Family Remembers Gordon, WI Man Killed in Work Accident

By KBJR News 1

November 13, 2011 Updated Nov 14, 2011 at 11:02 AM CDT

Gordon, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) - 61-year old Ronald Hackensmith was found dead last night after his arm was severed by a conveyor belt on the ship he worked on.

It's a knock at the door no one ever wants to hear.

"It's a shame what happened. We are going to miss Ron a lot. He was a big part of our family...especially with the holidays coming up," said Hackensmith's son in law Lance Goette.

Holidays that will now be forever changed, after an accident at work turned fatal for Goette's father in law.

According to reports, a call came in around 10PM Saturday, stating there had been an industrial accident on the ship the St Mary's Challenger.

"I can't get into the details of the accident I can tell you that he was working with some machinery, a conveyor belt in particular and had an accident that caused his death," said Deputy Inspector William Jessup of the Milwaukee Police, who was on the scene Saturday, in Milwaukee.

Hackensmith worked as a conveyor man on the ship.

The more than 7 hundred 50 foot conveyor belt carried cement.

Reports say investigators are unsure how the accident happened but that somehow Hackensmith's arm got caught in the conveyor belt and was severed from his body.

According to his son in law, Hackensmith was a man who lived life one day at a time.

"Ron was a simple man who took pleasure in simple things. One of the best things I can remember about Ron was that he loved his grand children," said Goette.

Hackensmith's love for family was evident to those who worked with him.

One of Hackensmith's ship mates says he lived with Hackensmith, and says he and the others haven't just lost a ship mate, but a brother as well.

"Hard working man supporting his family, not robbing, not stealing but working hard every day and unfortunately he passed away," said Charles Ramsey, a co-worker of Hackensmith.

"He was a great guy....did everything he could for my mom. I know he is upstairs looking down on her now," said stepson Joe McDowell.

Hackensmith was married to his wife Jean for 18 years and got into the shipping scene out of his love for the water that he gained as a Naval officer.