William J. Hannan, 69, former Dewey principal

Susan Daker

Memorial services for William J. Hannan, a former principal of Dewey Elementary School and longtime Evanston resident, will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Dewey, 1551 Wesley Ave. Hannan, of Tuscon, Ariz., died Aug. 5 at his home. He was 69.

“He was a really good administrator in that he was in every classroom twice a day, ” said Pamela Shaffer, a speech pathologist at Dewey who worked with Hannan.

Hannan taught language arts and social studies in Evanston/Skokie School District 65 for 25 years, the last 19 of which he also served as Dewey’s principal.

Hannan’s wife, Dolores Hannan, said that what he loved most about teaching was the children. Hannan made sure he knew every child in his school.

Whenever a parent called looking for a missing child, Hannan was able to tell the parent who the child was walking home with, Shaffer said.

As an educator and as a parent of children who attended Dewey, Shaffer said she remembers Hannan as someone the children loved.

And he was an excellent speaker, she added, especially when addressing the PTA.

Besides devoting his life to education, Hannan was president of the Dewey Community Conference and Northcare, one of the first federally qualified HMOs.

“He was always a rabble-rouser,” Dolores Hannan said.

Hannan was one of the founders of Northcare, which was started because Evanston residents were frustrated with local medical services, Dolores Hannan said. The plan now is a part of Humana, a health care organization serving 6.5 million people.

Hannan grew up in Chicago and attended St. Gregory’s High School in Evanston. After high school he attended Arizona State University, where he received a scholarship to play football, although he only played the sport during his freshman year.

During his undergraduate years, he also served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Alaska, Dolores Hannan said.

While teaching in Evanston, Hannan received a master’s degree in counseling from Loyola University, Dolores Hannan said.

She said she remembered being “astounded” by the stories her husband told about traveling with his grandparents. Hannan enjoyed driving, and he and his wife drove all over the United States and Canada. Dolores Hannan said that even though they flew to Europe, Hannan insisted on driving once they arrived there. Another of his favorite pastimes was golf.

Hannan and Dolores Hannan met in 1969 when Hannan hired her as a teacher. The couple married in 1983. Dolores Hannan said she remembered her husband as “warm, affectionate and very loving.”

Donations will be taken at the memorial service for a bench that will placed in the flower garden at Dewey in Hannan’s memory.

Besides his wife, Hannan is survived by daughters Megan Hannan Johnson of Colombia, Mo., and Moira Ockrim of Skokie; sons Tim of Mundelein, Ill., and Patrick of Boise, Idaho; stepdaughter Mary Cohen of Chicago; stepson Michael Morley of Bensenville, Ill.; eight grandchildren; sister Kathy Rowan; two brothers, James and Mark; and nieces and nephews.