Richard Hakanson - Forensic Photographer

10322 Lake Shore Boulevard
Richard C. Hakanson
Richard C. Hakanson

Richard Collar Hakanson was described as a fiftyish citizen of Bratenahl for whom the words dashing and debonair could have been specially coined. This was in direct opposition to his means of livelihood which is by and large a somber one with occasional macabre overtones. He was a forensic photographer, who took photographs to be submitted as legal evidence.

Hak, as he was known, was on call around the clock. After receiving a telephone call from a client, he scooped up his cameras, tripod, and other assorted gear packed his Rolls Royce, and was off to the scene of the disaster, murder, or mayhem. Incidentally, he drove a Rolls Royce, not for show, but because he believed it to be a superior automobile with great staying power.

He has hung by his toes, with the help of an anchorman, overbuilding parapets to take photographs; he has descended underground accompanied with his equipment that sometimes weighed hundreds of pounds. He had to have a nose for clues that gave his clients, plaintiffs, or defendants an edge over their opponent

Richard Collar Hakanson was born in 1906 to Justus and Maud Collar Hakanson in Conneaut, Ohio. He graduated from Conneaut High School. He attended the University of Pittsburgh, Kent State Normal Extension classes, Western Reserve University, and Walton School of Commerce in Chicago.

Richard married Elarka Towne and had a son, Harwood, born on November 16, 1943, and a daughter Elarka Sarah (Yuen) born on November 6, 1947. Both attended Bratenahl School.

At one time he worked in the field of municipal bonds, specializing in Ohio issues, working with officials of many governmental subdivisions completing various details necessary to make their obligations legally enforceable.

Richard was a member of the Society of Photographic Scientists and Engineers, and the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain by warrant of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He was an associate of the International Association for Identification, which only admits policemen to full membership; and he is one of the few Americans listed in the British publication, Who’s Who in Photography.”

He was a member of several honorary societies of photographers, and the winner of several awards of achievement as a forensic photographer. Richard was active in theatre and a member of the Hermit Club. He ran for the Bratenahl Village council in November 1961 but was defeated in the election.

Elarka died at their Bratenahl home on January 24, 1982, after a three-year illness with cancer.

After her death, Richard attempted to find his old friend Madge Skelly through her college alumni association. He was successful and went to see her at her home in St. Louis. They were married several weeks later in 1983.

Richard died in St. Louis, Missouri on January 15, 1989.