In 2006, Lee and Gretchen Hanna made their charitable plans known to Mary Gibble, HCCF President and Dick Creger, then South Madison Community Foundation President. They did so very quietly, through their attorney Roger Reason, insisting that their intentions remain in the utmost confidence. The depth of their generosity would remain unknown until Gretchen’s passing in December 2013. The remainder of their estate has now been split evenly between the two foundations and endowed to benefit nine charitable organizations and one scholarship upon fund maturity. After five years, the fund will transition to become an unrestricted resource for community grantmaking for the two foundations…a treasure beyond description.
Their insistence of confidentiality is indicative of their desire to give and to serve without acclamation. Friends described the couple as God-fearing, honest, patriotic, and humble.
Gretchen graduated from Markleville High School and retired from Delco Remy Division of Motors Engineering Department in 1980, after 38 years of service. She was involved in the Markleville North Christian Church’s JOY circle and the Pendleton Chapter Order of the Eastern Star.
Marvin “Lee” was born in Shirley and resided in Pendleton with Gretchen. He farmed in both Madison and Hancock Counties. Lee served as a Director on the Central Indiana Power Board (formally REMC) in Greenfield for 30 years and was Secretary/Treasurer of the board for 19 of those years. He also served as a Director of the Wabash Valley Power Association Board for 16 years and was second Vice President for three of those years. He farmed full-time after working at Nicholson File in Anderson from 1941-1964.
Lee served his communities with vigor, but considered his greatest service to be that given during WWII where, as a 21 year old, he served the U. S. Army’s 3466th Ordinance Company, Medium Automotive Maintenance, 5th Engineers Special Brigade, and Third Army. He served in England, France, and Belgium and participated in the Normandy Invasion. Lee’s memories were captured when he was interviewed for an article of his memories of the D-Day Invasion. “I am no hero and seek no recognition. Those men who lost their lives are heroes. They gave it their all. They made the supreme sacrifice. I did my job and did it well
and am proud to have served. I was lucky; I got to come home. I have had a wonderful life and am still in good health. The Lord has blessed my wife and me and we are very grateful.”0
Those who knew the couple were familiar with their desire to leave the world a better place than it was when they entered it. We are fortunate that the Hanna’s created an endowment that will continue to contribute to the betterment of South Madison and Hancock Counties for all time.