A resident of Odell, she lived in Dwight for 45 years and, at age 85, she still gives back to the community in many ways.
She grew up in Edwardsville and received her teaching degree in 1955 from Missouri Valley College. She moved to Dwight, where her husband, Larry Hanner, was principal of the grade school.
In 1974, she got a job teaching PE and health in the Saunemin School District. It was two years after Title 9 had passed, and she started the girls sports program at Saunemin and coached junior high volleyball and track.
“It was exciting” to be part of history, she said, but also a little unnerving as a new coach. “I don’t know who was more scared, the girls or me,” she said about her first game.
The school won second in state in volleyball in the early ’90s under her coaching.
She officially retired in 1994 after teaching and coaching in Saunemin. “I love teaching so much, I kept on subbing.”
In 2009, she was asked to be the Odell School District librarian and has continued to do that for 10 years. She’s also their speech coach.
“I love kids and I love working with them,” she said.
A longtime member of United Methodist Church in Dwight, she taught Sunday school and VBS and sang with the choir. For 35 years she has been the financial secretary for the church. She’s been active with the United Methodist Women’s club and was a past district president.
She’s also been very involved in gardening and making Dwight look beautiful. As a Girl Scout mother — she has a daughter, Lisa, and son Rob — she helped tend an area of flowers at the Country Mansion when it was still open. As a member of the Dwight Woman’s Club, she helps tend the flowers by the flagpole at the train depot. She weeds and waters, with which she gets help these days since you have to carry the water to the flowers. It has always been important for her to keep things tidy, particularly around Harvest Days when she volunteered with the parade.
She is still active with the Streator Community Theatre for adults and children. She’s not only worked behind the scenes but has acted on stage. She served on the board for 18 years. She’s involved with their most recent production, “Babes In Toyland,” which begins Sunday, August 19 and continues through August 19 at the Engle Lane Theater. Her favorite was playing Morgan le Fay in the production of “Camelot.” She also volunteers with the Livingston County Concert Association.
She worked as an officer for the Cunningham Children’s Home in Champaign-Urbana, one of the missions of the UM Women, and still volunteers there. She also is involved in UM Women’s Ladies of Faith, which started 12 years ago. They sing with the residents at Evenglow nursing home in Pontiac and Heritage Woods in Dwight. Singing, telling them jokes and visiting with them offers fellowship and joy to the residents, she said.
One might say there’s no stopping her now.“I retired so I can do other things,” she said.