile Village. Sara passed in 2017.