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Philip Hanni


1932 - 2013 | Obituary Condolences
Philip Hanni Obituary
Philip S. Hanni

April 28, 1932 - March 21, 2013

SALEM - Philip Hanni - known to one and all as Phil - lived a large and complex life. Marrying his passions for social justice, pacifism and equal rights to his dual careers of the ministry and education through his work in the campus ministry, he was fortunate enough to have the best of both worlds. He died in Salem on March 21 at age 80, after being ill for the last year and a half.

Raised in Washington, Kansas, by a Swiss immigrant father and a mid-western mother, he was the youngest of three siblings, with an older brother and sister. He was, in his own words, "raised with books and newspapers," and seems to have known that he wanted to enter the ministry by the time he graduated from high school. After three years at Baker University in Baldwin, KS, he graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence in 1955 with a BA in Sociology. He went on to study at the Theological School of Drew University in Madison, NJ (where he met his future wife, Erin, on a bike ride for new students), Kenyon College/Bexley Hall in Gambier, OH, Yale in New Haven, CT, and the Chicago Theological Seminary at the Univ. of Chicago. He earned several additional degrees along the way, including a Bachelor of Divinity from Kenyon in 1961, a Master of Sacred Theology from Yale in 1963, and a Doctorate of Religion from Chicago in 1971.

He served several United Methodist churches in Kansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio before moving to Georgia in 1963 and joining the campus ministry. Phil and his family first moved to Oregon in 1964, when he became the campus minister at Oregon College of Education (now WOU) in Monmouth. He went on to serve as Campus Minister and assistant professor in Ellensburg, WA, and, most notably, as the Chaplain at Willamette University in Salem from 1973 until 1985. He also served as an assistant professor and Director of Church-University Relations at Willamette, as well as the Chairman of the Atkinson Speaker Committee. After leaving Willamette he served churches in Milton-Freewater and Weston, OR, Caldwell, ID and Lebanon, OR until his retirement in 1997.

Phil and Erin Turner were married August 26, 1956, in Macon, GA (on a day so hot the candles in the church melted), and they were life partners for 56 years. They had three sons: Carl, David and Douglas. Phil and Erin survived and thrived through numerous ups and downs over several decades, including the premature and unexpected deaths of David and Douglas. They also fought the good fights for civil rights and the end to the Vietnam war, and dedicated themselves to working on behalf of minorities and numerous social causes. Phil was generally at the center of one cause or another, including working with conscientious objectors in the 1960s and 70s; and he was instrumental in bringing several outstanding speakers to Willamette University, including Alan Paton, Eli Wiesel, Margaret Mead, Alan Watts and numerous others. He and Erin made several trips to the U.K. in the 1990s, and a treasured trip to Switzerland in 1996 to meet his relatives there. After retirement they remained very active in the Salem area, especially with the Institute for Continued Learning at Willamette, local music and arts events, and at the First United Methodist Church, particularly the Social Concerns Committee.

Phil was famously gregarious and outgoing, always ready with a quip or a comment. He was also known for his intellect and wide ranging reading and interests, especially in philosophy, religion and the humanities. He also cooked a great hamburger.

Phil was preceded in death by his father, Adolph; his mother, Belle Stanton; his sister, Marie; his brother, Louis; and by his sons, David and Douglas. He is survived by his wife Erin (Salem) and son Carl (Tucson, AZ); and a niece, Carol Delnegro (Alexandria, VA) and nephew, Gary Hanni (Salt Lake City, UT). In addition, he has several surviving relatives in Switzerland and around the Washington, KS area. He is also survived by a wide network of friends and associates who will remember him for his good works and buoyant personality, and, in retirement, his signature red beret and braid.

Friends are invited to a Celebration of Life Service on Sunday, April 14 at 2:00 pm at First United Methodist Church, 600 State Street in Salem, 97301. Memorial donations may be made to the Jason Lee Food Bank, c/o First United Methodist Church, or to a . Arrangements are by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.
Published in StatesmanJournal on Apr. 7, 2013
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