He was born in Houston on the 15th of January 1924 to Ethel Bloomfield Hannah, originally from Moss Point, Mississippi, and David Hannah from Ayrshire, Scotland. John attended Davidson College and graduated with a BBA from the University of Texas. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
His business pursuits were centered on the development of medical buildings. He built the first offices for what is now the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. With Jesse W. Edmundson, he restored Houston’s 1884 Cotton Exchange Building, a historic landmark recognized by the state and nation.
Under the tutelage of master angler Charley Thanheiser, John became an incorrigible fisherman. He took trout and Atlantic salmon on the fly from the streams and rivers of seven countries, including twelve states and provinces.
For a time, John was co-owner, with Brooks Bouldin, of the E. F. Payne Rod Company in Highland Mills, New York.
He and Rita were organizing members of St. Philip Presbyterian Church in the early 1950s and they have continued to serve the church for 65 years. John was a commissioner to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and helped organize a subsequent General Assembly of the denomination, held in Houston.
He was a writer, publishing two books of fishing memories, as well as two additional books. During his long life, John served a number of organizations in positions of responsibility including Presbyterian MoRanch Assembly, Texas Presbyterian Foundation, Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, Interface-Samaritan Counseling Center, Riverside General Hospital, Citizens for Good Schools, Texas Interfaith Housing Corporation, Preservation Alliance of Greater Houston, Southampton Residents Association, The Forest Club, the Wodehouse Society and Texas Flyfishers.
During World War II, he served in the Navy as an Aviation Electronics Technician’s Mate First Class and was stationed on Guam. At the end of the war, he and another former electronics sailor, Frank C. Smith, Jr, took a motorized victory lap of seven thousand miles around the country.
John was active in the Republican Party, and later in the Democratic Party.
He is preceded in death by his siblings David Hannah, Jr, and Mary Hannah Smith; and also by granddaughter Jennifer Thorvilson.
By far the greatest joy of John’s life was his wife and counselor of 70 years, Rita Grace Waters Hannah, who survives him. He was proud of, and enjoyed the company of, his descendants.
He is also survived by his two daughters, Heather Hannah Beadle of Boulder, Colorado, and Janet Hannah Eskridge (Carl) of Lincoln, Nebraska; granddaughters Hannah Eskridge Mirmiran of Omaha, Nebraska, and Rachel Eskridge of Nashville, Tennessee; great-grandchildren Grace Thorvilson (Kurt Burne), Johnathan Thorvilson, Joey, Daniel and Lily Mirmiran, and Jac Eskridge-Smith; great-great-grandchildren Will and Daxton Thorvilson.
He is also survived by loving nieces, nephews and a host of relatives in Scotland. The family wishes to thank the staff and residents of the Hallmark for their gracious and caring support.
A memorial service is to be conducted at two o’clock in the afternoon on Monday, the 12th of March, in the sanctuary of St. Philip Presbyterian Church, 4807 San Felipe in Houston, where Dr. John Wurster will officiate. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the adjacent gathering area.
Prior to the service the family will have gathered for a private interment at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston.
In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be directed to St. Philip Presbyterian Church.
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