Online Obituaries and Tributes

John A. Hanawalt

October 04, 1927 - May 28, 2014

Melbourne Beach, FL

John A. Hanawalt, educator, outdoor enthusiast and storyteller, died on May 28, 2014 in Melbourne Beach, FL. Born in Bellmore, NY, in 1927, he was the son of Dr. John E. and Gertrude Hanawalt of Seaford, NY. He married Jessie Cadwell in 1950, and raised 5 children in Commack, NY. In 1973, he married Marjorie Flinn, mother of 6, whom he met at a church dance for widows and widowers. They raised the bunch in Huntington, NY. He would say of blending such a large family, "if you don't take the risk, you will never know the joy."

John's joy was shared and multiplied by all who knew and loved him. He was a generous man, faithful, curious, funny, and nurturing. Even his stern moments, frequently accompanied by loud exclamations in German, were borne of a tender heart.

John guided and inspired young minds to explore their world and understand the beauty and mysteries of the out-of-doors as an educator for 32 years at Village School in Syosset, NY. He spent summers with family and friends in Maine, where he built a rustic A-Frame on the edge of a mountain lake. He enjoyed hiking, rock hounding, archeology, water skiing, clamming, stargazing, reading, telling jokes, dominoes, cribbage and lobster feasts. Kids on the pond knew he'd host a Bingo game any time there were 3 rainy days in a row.

John developed his love of adventure and the out-of-doors at Aldercliff summer camp in Nova Scotia. He donated his collection of camp memorabilia to the town of Weymouth, NS, on the centennial of the founding of Aldercliff. He frequented Digby Scallop Days and particularly enjoyed a cold Keith's ale dockside with friends and family. He had a great appetite and loved strong cheeses and sardines, which he occasionally enjoyed with a beverage.

John was a veteran and served as a machinist in the US Navy Reserve during WWII and Korea. He received degrees from Hofstra University (BA), New Paltz State Teachers College (MS), and the University of Northern Colorado (Specialist in Outdoor Education).

He was active in civic leadership, education associations, church activities, volunteer tax preparation for seniors and serving the needy. In his retirement he invented and patented a better mousetrap, The Maine Mouse-ah, and traveled throughout Europe with Marjorie. In 1991 they retired to Florida, where they enjoyed making new memories with dear friends at Aquarina.

John is survived by his love and wife of 41 years, Marjorie W. Hanawalt; his children and children by marriage, Pamela O'Brien (Eddie) of Coram, NY, F. X. Flinn (Linda) of Quechee, VT, Diane A. Jacobs (Charles) of Ypsilanti, MI, Elizabeth M. Groth (Emil) of Crozet, VA, Joseph A. Flinn (Amy) of Rochester, NY, Heidi M. Winkler (Robert) of Wilmington, NC, Carol Flinn Dunne (Bernie) of Roanoke, VA, Moira K. Soulia (Dan) of Reno, NV, Anne Flinn Powell of Charlottesville, VA, Robert S. Hanawalt (Kirsten) of East Northport, NY, and Midge Flinn Yost of Harpers Ferry, WV. Seventeen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren also brought great joy to Johnfather's life.

Arrangements entrusted to Ammen Family Cremation and Funeral Care, Melbourne, 724-2222. Share memories and sign the family guestbook at

Funeral Information

A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 am on Saturday, June 7, 2014, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Melbourne Beach, FL. A memorial service in celebration of his life will be held in Maine at a later time.

Donations Information

In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to your local St. Vincent de Paul Society.


Service:  Map to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Melbourne Beach

John A. Hanawalt


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