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Pana mourns student who ‘never knew a stranger’

PANA — Samuel Hackler was known as “a jokester” who smiled often, wasn’t afraid of hard work, and was always willing to try new things.

The 13-year-old died on March 31 after suffering a seizure at track practice with Pana Junior High School’s track team. He was taken to Pana Community Hospital, where he died.

Samuel, a student at Sacred Heart Catholic School, was a member of the Pana Junior High School track team. The two schools have a cooperative agreement for sports. He also played on Pana Junior Football League, Sacred Heart’s baseball team, and Pana Junior High baseball and soccer teams. He enjoyed golf, fishing and hunting and held a black belt in karate, according to his obituary, which describes him as full of fun and “the good kind of ornery.”

Sacred Heart is on spring break this week and a message left at the school was not returned, though a note on the school’s Facebook page reads: “With heavy hearts we ask for continued prayers for a family suffering today. This family is not alone in their grief; pray for the Sacred Heart School families, students, friends and community forever impacted by this loss.”

The post includes a prayer asking God to comfort the child’s family and friends.

Sam was a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Pana, where visitation will be held 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and funeral Mass will be 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 5, with the Rev. Rodney Schwartz officiating.

Pana mourns student who ‘never knew a stranger’
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