George Hanna Remembered

Welcome to another week!

Did you hear the good news last Saturday? Pastor Saeed Abedini was released from prison. Praise God! I’ve been praying for him for more than two years. I’ve asked you to pray, too. Thank you for your prayers. Pastor Saeed was imprisoned in Iran for more than three years for his Christian faith. I’m so thrilled he’s free. His release reminds me that God does hear our prayers and answers them in his time. Never give up.

But I’m sad to report the sudden passing of George Hanna. George was in church Sunday morning, January 17, and went to be with the Lord around 5:30 that night. I’m still stunned.

I’ve known George since I was a toddler. He attended Fallowfield United Methodist Church his entire life – 88 years. He served as the church’s chairman of the board and regularly attended men’s prayer breakfasts. My husband and son enjoyed sharing these hearty breakfasts and Bible studies with him.

George was soft-spoken and kind. I never heard him complain and he always had a smile for anyone who talked to him. He was always willing to help out at the church any way he could.

My fondest memories of him center around Crawford County Fair pie bakes. George taught me how to make meringue. It’s a tricky process. You’ve got to add the sugar at precisely the right moment. George taught me to add the sugar once I saw the wire whisk forming lines in the frothy egg whites. Everyone else said to time it. But George’s method made more sense to me, and I’ll remember him every time I make meringue.

He had a dynamite sense of humor, too. Once while pouring coconut cream pie filling into crusts I felt a sneeze coming on. I turned away from the pies and sneezed right in George’s face while he walked by. His response? “Well, I guess I deserved that.” He was so funny.

I can still see him peeling apples every September for the following year’s apple and Dutch apple pies. We use hand cranking apple peelers that both peel and core. We then place the apples in a salt water bath and send these down the assembly line for slicing. George endlessly turned the crank while one long strip of apple peel dangled and eventually fell into a bin at his feet. He helped peel and core seven bushels of apples last fall.

I will miss him. But Earth’s loss is heaven’s gain. I have no doubt that Jesus greeted George last Sunday night with “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)