BANNAN, John H. "Jack" Sr.
John H. "Jack" Bannan, Sr., 89, of Simsbury, husband of the late Sarah Marie (Fitzgerald) Bannan, died Wednesday, (July 3, 2013) at McLean in Simsbury with family by his side. He was born Dec. 2, 1923 in New Britain, son of the late Michael W. and Anna (O'Connell) Bannan and had lived in New Britain prior to moving to Simsbury 54 years ago. Jack graduated from St. Thomas Seminary High School in Bloomfield. He was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and a former Prisoner of War having been captured during the Battle of the Bulge. Jack was first assigned to the University of Alabama as part of the Army Specialized Training Program in engineering. He was subsequently assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 422nd Regiment, 106th Infantry Division, "the Golden Lions" serving in Europe. Jack was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge and the Prisoner of War Medal, amongst others during his army career. Jack earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from UCONN in 1951. At UCONN he served as President of both the Associated Student Government and Student Senate. Jack received a Master of Education Degree in Elementary Administration in 1962 from the University of Hartford, followed by a 6th Year Certificate. Mr. Bannan was a sixth grade teacher in the Simsbury Public School System for 32 years prior to his retirement in 1989. Jack also served as President of the Connecticut State Federation of Teachers (now AFT CT), AFL-CIO, from 1967 through 1971. He was the first full-time president of the CSFT and the union grew by more than 20 locals under his leadership. Jack was also a Vice-President of the Greater Hartford Labor Council for many years. Mr. Bannan was active in Democratic politics on the state and local level, and was made a life member of the Simsbury Democratic Town Committee. In 1973, he was elected to the first of five terms on the Simsbury Board of Selectmen, choosing not to seek re-election to the board in 1983 to allow "someone with fresh ideas" to serve. He was a long time parishioner of St. Mary's Church, Simsbury, and was a long serving member of the Bishop John J. Nilan Council #2758 of the Knights of Columbus. Jack is a former Commander of the Simsbury Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and was a member of the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans. He was a 25-year member of the Simsbury Lions Club. He was presented with the Lions Clubs International Foundation's highest award, the Melvin Jones Fellowship, and recognized as a Knight of the Blind from the CT Lions Eye Research Foundation. Jack formerly belonged to Civitan. Jack volunteered for Meals on Wheels and at McLean Health Center for many years. Always a progressive thinker looking for ways to help people, when Automatic External Defibrillators (AED's) were proven to save lives, Jack led a fundraising drive, Heart Starters, to equip every Simsbury Police cruiser and Fire Truck with the new life-saving technology. He surpassed that goal allowing additional AEDs to be placed in public buildings. Jack was named a Simsbury "Home Town Hero" in 1987 to honor his service to the community. Having suffered from starvation while a P.O.W., in 1993 Jack founded the Farmington Valley Turkey Trot, collecting turkeys, all the fixings, and cash donations at Thanksgiving to benefit Foodshare so everyone would have a Thanksgiving dinner to enjoy. The Turkey Trot will celebrate its 21st year this November. Jack was the recipient of numerous awards from many civic, business, and labor organizations in recognition of his contributions to his community and state. He enjoyed politics, volunteering, spending time with family and laughter. He is survived by his three children: John H. "Jack" Bannan, Jr. and his wife Tracey of West Hartford, Edward G. "Ned" Bannan and his wife Maureen of Wrentham, MA and Marianne Bannan and her partner Ron Storms of West Suffield; a grandson, David A. Bannan; a sister, Elizabeth Malona of Bristol, and a brother, Michael W. Bannan, Jr. of Bristol, NH; and many nieces and nephews. Jack was also pre-deceased by his longtime companion and friend, Amelia "Mal" Savard. The Bannan family would like to express their great appreciation to the fantastic and caring staff at McLean Health Center, especially those on Skyview Terrace (Unit 4), as well as to the nurses and staff of McLean Hospice for their tireless, loving care.
Friends may call at the Vincent Funeral Home, 880 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury on TODAY, July 8 from 4-8 p.m. Funeral will be Tuesday, July 9, 9:15 a.m. from the funeral home followed by a Mass of Christian Burial, 10 a.m. at St. Mary's Church in Simsbury. Burial with military honors will follow in Simsbury Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to Foodshare, 450 Woodland Ave., Bloomfield, CT 06002 or to Simsbury Lions Charities, Inc., P.O. Box 11, Simsbury, CT 06070. Please visit Jack's "Book of Memories" at www.vincentfuneralhome.com for online condolences.