Dr. Joe E. Hanna

Dr. Joe E. Hanna
August 3, 1934 – February 10, 2021

Born in York, NE, on August 3, 1934, to parents, Joe and Helen Hanna.  He graduated from Omaha Benson High School in 1952.  He married Sharon Lee Erickson, his high school sweetheart, in 1955.

He was very proud of his family including his children, Sheryl Rosenbaum (Greg) and Mark Hanna (Nicole); his grandchildren, James Rosenbaum (Katie), Stevi Kountze (Tyler), Dani Rosenbaum, and Gaby Montenegro; great grandchildren: Hunter, Jax, Parker, Lyla, Camden, and Graham. Sharon, his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were the joy of his life.

He also thanked the Lord for the privilege given him to serve children and youth, the church he loved, and to have had a career that was both challenging and inspiring.

He earned a BS Ed and MS ED from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and his ED D from the University at Nebraska at Lincoln.

Joe began his career as a mathematics teacher in the Omaha Public Schools. Over his 28 ½ years of service in the OPS, he served in several administrative positions: including the Director of Curriculum, K-12, Associate Superintendent, Secretary to the Board, Administrator of the Retirement System, and Chief Financial Officer.  His career also included teaching in the college of Education at UNO and serving as President of Graceland University.

Dr. Hanna also served his church, the Community of Christ, as a pastor of local congregation, as President of the Region covering congregations in Nebraska and Iowa, and on the Investment Committee of the World church.  In 1996, both Joe and Sharon received the International Award for Service in Youth given by the World Church.

Some of the distinctions received by Dr. Hanna over his 60 some years of service, to both education and his church, included the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award (University of Nebraska Omaha), Benson H.S. Hall of Fame, Distinguished Educator of the Year (Nebraska Schoolmasters), plus numerous honorary memberships of both local and national organizations.

VISITATION observing CDC guidelines: Sunday, February 14th from 1pm to 3pm at the West Center Chapel.  Funeral Service:  Monday, February 15th at 1pm, West Center Chapel. INTERMENT: at Evergreen Memorial Park, Omaha, NE.
Memorials will be directed by the family.

To view a live broadcast of the service, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Service” button on the home page.


Graceland Mourns President Emeritus Joe Hanna

Joe E. Hanna, EdD, who served as Graceland President from 1980-84, has passed away. Hanna was born Aug. 3, 1934, in York, Nebraska. He died Feb. 10.

Hanna graduated with an associate degree from Graceland in 1954. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 1956 and a Master of Science in Secondary Education in 1961 – both from the University of Omaha-Nebraska. He then completed a Doctor of Education from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1965.

Hanna applied his science and math background in the petroleum engineering field before switching to education. He taught junior high math for four years before joining the Omaha Public Schools system in 1963 as director of K-12 curriculum and assistant superintendent. In 1969, he began an 11-year tenure as associate superintendent for Omaha Public Schools.

Hanna returned to Graceland as its 12th president in August 1980. During his four years in that position, he led Graceland through the construction of Shaw Center and the initiation of the college’s first major fundraising campaign.

Hanna left Graceland in April 1984. He returned to Nebraska and became an appointed officer of the Omaha Board of Education, acting as the board’s secretary and chief financial officer. He retired from that position in 1991 and became a clinical professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Hanna was granted president emeritus status by Graceland University Feb. 17, 2007. The Graceland University flag is flying at half-staff to honor him and his contributions to the university. https://www.graceland.edu/news-events/news/1702954/graceland-mourns-president-emeritus-joe-hanna



  • Carol Chamberlain Solomon Posted February 13, 2021 11:53 am

    My prayers are with you.

  • Mary Leahy Posted February 14, 2021 8:52 pm

    Sharon, my Sunset friend, My Joe joins me in sending sympathy and prayers for your Joe, for you and all of your family, I know he was a wonderful man and you will miss him greatly. I remember our days together as golf chairmen. I enjoyed doing that with you. May you find peace in your memories. Mary

  • Mary Leahy Posted February 14, 2021 9:03 pm

    Sharon, I think I sent an earlier post. I hope you received it. Mary

  • Joanne Roberts Posted February 16, 2021 4:17 pm

    Sharon and family please accept my sincere condolences for the death of Joe He will be dearly missed

  • Sue Ferguson Townsend Posted March 9, 2021 6:00 pm

    I’m so very sorry to hear of the passing of Joe. I have many memories with your family from back in the 70’s. He was a kind man and loving father. I’m so sorry for the loss your family is surely feeling.

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