1916 Alan 2015

Alan "Pete" Hanner

March 19, 1916 — December 4, 2015

Alan "Pete" Hanner March 19, 1916 to December 4th, 2015   I am one of the lucky people that was able to attend Alan “Pete” Hanner’s beautiful memorial at the Senior Center on Friday, December 11. I am also his granddaughter. One of 6 granddaughters that was lucky enough to be a part of his life. Though it is unconventional to begin an obituary with a expression of gratitude it is what I know Pete would do. His gratitude overflowed. He spoke of its power often and reminded all of us how truly grateful he was for the love he received and the beauty that surrounds us all everyday. He lived in appreciation of the moment as the true gift that is. It is with that sentiment, and on behalf of everyone in Pete’s family that I say a most heartfelt Thank You to each of you. Thank you, Nanci Main for organizing the event and making it lovely, to all of the volunteers for bringing the delicious feast, sharing your stories, your presence, and your loving thoughts and songs. Your time and energy and love is an amazing gift to give to a truly loving man who dedicated his life to caring for others and who shared his love with generosity. We were all able to bask in the light he gave and it was the perfect way to honor him.     Pete had an eventful 99 years of life. He was born in 1916, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. His father, Carter Cary Hanner, fought in WWI and was killed in battle in France. Pete was only a baby when his father died so his mother, Zella Hanner raised him, his elder brother John (who went on to have a military career) and his older sister Wilma (who died tragically of typhoid as a teenager).   In 1937 he met Martha Louise Brady and they were married for 74 years. They met as young college students in Oklahoma and, as they both reminded us whenever we asked for the story, fell madly in love. They were both very talented singers with angelic voices and ambitions to pursue singing careers. When their lives joined they decided to give Pete’s singing career a go and traveled the country with his various bands. He was the singer and arranger. They eventually landed in Southern California where he sung on the radio until 1941 when WWII changed his course. He worked in a factory for the war effort for a time before traveling to Korea and serving for 18 months. After his service he was able to come home and be reunited with his beloved family. He decided then to focus on his family and work a steady job and sing on the side. He did this for many years with Martha and their two children: Carter and Ann.   He worked very hard to make a wonderful home for his family and he and Martha were as dedicated parents as you will ever find. He worked at General Motors for more than 30 years and always sang in church to the adoration of parishioners. His faith became a big part of his life as he and Martha grew old together. They both shared a deep love of God. They explored spirituality over the years and were very open to spiritual ideas and experiences. Pete saw God in a bird’s flight and felt God in his heart. He brought his songs to many churches over the years and his songs expressed his deep feelings about life. He wrote, not too many years ago: “Some of the deepest longing within me is the Voice of my gift. Nothing else enriches me or gives me true fulfillment as my song.”   Their children went on to have families of their own and Pete and Martha were always nearby. We all lived together in Southern Oregon on a farm in the 70s and early 80s. During that time Pete and Martha, now retired, traveled the globe - fulfilling Martha’s dream to experience new cultures and see the world. They would come home and show us all slides and tell stories of the faraway places they saw: China, Russia, Peru...   After living on the farm as a big family (12 of us in all) the children were heading into high school, and it was time for a change. Carter and Ann’s families moved to Ashland, Oregon and Port Angeles, Washington respectively in 1984.    Pete and Martha found their way to the Long Beach Peninsula with Ann and Phil in 1989 and fell in love with the Peninsula’s beauty and pace of life. They continued to take trips, tend their home, and explore their faith, and to always make music together and sing.   Martha and Pete both lived very healthy, wholesome, lives and enjoyed excellent health as they aged. But in 2011 at the age of 94, Martha passed away. Pete, though deeply connected to his family, was so sad to lose his beloved whom he shared life with for so long. We worried about him and watched his joy fade for a time. It wasn’t until he made a connection with Joyce that he lit up again. And Joyce with her sweet sparkle and love of life and appreciation for him was the perfect medicine to bring him back to happiness. They spent the next few years enjoying each others company and friendship and he sang many more songs. He passed away on December 4th, 2015, peacefully resting, as he always spoke of wanting to do.   Because of my vantage point as his granddaughter, I have been able to learn from him and see up close what a life well-lived looks like. I have learned so much from watching how his life was lived for his family, his community, in absolute dedication to being good to others and to sharing his song.    Though I will miss his worldly presence, like all of us that knew him, I am grateful I was able to know him, and for what he taught me about love and life. Thank you, Pete for your songs, your smile, and for the love you so generously gave us all. We love you.

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