Robert B. Hanni

Robert “Bob” B. Hanni, 91, passed away on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at White Oak Health Campus in Monticello. He was born on January 28, 1926 in Bluffton to Menno and Sylvia (Bixler) Hanni. Between those dates, he cut a significant swath on this earth.

He graduated from Geneva High School in 1943 and, promptly, joined the United States Army, serving in the Pacific Theater during WWII with stints in Okinawa and Korea. After discharge, he married Joyce Fields. They were married for 69 years.

During his life, he was a furniture store owner and upholsterer, a chicken farmer, a classroom teacher and coach, a guidance counselor, a school superintendent and a bank president. He also served as a volunteer unofficial coach and referee for any games involving his children, and often as a very unofficial, unbiased referee for Indiana University basketball and football games.

He lived in Geneva until 1968 at which time he became the superintendent of the Polk-Lincoln-Johnson School Corporation (John Glenn High School) in Walkerton. In 1970, he was named the superintendent of Twin Lakes School Corporation in Monticello, holding that position until 1982, at which time he became president of State and Savings Bank. He retired from banking in 2005.

He served on many civic, governmental and professional boards through out his career, chairing several. However, he will be remembered that, other than his family, his real passion in life was education, a passion inspired by his mother who had hoped to become a teacher. He attended Indiana Central College (University of Indianapolis), Indiana University (Fort Wayne), Ball State University (B.S. 1961, Ed.D 1968) and Purdue University (M.S. 1964). He completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees between the births of his fifth and sixth children, and his doctorate after the birth of his sixth. All of his children participated in his educational endeavors, thus, realizing first-hand the importance of learning and perseverance.

Governor Otis Bowen appointed him to the State Board of Education in 1973, and he served that board until 1990. He believed that education should be high quality, relevant, affordable and available for all individuals who seek to achieve the best of their abilities. For that reason, he vigorously advocated for a public community college system to service those individuals. He sought for that system to be developed within the structure of Ivy Tech, which was concerned, primarily, with vocational education. His initiative to make a college education available in localities through-out the state was heavily criticized by the major state universities, as they believed they were adequately providing those opportunities. Today, Ivy Tech is the largest university in the state, serving over 160,000 people annually. He was especially proud and happy when the Ivy Tech Community campus was established in White County. He will be remembered for frequently encouraging people and providing educational opportunities for many who believed it was not possible for them.

He was a Kentucky Colonel, a Sagamore of the Wabash and the Ball State University Alumnus Education Administrator of the Year in 1982.

His favorite quote, which he lived fully, was attributed to John Wooden: “You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” Thanks, Dad!

He is survived by five children, Cary, Karen, Kevin, Don, and Duane; brother, Larry of Indianapolis; 17 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife in November 2016; son, Bob; sister, Phyllis Armstrong Cress of Fort Wayne; and grandson, Seth.

We want to extend a special thanks and our gratitude to those individuals at White Oak Health Campus and ViaQuest Hospice for the outstanding care they provided to our Dad, with dignity and respect.

Memorials may be made to the White County Foundation for the Robert Hanni Scholarship Fund or the University of Indianapolis for the Hanni Family Scholarship Fund.

A private family celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Arrangements provided by Springer-Voorhis-Draper Funeral Home of Monticello. Messages of condolence may be made at