Richard Edward Hartnett

December 19, 1947September 21, 2019

Richard Edward Hartnett, 71, of Sarasota, FL died Saturday September 21, 2019. He was born on December 19,1947 as the second of four sons of John Richard Hartnett and Mildred (Fahl) in Syracuse, NY. He spent his formative years in Cazenovia, New York, attending St. John Fisher College in Rochester, and subsequently moving to Jacksonville, FL where he began his career in the newspaper industry. He married Janna Smith in Jacksonville, Florida on June 21, 1975. They had a daughter, Kimberly and a son, Shawn. Sadly, Janna died on January 13, 2005. On October 9, 2010, Dick married the former Ellen Burke in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. Dick remains deeply loved by his wife, Ellen; his daughter Kimberly Hartnett Bricker from Livonia, MI, her husband, Matthew, and their daughter, Evelyn Alice Bricker; and by his son, Richard Shawn Hartnett from Trenton, MI, his wife Alison, and their children, Lily Snow Hartnett and Thomas Muir Hartnett. He also leaves Ellen’s daughter, Sara Loye Lentz of East Grand Rapids, MI, her husband, Walt Lentz, and their sons, Charlie Walter Lentz and Luke David Lentz; Ellen’s son, Josh Loye of Portland, OR, his wife, Kristin, and their son, Michael David Loye and Samuel Dean Loye.

He was dearly loved by his brother, John Hartnett from Jenkintown, PA, daughter Kelly Hartnett (Khaliyl Corbett); son Jack Hartnett (Rachel) and grandson, Ryan; his brother, William Hartnett from Mississauga, ON(Elizabeth), son Justin (Melanie) and grandson Alexander, son Christopher; and his deceased brother Tom’s family, wife Elizabeth, son Conor; and son Brendan (Ashley) and their son, Owen.

Dick had an illustrious 38-year career in the newspaper industry. He spent seven years with the Florida Publishing Company and 31 years with Gannett Co. Inc. – which is the largest newspaper publisher in the United States by total daily circulation. He worked at the Florida Publishing Company’s Jacksonville Journal as a district advisor, city supervisor, and circulation director. He joined Gannett in July 1976 at its Cape Publications where he was the circulation director for the Titusville Standard-Advocate, Melbourne Times, and Coco Tribune, while also serving as the assistant circulation director for Florida Today during the same time frame. In 1982, he was appointed as the circulation director – operations and a member of the “launch team” for Gannett’s national newspaper, USA Today with respect to the first fifteen city markets. Subsequently, he was appointed as the General Manager – Washington-Baltimore Region in 1983 and the Regional Director for the Mid-Atlantic Region in 1985 and Vice-President – East in 1987. He was appointed President and CEO of Gannett Pacific and President of the joint-venture Hawaii Newspaper Agency in Honolulu in 1990, responsible for the publication of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and subsequently the Honolulu Advertiser after it’s acquisition by Gannett. He then moved back to the mainland to serve as President and Publisher of the Battle Creek Enquirer in 1993. His last position was as the circulation director – operations at the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News Agency in 1995 until his retirement from Gannett in December 2007.

Dick’s family was the most important aspect of his life. He was most proud of his roles as a husband, father, grandfather and brother. He and his family had the opportunity to live in and experience many different parts of the country during his career as they moved from one work posting to another – including St. Augustine, FL; Coco Beach, FL; Merritt Island, FL; Fairfax Station, VA; Honolulu, HI, Battle Creek, MI, and Novi, MI.

Dick took particular joy in guiding his son, Shawn and his daughter, Kimberly through life’s ups-and-downs and in watching them succeed. He was an exemplary role model for them and for his many friends and colleagues. He was exceptionally happy when he became a grandfather to his grandchildren, Lily, Thomas and Evelyn and subsequently to Ellen’s grandchildren, Luke, Charlie, Michael and Samuel. He will be remembered for his thoughtfulness, sincerity, and meticulous joke/storytelling. He was a vivid example of the expression: “To have friends, you need to be a friend”. He also had an uncanny ability to quickly identify the names and performers of ‘50s and‘60s songs. He enjoyed playing the game of golf with his Gannett colleagues, friends and family.

The funeral will take place in Jacksonville, Florida. There will be a visitation at Hardage-Giddens Oaklawn Legacy Lodge on Friday, October 4, 2019, 4801 San Jose Boulevard from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM and a funeral mass at 9:45am at Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 121 East Duval St. The burial will be in Oaklawn Cemetery, 4801 San Jose Boulevard after the funeral mass. Dick was thankful for his wonderful care by his wife, Ellen, and the nurses,aides and doctors in the at-home hospice program at Tidewell Hospice in Sarasota during his struggle with multiple system atrophy. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Tidewell Hospice, 5955 Rand Boulevard, Sarasota, FL (


  • Visitation

    Friday, October 4, 2019

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Saturday, October 5, 2019

  • Interment following the Service

    Saturday, October 5, 2019


Richard Edward Hartnett

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Bill Pendlebury

February 20, 2020

It is with a sad heart I read of the passing of an old and dear friend. Though Dick and I lost touch through the years the memories of our childhood in the Cazenovia area always remained vivid and were treasured. My deepest condolences to his family, he will be missed. Rest In Peace my Friend.

Kathleen Allen

October 4, 2019

Greg and I consider ourselves fortunate to have met Dick during his time with Ellen prior to and after their marriage. We enjoyed many fun evenings out with a lot of laughter. Dick loved to tell stories and was always upbeat and positive. His devotion to Ellen when she was in need was nothing less than remarkable. We also appreciated his devotion to his children and grandchildren as well as Ellen's. He will be sorely missed by all of his family. Our deepest sympathy, thoughts and prayers are extended to the entire Hartnett family.
Kathy and Greg Allen

Mary Maley

October 4, 2019

Ellen, thinking of you at this difficult time and remembering good memories at Bay Tower Condominiums as well as Kellogg vaccinations.

Lee Caylor

October 3, 2019

Dick and I became friends in 1982 prior to the launch of USA Today. We shared many stories about our families as our friendship and carriers with Gannett grew. Dick became a mentor as well as my boss for several years. I will miss his birthday greeting “You’ve racked up another one” Cheers Dick