William "Will" Hassed



Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project
Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project

(1882 - January 6, 1937)


The Lusk Herald
January 7, 1937


Former Sheriff Hassed Takes Own Life

Well Known and Popular Public Official, Who Quit Office Monday, Shoots Self While Temporarily Unbalanced; Had Served Five Terms as Sheriff

Will Hassed, who had served five consecultive terms as Sheriff of Niobrara County, and one of the best-known peace officers in the State, took his own life about noon Wednesday, by shooting himself in the temple with a .32-caliber revolver, in the garage of his home, while suffering from a temporary derangement, believed to have been brought on by over-work and a nervous condition with which he has been suffering for the past year or more.

After his refusal to run for a sixth term, Hassed vacated the office which he had held for the past ten years, and turned the office over to his successor, D. A. Shoopman, Monday, but none of his closest friends seemed to have an inkling that he had intended to end his life in such a tragic manner.

He had moved his family to his own residence, which he had recently remodeled. Leaving the house about noon Wednesday, he threw his overcoat over his arm, and walked back into his garage, which is only a short distance back of the house. He had spread his overcoat on the floor very carefully, sat down, and placed a .32-caliber revolver to his left temple, and sent a bullet through his brain.

Death was apparently instantaneous, for he had scarcely moved after he fired the shot. When found, he had slumped over slightly, and the gun was resting in his lap, where it had fallen from his hand.

The body was discovered by his young son, Jimmy Hassed, who was returning from school. Sheriff Shoopman was notified by the young son, and Coroner George Earl Peet was summoned. He had apparently been dead only a short while when the body was discovered.

Some of this closest friends had remarked about his highly nervous condition, especially within the last week, when he had put in long hours working on the Baird tragedy, but no one had an inkling of the impending tragic act.

HAD BEEN IN PUBLIC SERVICE MANY YEARS
Will Hassed had been in public service for many years, and was well known over the State. He served one term as Mayor Lusk, from 1924 to 1926, and was active in Republican political circles. He was elected Sheriff in 1926, and had served continuously in that office until last
Monday, when his fifth term expired. At the primary election last August he was nominated by the Republicans of the County for State Senator, but after receiving the nomination he declined to make the race, saying that he intended to retire from political life after his term as Sheriff expired.

At every election, he received the high vote on the Republican ticket when he was a candidate, and was one of the most popular officials in the county and State.

His financial affairs are said to be in good shape, and his domestic life was ideal, so no cause other than a highly nervous condition which brought on temporary derangement can be ascribed to his motive in taking his life.

FUNERAL IN LUSK SATURDAY AFTERNOON
Funeral services for former Sheriff Will Hassed will be held at 2:00 o'clock Saturday afternoon, at the Lusk Baptist Church with Rev. P. H. Evans officiating, and the Peet Mortuary in charge of arrangements. After the services at the church, a Masonic commitment service will be held at the cemetery, in charge of Harmony Lodge No. 24, A.F. & A.M. of Lusk, of which he had been a member for many years.

Active pallbearers will be D. A. Shoopman, Frank A. Barrett, John T. Annstice, Hans Gautschi, Harry Hargraves and J. B. Griffith.

Honorary pallbearers are N. E. Hartwell, J. M. Hungate, Otis Hughes, T. A. Godfrey, Albion Lind and Jerry Dull.

Deceased was a 32 degree Mason, being a member of the Shrine at Cheyenne, and was also a member of the Elks Lodge of Chadron.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Mabel Hassed, and five children, Will Hassed, a student at Wayne Normal school; Miss Helen Hassed, student at the Lusk High School; Jimmy and Johnny Hassed, twins, and Bobby Hassed, the three latter attending the Lusk grade school.

Besides his immediate family he is survived by his brother, Dr. W. H. Hassed, former State health officer, now of Lusk, and his mother and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. J. (?) Cohle, of Springview, Neb.

OLD-TIME FRIEND PAYS A TRIBUTE
(The Herald requested J. H. Slater, old-time friend and business associate of Mr. Hassed to summarize some of his activities, and Mr. Slater contributed the following touching tribute):

The passing from earthly scenes of Will Hassed is, to me, indeed, a circumstance of keen regret - so unexpected, so ending ties of friendship and companionship of more than 30 years. My first contact with Will was in 1902, when he entered my employ as a printer at Sturgis, South Dakota, on the Black Hills Press. He was thus engaged some three or four months. He returned to his old home town, Springview, Neb., where he learned the printing art insofar as related to ordinary newspaper work. Later he spent a period of a year or two as journeyman and mostly in the South.

I next, in 1916, saw him at Fremont, Neb. He, with a friend, was returned to Springview, having passed several months on the Pacific Coast. At that time he owned the Springview newspaper, but had leased it. He proposed that if I would go in with him he would sell that plant and we would establish a paper at Winner, South Dakota. I agreed to the proposal, but it turned out that the lease could not be vacated.

The next contact was in the early springtime of 1910. He wrote me from Lusk that there was a good opening for establishing a paper here, and advised me to come. I did, but was not so very well pleased with the prospect, as The Herald was publishing a good newspaper in the field.

Bill Bartow of the Douglas Budget was in great need of help. We went to Douglas and worked a month. On the way back to Lusk we stopped off at Manville. A struggle for the county seat was impending between Lusk and Manville. Al Spaugh, Harry B. Card, Wm. Spaugh, John Manorgan and several others gave us a hearty and joyous welcome. Within a day or two we had a sufficient sum pledged to justify the establishment an understanding that I was to buy of a newspaper plant. Will and I had the Manville plant myself, and for his half of the deal he was to, and did, give me a half interest in the Springview plant. It was further agreed that he was to conduct the Manville paper and I was to go to Springview. Some time in June we had the Manville plant to operation. Mr. Hassed was appointed postmaster of Manville, but he declined to serve, and within a few weeks he returned to Springview and took charge of the newspaper. He sold the plant after a year or two, and finally was employed as foreman on another Nebraska newspaper.

In 1916 he was married to the wife so many of us know and highly esteem. By arrangement with Mr. W. L. Magoon, the Manville plant was, in 1911, merged with the Lusk Standard under the firm name of Slater Hassed and Magoon. Upon arriving here with his bride, Will took an active part in the business, and so continued until the spring of 1918, when he enlisted for army service, having sold his paper to a Mr. McHatton.

There may be, and undoubtedly is, some errors as to dates. Memory, with increasing age, grows so uncertain.

For a week or two, Will and his wife were welcome addition to my family home. He bought the home place, now the scene of deep sorrow, from Arthur Root. What a pride and source of joy did the place give him, and what a beauty spot of flowering plants and shrubbery he has left as a befitting monument to keep him in remembrance!








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