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Louisville Seminary Alumnus Charles Morton Hanna (MDiv ‘51) Dies

by Ashley Schaffner with assistance from Phil Hanna | Jul 29, 2013

Hanna was instrumental in founding the Hanna Scholarship for Excellence at Louisville Seminary

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary alumnus, the Rev. Dr. Charles Morton Hanna, died July 27, 2013 in Lexington. Hanna was born in Hitchens, Ky. on February 25, 1925. He is the husband of Phyllis Shelby Hanna and the son of the late C. Morton Hanna (BD ’24, ThM ’39)  and Margaret Bell Hanna. He is father of Louisville Seminary trustee Lyle Hanna.

Hanna earned an MDiv from Louisville Seminary in 1951. He received additional education at Indiana University and McCormick Seminary in Chicago. Before becoming executive presbyter of Transylvania Presbytery in Lexington in 1971, his life’s work included serving at six rural churches near Tupelo, Miss., as well as at Somerset Presbyterian and Highland Presbyterian Churches in Louisville. During his tenure at Transylvania Presbytery, he supervised the unification of five presbyteries in central and eastern Kentucky. He retired as executive presbyter in 1980, although he continued as business manager until he retired fully in 1988.

On his retirement, he was granted Emeritus status and continued to serve the Presbytery in many roles including serving as an interim associate pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Lexington for two years. Additionally, he helped found Habitat for Humanity in Lexington and was involved in Golden K Kiwanis, Meals on Wheels and the Helping Hands Alzheimer's day center.  

Hanna was instrumental in creating The Hanna Scholarship for Excellence at Louisville Seminary, a new scholarship for the 2013-14 academic year that focuses on preparing students for pastoral leadership. The scholarship will honor Hanna family members who have participated in the life of Louisville Seminary including:  

  • C. Morton Hanna, Sr. ('24) and Margaret Bell Hanna
  • Charles M. Hanna, Jr. ('51) and Phyllis Shelby Hanna
  • Edwin Bell Hanna ('53, '57) and Arpine Yenovkian Hanna
  • C. Phillip Hanna ('83)
  • Richard Bell Hanna ('81) and Lisa Kidd Hanna 

"Charlie Hanna was an exemplary servant leader. He loved the church, and served the church selflessly,” said Louisville Seminary President Michael Jinkins. “Charlie's legacy stands all around us in the congregations that are healthier and the lives that are enriched because of his service. His warmth, generosity, humility and good humor are enduring gifts to all who knew him. We join his family and all his friends today in giving thanks for his life and witness."

Hanna is survived by his wife, Phyllis; a sister Bette Hanna Sikes;  four children, Jill Hanna (Rich Haley), Seminary trustee Lyle Shelby (Mary Diane McCord) Hanna, William Morton (Nancy Maxwell) Hanna, Patrick Carper (Lynn Harmon) Hanna; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.  

A memorial service will be held at 1:30pm on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at Hunter Presbyterian Church, 109 Rosemont Garden in Lexington. Memorial contributions may be made to Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, The Hanna Family Scholarship for Excellence, 1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, Ky., 40205. Online condolences may be made here. Read more here.

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