Arthur “Art” Richard Hasselbrink
1926 - 2019
It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our beloved president and founder, Arthur “Art” Richard Hasselbrink Jr. He was called home by our Lord, to join his wife, Marion, on January 30, 2019. He was 92 years young.
Art was born and raised in Chicago, IL, a patriot with a fervent love for his country, and for those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect her. At the young age of 17, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served in the Asiatic Pacific Theater from 1943 to 1946 as a Navy Seabee. Art served with the 105th U.S. Naval Construction Battalion at Miline Bay and Hollandia in New Guinea, and Leyte in the Philippines; 33rd Naval Construction Battalion at Iwo Jima and Okinawa in Japan, and 29th Naval Construction Battalion at Truk Island until the end of the war.
Following WWII, Art remained in the United States Navy as a reservist, while attending Northwestern University. Art graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Civil Engineering.
In 1949, Art was recalled to serve in the Korean War. As a newly commissioned officer, Ensign Hasselbrink was assigned to Mobile Construction Battalion 2. The tour of duty took him to various locations: Atsugi Japan Naval Air Station, Kimbo 125 Air Base, and the Chosin Reservior.
In 1952, Art received his honorable discharge from the United States Navy.
Upon his return to the states from Korea, Art joined the LAPD and served the citizens of Los Angeles from 1952 to 1960, before starting his own construction company in 1961.
Art’s commitment to serving the military community continued well beyond his active duty service. In 2005, Art founded Homefront America, along with Mamie Yong Maywhort, a long-time friend and colleague. Art served as the organization’s president until his retirement in 2018.
Art was also a long-time member of VFW Serra Post 3801 and served as its commander from 2013 to 2017. In 2017, Art was appointed to National Aide de Camp; the first post commander to receive this high honor and recognition since the Post was formed in 1962.
In addition, Art served as president of the Orange County Navy League from 1983 to 1984, and was a long-time member of San Juan Capistrano America Legion Post 721, Marine Corps League South Coast Detachment 022, San Clemente Elks, and advisory board member for the Salvation Army.
Aside from his dedication to the military community, Art was also a strong advocate for the Wilshire Community Police Council Explorer and youth programs. During his four-year tenure as treasurer and then president, his peers referred to him as their “fearless leader” who brought the council to a “previously unknown high level of financial stability and fiscal responsibility, while still supporting the council’s core programs.”
Art was not known to just “sit around and do nothing.” He truly lived his life to its fullest every day. He loved to travel and traveled the world he did! He was an avid fisherman, golfer, and reader. True to his roots, Art was a die-hard Chicago Bears and Cubs fan. And, for Cubbie fans, you would appreciate that Art played for the Chicago Cubs minor league when he returned home from WWII. “All I wanted to do was to play baseball after I got home.” Go Cubs!
People often asked Art “what didn’t he do.” Well, that list would be very short. A self-proclaimed “maverick,” Art was a risk taker who did not fear failure. A “tough” guy on the outside, but his close friends knew that beneath his armor shield was an American patriot with a heart of gold; who loved his country more than life itself.
Art is survived by a sister, son and daughter-in-law, two grandsons, and his many friends whom he considers his “family.”
A celebration and tribute to honor the life and legacy of Arthur Hasselbrink will be announced in the near future. Meanwhile, your messages, stories, and photos in remembrance of Art are most welcome: https://www.facebook.com/arthur.hasselbrink