Forever an Edgartown resident, William Hanna, fondly remembered by his many friends and neighbors as Bill, died peacefully on Dec. 3 at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation where he had resided for the last few years of his life. Even in recent years, when asked how he was doing, Bill was famous for his response: “Pretty good for a kid!” He was 98.

William H. Hanna was born Oct. 20, 1916 in Clinton, the son of James H. Hanna and Elizabeth Keiser Hanna. He had one brother, Robert L. Hanna.

Bill arrived on Martha’s Vineyard aboard the USS Leonard Wood during World War II, served 44 months in the Coast Guard, achieved the rank of Coxswain and earned the American Area and the Asiatic Pacific Medals. Among other places, he was stationed in Gay Head and Cape Pogue. Bill enjoyed recalling that one of his assigned duties while stationed at Gay Head was to walk the beach from Gay Head to Chappaquiddick on patrol for enemy submarines and aircraft — just Bill and his lantern.

When he got to Chappy he would bunk at the house maintained by and for the Coast Guardsmen. It was during this time he met Edgartown resident and lifelong Islander, Louise Evelyn Luce, who would become his wife in June of 1944.

On Jan. 19, 1962 with many of his friends and family in attendance, Bill was installed as Master of Oriental Lodge A.F. & A.M., which then made its home in the former Baptist Church on School street, now a private home. A few years ago Bill was presented with his 50-year medal at Windemere from a visiting delegation of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in Boston, the third oldest such lodge in existence. It was a joyful and very proud moment for him.

Bill had a long and active life in Edgartown and was a devoted husband to Louise for 59 years. Louise died on May 24, 2003 at the age of 80 with Bill at her side. Their son, Preston Hanna, served in the Marine Corps during the Viet Nam War, and who later developed ALS, predeceased them both in 1982 at age 37.

Bill remained an active member in the congregation of the Edgartown United Methodist Church throughout his life. Late in his life when he attended Sunday services, he would sit with his good friends Helen Jackson, Jeanette Johnson, Joanne Ewing and Ethel Chapman. His beloved minister, Arlene Bodge, affectionately referred to them as “Bill Hanna and his merry widows.”

Bill was Mr. Edgartown. Island residents may recall seeing him driving around town. His license plate read Shanty. He was the head bartender for Bob Carroll at the original Seafood Shanty for 38 years. He drove a bus for the VTA for 11 years. He had many jobs, the last one being a school bus driver. He used to break in the boys’ baseball gloves by having them oil up the glove and put a baseball in it, then he’d drive the school bus back and forth over the glove.

For several years in his mid-90s, Bill was a regular participant in the Supportive Day Program at the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living, where he became acquainted with a large new circle of friends at Edgartown Senior Center, the Anchors. During those years, Bill could be seen daily walking briskly around Edgartown with his good friend and former Marine, Rocky Fedele, and a day program staffer. He knew every square inch of downtown Edgartown like the back of his hand and took great joy in conducting the tour, describing how things used to be and exactly how things had evolved to be the way they are today. He particularly loved climbing the steps of Memorial Wharf and taking in the view. Bill made friends easily and readily and soon became the day program ambassador, welcoming new participants and smoothing the transition for numerous elders and their families. The staff at the day program came to love Bill as family.

At age 94, Bill was reunited with his son Jim Hanna who travelled to the Vineyard from Oklahoma with his daughter Linda to visit with him. Bill was elated to see his son again and meet his granddaughter for the first time. They presented Bill with an Oklahoma football blanket, which became his prized possession and kept him warm when sleeping for the rest of his life.

Bill’s residence for the last four years was at Windemere, where he enjoyed attending many of the activities and where he became part of its fabric. In October of this year he was seen pedaling along on the back of a trike. Of course, the attractive occupational therapist who was sitting in the front seat had nothing to do with Bill’s enthusiasm.

Bill’s first wife, Helen Marion Bassett, predeceased him in 1995. His daughter, Marion Elizabeth Hanna Brock, also predeceased him.

He is survived by his son James H. Hanna and daughter in law Lucille Hanna of Lawton, Okla.; his grandchildren Linda and Jack Hanna, David, Kathy and Brenda Brock, Jennifer Hanna, Karen Hanna Shaw, Michele Alton and Preston R. Hanna; and great-grandchildren, Addison and Zackary Hanna, Mackenzie Searle, Ella Shaw and her new sister Ivy.

Donations in his memory may be made to the ALS Family Charitable Foundation Inc. at or the Edgartown United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 1754, Edgartown, MA 02539.