Cover photo for Richard W. "Rick" Hartnett's Obituary
Richard W. "Rick" Hartnett Profile Photo

Richard W. "Rick" Hartnett

December 26, 1948 — November 7, 2022

AIKEN, SC - Mr. Richard W. "Rick" Hartnett, 73, beloved husband of Ann D. Hartnett passed away Monday, November 7, 2022. Richard “Rick” Wilson Hartnett was his parents' best Christmas present, arriving on December 26, 1948. His parents, Donna Hartnett and Richard “Dick” F. Hartnett resided in Winthrop, Massachusetts at the time of his birth and after that welcomed his two younger sisters, Nancy Hartnett Thatcher and Lisa Hartnett. Rick was a lively child who enjoyed playing practical jokes on his siblings and parents and he developed his love for horses early on, with a pony also named Ricky. As a teenager, Rick worked for Donald “Don” J. Little, who introduced him to the game of polo. Although left-handed, Rick quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the highest-rated players at Myopia Hunt Club, in Hamilton, Massachusetts. At age 13, he was featured as an athlete to watch by Sports Illustrated. Rick’s illustrious but brief show business career included teaching Steve McQueen how to play polo and appearing in the original “The Thomas Crown Affair,” released in 1968. Along with fellow hell raisers, Peter Poor and David Roberts, Rick continued to play competitive polo, break hearts and generally engage in shenanigans all over the Northeast. Rick ultimately reached a handicap of 4 goals, which he retained for over 20 years. Rick graduated from Hamilton Wenham Regional High School and then Norwich University, as an Army officer, with a degree in Business Management. Rick attended Officer Training School at Fort Benning, Georgia. By Vietnam's end, Rick was never deployed and found himself back home in Hamilton earlier than planned. Don Little recommended to Rick that he join the training program at Kidder Peabody, where Don also worked. Rick subsequently earned his Series 7 and several additional securities licenses over his very successful five decades in the securities business. It was at Kidder Peabody where Rick met Gynna Gutshaw, whom he married in 1973. Together they welcomed daughters Taryn Elizabeth Hartnett in 1975 and Britten Knauer Hartnett in 1977. Rick and Gynna subsequently divorced and Rick married Ann Durbin Fawcett, welcoming son Richard “Willie” Wilson Hartnett in 1981. Thereafter, Rick purchased the property that would be named Mill Pond Farm, in Rowley, Massachusetts. Rick’s love for mowing grass, moving sprinklers, and raking leaves were constantly on display at the Farm. Rick was a wonderful horse show father who would rise at the crack of dawn on weekend mornings to spend innumerable hours at horse shows, roasting in the sun, freezing in the cold, or soaking in the rain. He was deeply devoted to his children and his grandchildren, and he would force anyone he could to watch videos of them. Rick was also very fond of calling people early in the morning, always being an early riser, and leaving long, meandering voicemails that would always bring a smile to the recipients. Rick served as Captain of Polo at Myopia Hunt Club. He continued playing the sport at historic clubs such as Saratoga Polo Club, Millbrook Polo Club, Greenwich Polo Club, Palm Beach Polo and Country Club, amongst others. Rick was a force to be reckoned with on the field. He never saw a line that wasn’t his. Playing polo with his son, Willie, was one of Rick’s greatest pleasures. Rick’s string of polo ponies was admired wherever he played. He was an active member of the United States Polo Association, including serving as Vice Chairman and Handicap Chairman. In his later years, Rick retired from playing polo but was an invaluable cheerleader and coach to Willie and his son-in-law Avery Chapman. Rick’s love of horses never waned. In 2002, Rick purchased a property in Aiken, South Carolina, which he developed into a beautiful polo and equestrian turn-out facility, and to where he eventually retired. Rick loved talking to strangers, laughing and above all, his family. He will be remembered for his big heart, incredible sense of humor, dry and acerbic wit, long-winded stories, and legendary dance moves. Rick was predeceased by his father, Dick and daughter Britten Hartnett Tyler. He is survived by his mother, Donna, sisters Nancy and Lisa, wife Ann, his step-son Courtney Fawcett, step-daughter-in-law, Heidi Sawyer Fawcett, daughter Taryn, son-in-law Avery Chapman, granddaughter Gray, son-in-law Wat Tyler III, grandson Wat Tyler IV, granddaughter Lila Tyler, son Willie, daughter-in-law Katy Moore Hartnett, and grandsons Winfield and Fletcher. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Rick’s honor to the Britten Hartnett Tyler Foundation ( or the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center ( A Celebration of Life will be held at 1:30 PM on Saturday, January 21, 2023 at New Bridge Polo Club, 361 Paloma Lane, Aiken, SC 29805. SHELLHOUSE FUNERAL HOME, INC., 924 HAYNE AVE., AIKEN, SC 29801 To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard W. "Rick" Hartnett, please visit our flower store.


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