James Philip Hanny passed away peacefully February 21, 2018, in the loving arms of his wife and three daughters at his winter home in Honolulu, Hawaii, after meeting the challenges of cancer for many years with wisdom, courage and persistence he “flew West”.
He was born on Feb. 7, 1946, to Jim and Doris Hanny, who along with his Uncle Lefty, owned and operated Hanny’s Restaurant in Lake Geneva for more than 48 years. He graduated from Badger High School in 1964, and married his high school sweetheart, Grace Melvin in 1966. Two years later Jim graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and was recognized as the first student in academic history to receive a B.S. degree in aviation along with FAA Flight Engineer certification. Following graduation, Hanny enlisted in the Air Force, was commissioned and earned his pilot wings. During the Vietnam War he flew 77 combat missions (more than 943 combat hours) in the C-130 Airborne Battlefield Combat Control Center.
In 1972, he was transferred to the Active Reserve of the Air Force and flew as an instructor and flight examiner with 26 years of total Air Force service.
In 1990, Hanny was selected as the Commanding Officer of the 64th Airlift Squadron at O’Hare Field in Chicago just prior to unit deployment in Operation Desert Shield.
He retired from the Air Force in 1993 with the rank of colonel.
His military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Air Medals, the Aerial Achievement Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal. In his civilian career, Hanny was hired by American Airlines in 1973, became a captain in 1986, and for many years instructed as a check airman.
When he retired in 2005, he had accumulated more than 40 years of flying experience and logged more than 24,500 hours of certified flying time in military, airline and civil aviation.
Hanny was the recipient of Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1992. In 2005 Badger High School selected him for the Wall of Success award. Hanny was a life member of his university’s Alumni Association, served on its board of directors, and was the association president from 2002 to 2004. Additionally Jim served as a director of the Geneva Lake Association for 40 years, and was the association president from 2005-2009. He also served on the board of directors for the Lake Geneva Water Safety Patrol. Jim was proud to be a member of American Legion Post 24 for more than 45 years, and for the last 25 years was the master of ceremonies at the Legion’s Memorial Day Ceremony.
A lifelong Christian, Jim served as council president of the First Congregational United Church of Christ Lake Geneva, the church in which he was baptized and confirmed. Later he became a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church and served in various capacities. Following in the footsteps of his father he was a Free Mason.
Jim sampled everything life had to offer from water skiing, tennis, swimming, snorkeling, glider flying, snow skiing, triathlons, to community theater.
Jim enjoyed playing the guitar, singing and reciting poetry for friends. His generosity and contagious zest for life will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Grace; their three daughters: Carolee Hanny Barnett, Kristin Hanny Larkin, and Katy (Billy) Freytag; grandchildren: Mitchell Barnett, Mia Barnett, Corbin Larkin, Camden Larkin, Billy Freytag, Taylor Freytag, Cole (Karly) Freytag, and great-grandchild, Brooklyn Freytag, two sisters: Dorothy (Lyle) Swatek, and Carol (Nick) Ciccotosto, and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Always a teacher, Jim chose to be a donor for the Willed Body Program at the University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, providing students with an essential tool for discovery, and allowing them to gain valuable information and skills while mastering the complex anatomy of the human body.
Memorials may be made to: Immanuel Lutheran Church, and American Legion Post 24, Lake Geneva. Visitation from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Celebration of Life 1 to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Lake Geneva, WI.