Faculty Emeritus Frank Hannah, Former Math Instructor, Passes Away

Frank Hannah, Faculty Emeritus in Mathematics from 1968-2004, passed away on Wednesday, April 3, at the age of 70. Known for his love of probability and problem solving, Hannah was a master of the material he taught, according to Donald Barry, Instructor in Mathematics, who was Hannah’s colleague. “With probability problems one can easily get caught up in many awkward cases and he had the ability to see the problem as a whole and not on a case-by-case basis. Some of his solutions would be so elegant; they would take your breath away,” said Barry. “I remember that he always wore a purple turtleneck, and although he challenged his students, he was a sympathetic, compassionate, thoughtful and assertive as a teacher,” continued Barry. Colleagues respected Hannah for his diligent work ethic and incredible kindness. “He was the type of person who would say, ‘So tell me about your day’, instead of ‘Listen about mine.’ He was a true gentleman,” said Peter Washburn, Instructor in Mathematics, who was his colleague. Barry said, “He was a real hard worker, who always got his work done before he went home. He never wanted to bring work home. He was very disciplined. School would end, sports would end, he would finish his work, he would have supper and then he would go home and have the evening to do other things.” “He always did everything people asked and more. He was a kind, generous, unassuming, and extremely committed individual. His students definitely came first,” said Washburn. In addition to teaching math, Hannah earned a reputation as one of Andover’s most versatile coaches, capable of coaching multiple sports. Over his 36 years at Andover, he primarily coached skiing and tennis, though he coached girls soccer, lacrosse, cross-country, softball, golf and squash, as well. Hannah coached Jenny Elliott ’94, current Instructor in History and Dean of Abbot Cluster, on the girls squash team. “He made an individual sport feel like a team sport for me. I try to pass on that message to my squash girls now,” said Elliott, now the coach of Girls Varsity Squash. Elliott admired Hannah for his persistent encouragement, repeatedly feeding her balls on the court and saying, “Keep with it,” and “Keep practicing.” “With his constant ear-to-ear grin, he was incredibly supportive and dedicated to his students as well as his players. In fact, he taught a number of my teammates to play squash. We were his priority,” said Elliott. Recalling the group of five or six math faculty that always arrived at Morse about 45 minutes early in the morning, Washburn described Hannah as a school person. “We were not necessarily all there early because we had work to do, but rather to just be there together, to talk about everything or to talk about nothing. There were no students there at that point, and it was a relaxing fun time,” said Washburn. “I will miss the quiet friendship we had. Knowing that he was always there when you needed him was comforting. I knew that if I ever needed something, he would be there, even if he knew that there was nothing he could do to help. He always gave me the ‘I know what you are going through hang in there’ look,” said Washburn. Hannah was born in Littleton, NH on April 18, 1942. Hannah joined the Phillips Academy staff in 1968 after earning a master’s degree from Dartmouth College. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Janette, and his three sons Gordon, Stewart, and Andrew. Hannah ultimately had to take early retirement from Andover due to emerging signs of early onset Alzheimer’s disease, according to his obituary in the “Andover Townsman.”