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William Hannan, veteran and ex-NYPD detective, dies

William Hannan, seen in an undated photo, was

William Hannan, seen in an undated photo, was a retired NYPD detective, a Korean War veteran and a longtime East Williston resident. He died April 23, 2015 from complications of Alzheimer's disease. Credit: Handout

William R. Hannan Sr., a Korean War veteran, retired NYPD detective and longtime East Williston resident, doted on his wife for 57 years.

Hannan met Connie in Brooklyn in the mid-1950s when the two worked as ticketing agents for airlines. They married two years later in their early 20s and went on to have four children.

"I could not have asked for a better marriage," Connie Hannan said. "He always put me first. If I wanted to go to dinner, and he wanted to play golf with the guys, he would join me for dinner."

William Hannan died April 23 at the Long Island State Veterans Home from complications of Alzheimer's disease. He was 81.

William Hannan Jr., 55, of Manhasset, remembers vividly how his father imparted important life lessons.

A particular standout, he said, was how tenderly his father described the act of sex to his young sons. A religious man who framed such things in the context of family, he told them, "It's one of the most beautiful things in the world," Hannan Jr. recalled through tears.

Hannan joined the NYPD in 1958 and served 12 years as a motorcycle officer and instructor. He participated in many police motorcades, including one for Pope Paul VI during his 1965 visit.

He retired in 1980 as a detective and went on to work as an investigator for the National Insurance Crime Bureau for the next 20 years, until 2000.

Born in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1933, Hannan and his family moved to Brooklyn in 1942. He served in the Army during the Korean War, becoming a sergeant in a tank division. His family said he saw Bob Hope and Marilyn Monroe perform for the troops and also witnessed the waving of white flags at the end of the conflict.

Hannan and his wife were active members in St. Raymond's Catholic Church in East Rockaway. He coached Catholic youth baseball teams for 15 years, ending in the early 1970s. He was also a member of the Holy Name Society and Nocturnal Adoration Society, and was an Extraordinary Minister -- honors bestowed upon him by St. Raymond's.

Hannan fulfilled a lifelong goal in 1986 when he earned a bachelor's degree from the New York Institute of Technology, focused on criminal justice. He was the first person in his family -- the only one of his siblings or of any generation before -- to graduate from college, his son said.

The couple moved to East Williston in 1994. In retirement, Hannan reconnected with friends from his old Brooklyn neighborhood, particularly during the winters he and his wife spent in Vero Beach, Florida.

Survivors include another son, Mark, of Wheaton, Illinois; daughters Nancy Hannan of Rockville Centre, and Carrie Donahue of Bronxville; and 11 grandchildren.

A funeral was held at St. Aidan Catholic Church in Williston Park on April 27. Hannan will be buried at Long Island National Cemetery this summer.

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