Frank Hanel

Frank Hanel

October 15, 1939 – May 2, 2023

VISITATION: Friday, May 5th from 5pm to 7pm at the West Center Chapel, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm.  MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Saturday, May 6th at 10:30am at St. James Catholic Church, 4720 No. 90th St.  Interment: Resurrection Cemetery.  Memorials are suggested to Northwest High School Alumni Association Scholarship Fund.


Frank Hanel  was born on October 15, 1939 in Schuyler, Nebraska to Ladislav and Magdalen Hanel.  A large part of Frank’s life was devoted to sports.  He began by playing football and running track in sixth grade at St. Bonaventure in Columbus, Nebraska.  He then attended Schuyler High School where he played football as a fullback and linebacker, while also running  track.  He was also a member of the marching band performing in the band during halftime in his football uniform.  He also sang in the choir, was dubbed the “Schuyler Grid King” and was crowned Homecoming King.  Frank graduated in 1957 and then attended Wayne State College on a full football scholarship.   He played football all four years at Wayne.  While attending Wayne, he met the love of his life, Shirley Aber.  She influenced him to join the college band.  After his junior year, he and Shirley were wed in August 1960.  He then graduated in 1961 with a degree in Education.

His first teaching position was at Marrs Junior High School, where he taught Physical Education and Technical Drawing.  He taught there until 1964 and was transferred to Central High School as the assistant shop teacher.   While at Central, he taught Shop, Physical Education and coached football and track.    Frank also began working on his masters degree at UNO, eventually receiving his advanced degree in Education.

In 1964, Frank received an American Red Cross Merit Award due to his rescuing an unconscious boy from the pool at McMillan Junior High School, performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and saving his life.

In 1971, Frank was appointed the head football coach at Omaha’s newest high school,  Northwest High School.  He taught Physical Education and Kinesiology. In addition to football, he coached girls’ track, wrestling, Marine physical fitness team and power lifting.  During his coaching tenure, his football teams compiled the highest win-loss record in the school’s history, had six playoff appearances, coached several athletes that went on to play college and professional football and helped shape the lives of many players and students.  Frank also coached the Shrine Bowl as an assistant coach in 1977 and head coach in 1982 where he led the North squad to victory.

Frank retired from his teaching career in 1995.  Throughout the course of his career, Frank cultivated many life-long friendships as well as friendships with several childhood friends that continued to his death.   Frank was inducted into the Northwest High School Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Omaha Public Schools Athletic  Hall of Fame in 2015.

Frank had many hobbies throughout his life.  He loved to garden, both vegetable and flowers.  He restored a Model A Ford that originally belonged to his Dad.  As an outdoorsman, he had a love for hunting and fishing. He also enjoyed shooting skeet and the shooting range.  He also had a passion for cooking, turning it into a second career.  He cooked at Tiger Toms and built a brick smokehouse in his backyard in Keystone, where he smoked and sold meat.  He was well known for his annual big game feeds where he prepared all of the various catches from his hunting and fishing expeditions.

Frank and his wife Shirley enjoyed traveling in their later years, taking their Hitchhiker trailer to various spots throughout the country.  Frank also spent time fishing in South Dakota every spring.  He enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and his dog, Jesse.

Frank was preceded in death by his parents Lad and Mag, his wife Shirley and his sister, Carol.  Frank is survived by his children Teresa (Dan) Howarth, Dwayne Hanel, Steve (Traci) Hanel, and Amy (Mary) Calabro, his grandchildren Sarah Howarth, Eddie (Carrie) Howarth, Austin Hanel, Mitchell (Mya) Hanel, Kelsey Morris, Levi Hadley, Kasey Hadley ,Allison Gabel and Benjamin Gabel and great-grandchildren Jude Howarth, Lennon Thurman, and Malak Hanel, his sister Mary (Mike) Munter and nephews Michael (Darrah) Munter, Ryan (Colleen) Munter and Bill Robertson.



  • O Payne Posted May 3, 2023 8:48 am

    What an incredible life lived. Sending my deepest condolences to all that cared for Mr. Hanel.

  • Edie Hessman Ronhovde Posted May 3, 2023 10:22 am

    I am so happy that I was able to visit with Frank a couple of weeks ago. I was able to tell him that I loved him and that I was so thankful that he convinced me (very strongly) to go to Midland College, where I met the love of my life.

  • Robert Murray Posted May 3, 2023 1:02 pm

    Sending my deepest sympathy to the Hanel family, . Frank was a legend in the athletic community. He will be missed…

  • Todd Richardson Posted May 3, 2023 1:03 pm

    My condolences and prayers 🙏. Coach of 83′ Great team. R.I.H COACH

  • Nickie Quartoroli Posted May 3, 2023 1:14 pm

    Mr. Hanel was an amazing person, I’m so sorry to hear of his passing. May he rest in peace.

  • Wes Tuveson Posted May 3, 2023 3:23 pm

    Sending prayers for Coach Frank’s family and friends.

  • Gerald Kellogg Posted May 3, 2023 3:31 pm

    I would like to send my condolences to the Hanel family.. I’m sorry I won’t be able to attend the services. Coach Hanel was a great coach and a good man. RIP Coach!

  • Chad and Tanya Becker Posted May 3, 2023 3:34 pm

    Wonderful to read about Frank and hear about the lives he touched. Our condolences. He will be missed.

  • Kirk Mortensen Posted May 3, 2023 5:23 pm

    RIP Coach. Mort

  • Matt Harter Posted May 3, 2023 6:16 pm

    Dear Hanel family,
    Don Harter and the Harter family want to express her sincere condolences to you all. After reading the life of Frank, it was a true love story with your mother Shirley.!! Frank was one heck of a man that will be missed by all !! he truly did affect thousands of lives being a teacher and coach !! God bless your dad, and may he rest in peace.

