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.