April 17, 2014

Partly cloudy

Longtime Wadsworth mayor, John Hanna, 73, dies

WADSWORTH — John Hanna, the longest serving mayor of Wadsworth, promoted the city in ways residents still benefit from 10 years after his last term ended.

Hanna, 73, died Sunday at his Hubbard Valley Road home in Guilford Township after a short battle with prostate cancer, said his widow, Josephine.

“Everybody was here, his sons, his grand­children, all holding his hand,” she said Tuesday.



Serving as mayor from1990 to 2000, one of Hanna’s first major accomplishments was oversee­ing the construction of the fiber backbone and cable TV system of Wadsworth, which the city still owns and operates, former service director Bill Lyren said.

“That put us in direct compe­tition with Time Warner and they lowered their rates to match our rates in the city; so as a result, many of the citizens have had lower rates than any­one in Northeast Ohio,” Lyren said.

Hanna first took over as mayor after the sudden death of Mayor Charles Danals. Hanna was City Council president at the time, but wound up being elected to two more four-year terms as mayor, Josephine said.

“He was a public servant and he just loved people,” she said.

He was a State Farmagent for 32 years, with an office at 115 Broad St. in downtown Wadsworth, before he retired in 2000, Josephine said.

As an insurance agent, Hanna did not have technical knowl­edge of the city’s electrical department, but his legacy pro­moting Wadsworth’s utility serv­ices is still felt, Lyren said.

For eight years during his time as mayor, Hanna was on the board of trustees for the Ohio Municipal Electric Associ­ation, legislative liaison between American Municipal Power and municipal electric systems in Ohio. AMP is Wadsworth’s wholesale electric power supplier, Lyren said.

“He felt strongly about com­petition and that local owner­ship and control would be of benefit to consumers and resi­dents,” he said. “It was his per­sonal philosophy.”

Toward the end of his term, Hanna, a Democrat, supported the city providing high-speed Internet to customers, Lyren said.

Hanna was a Wadsworth resi­dent until the very end of his life. He served as senior high adviser to Trinity United Church of Christ, 215 High St., where he was baptized and confirmed and in 1957 was married, Josephine said.

Among his favorite hobbies was bass fishing, and Hanna and Lyren often took fishing trips to Canada together. Later in life, he also acquired a cottage on Lake Erie, Lyren said.

“He was a very happy person, and he projected that in conver­sation,” Lyren said. “He loved to laugh and he laughed often.”

Hanna also is survived by three sons, John Jr. and Joe of Wadsworth and Jeffrey of Seville, and nine grandchildren.

Hanna’s family will receive friends 2 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. today at Hilliard-Rospert Funeral Home, 174 N. Lyman St., where Masonic services will be conducted at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Thurs­day at Trinity United Church of Christ followed by interment at Mound Hill Cemetery.

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.