  • Rob and Susan Ahlschwede Posted May 3, 2023 7:03 pm

    A great colleague. I so enjoyed working with Frank in the PE Department at Northwest and working for him as an assistant football coach as well. Some great times in the gym and on the game field with his beloved Huskies. He was one of the best, a good friend forever. Oh, the stories……… Our condolences to Theresa, Dwayne, Steve and Amy and their families.

  • Tim Karas Posted May 3, 2023 7:06 pm

    Praying for the entire family at this time!!❤️I had the pleasure to get to now him and what a great man he was !!

  • Cheryl Minor (Jennings) Class of 79 Posted May 3, 2023 8:15 pm

    My condolences to family and friends. Coach Hanel was a great mentor to many kids!! May all the memories ease the grief in you heart.

  • Marilyn (Cotton) Brown Posted May 4, 2023 4:45 am

    Mr. Frank Hanel was my all time most favorite coach. He bought out the best in my athletic ability to run when I didn’t want to put my all into it. He knew exactly how I felt and told me I’d thank him later. Frank, I told you many years ago that I really appreciated you for caring and instilling hard work ethics in my repotoire. May you rest in peace .

  • Tracy Mooney Sergant Posted May 4, 2023 8:52 am

    Frank did a Pom squad dance with me around 1997 he will be missed and my father Steve Sergeant knew him pretty well

  • Kirt Elliott Posted May 4, 2023 11:10 am

    As ingl about my day and Coach Hanels passing came to my attention, I’m giving his family my prayers and hopeful smiles of things to remember him by. My memories are much smaller but enough for me really take a moment and realize how fast time has passed. I’m glad he got to fish and spend time with family.He was so tough, he must’ve really been ready to go. RIP Hanel thanks for being apart of my sport career and thanks for looking out for me, You did real good and glad to be thinking about right now in the moment, it means you truly meant something toe, and if that’s the case you meant a lot to so many more, prayers for them too.

  • Troy Moore Posted May 4, 2023 11:27 am

    My condolence to Coach Hanei and his family. He was a great man. I Irespected him, but rest in peace.

  • Jeanie Pennington Posted May 4, 2023 12:27 pm

    I had deep respect for Frank. We shared meals, card playing, and had lots of laughs. His smile lit up the room. Rest in peace, my friend.

  • Jeff Wagner Posted May 4, 2023 12:53 pm

    Prays to the entire Hanel family and all the friends a long the way. He helped me grow as a football player and as a young man. I have many fond memories of Husky football and Coach Hanel helped create those memories. RIP.

  • Mike Birge Posted May 4, 2023 2:25 pm

    RIP Coach Hanel

  • Roy Katskee Posted May 4, 2023 2:39 pm

    I was very fortunate to have spent 25 years with Frank in the same office not more than 3 feet from each other.
    We had great conversations on various topics that concerned us both. I was always how level headed. he was as we looked at problems that needed fixing. As a result there was never a dull moment in our area of Northwest. We were always trying to find a better way to improve our selves.
    People don’t realize that Frank had a great sense of humor that helped keep our spirits up.
    We are all better for having been with him.
    Rest in peace dear friend.

    I had a great admiration for Frank as he was a truly a gifted teach and coach.
    Rest in peach dear friend as you certainly deserve it.

  • Donald Liska Posted May 4, 2023 5:05 pm

    Sorry for your loss, he was a fine human being, a leader of both men and women.. I will always remember him.😢

  • Richard Kent Van Wagenen Posted May 5, 2023 5:59 am

    With deepest sympathy to the Frank Hanel Family. for your loss. I wouldn’t be here, if it wasn’t for Frank saving my life years ago at McMillan Middle School pool..

  • Greg Emmel Posted May 5, 2023 8:56 am

    Frank was an excellent teacher and coach and influenced many young lives. It was a pleasure working with him for ten years at Northwest because he was such a great influence on all of us. Always steady, dependable, and positive. Rest in peace.

  • Steve Macaitis Posted May 5, 2023 1:45 pm

    My condolences to the Hanel family. I have fond memories as a young boy of coach through my dad Stan, who was a fellow coach and friend.that also passed away recently in December. I remember taking those early weekend trips to the Hanel home in Keystone to exchange game film and listen to the two old ball coaches game plan their next opponents in the Hanel driveway. Coach Hanel would always take the time to come over and engage me sitting in the back of the car. In college I got the chance to play with a lot of his former athletes and they always spoke so highly of him, which I always understood why. Rest in Peace Coach! Say Hi to my Dad and may the two of you enjoy breaking down your next opponent.

  • Tom Gross Class of ’76 and former Keystone resident Posted May 5, 2023 9:29 pm

    I’m very sorry to hear of coach Hanel’s passing. He had a tremendous positive influence on my life, as well as countless others. My sincere condolences to the Hanel family and friends. God Bless You Coach Hanel.

  • Maureen Mangan Posted May 5, 2023 9:31 pm

    Have wonderful memories of Frank! Love his family!

  • Dustin Shirley Posted May 6, 2023 7:14 am

    Thank you for everything coach. You are truly missed.

  • Doug Russell Posted May 9, 2023 4:14 pm

    Coach Hanel, You will be missed. Praying for the Hanel family during this time. I remember as a young football player listening to your pep talks like it was yesterday. 86# Husky Graduation class of 89.

  • Maureen Toberer Mangan Posted May 15, 2023 9:16 pm

    I have many good memories of Frank as a neighbor and good friend. Much love to his family!😘🤗

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