Obituary: William A. Hanley Jr.

February 10, 2017
By Marcy Shortuse

William Andrew Hanley, Jr., known to all as Will, died peacefully at his home in Boca Grande in the early hours of February 6, 2017.
Cotton, his loving wife of 42 years, his daughter Bobsey Fansler (Davis), his son Mike Hanley (Whitney), his stepson David Kenny (Cecily) and wonderful caregiver Felix Manual were at his side when he passed.
He was preceded in death by his son, Andy (Kimmy) and stepdaughter, Anne Kenny Kennedy (Bruce).
In addition to his children, he is survived by a gaggle of grandchildren including Nate (Megan), Hanley, Maddie, Morgan and Gavin Fansler, Ryan and Wilder Hanley, Parker and Chapin Hanley, Chris, Cameron and Andrew Kenny and Allie Clayton (Eric) Julie and Scott Kennedy.
Will was born on June 29, 1923. He grew up in Indianapolis, attending Park School before going on to Purdue University. He was an Eagle Scout and spent summers at Camp Chanktanungi, which, according to the song he drummed into his children from an early age, was the best camp for Boy Scouts. Will’s time at Purdue was interrupted by the war, and he joined the Army Air Corps, where he was successful in defending the base at Chapel Hill, N.C. from invasion by enemy forces. After completing his studies at Purdue, Will went on to earn his MBA from Harvard Business School and was a member of the famous Class of ’49.
Will spent nearly 40 years working for Eli Lilly and Company, starting summers washing laboratory bottles. He rose to become executive vice president of Lilly International and president of Lilly’s Elizabeth Arden division. His career took him around the world and included postings with his family in Milan, Italy, Geneva, Switzerland and Sydney, Australia.
For the past 37 years Will and Cotton spent their winters in Boca Grande and summers on Walloon Lake, Michigan. Although he never ran for public office, Will is often referred to as the mayor of both locations. He was that 60-70-80-year-old-guy at The Pink Elephant who all the 20-something girls wanted to party with. Their boyfriends looked on with a mixture of awe and dismay, just hoping that someday they could be that cool.
No one told a joke as well as he did.
In addition to being the life of the party – any party – Will loved to ski, sail (Captain Midnight/Mr. Moon) and play golf. He was the first on the lift and the last to get off the hill. His drive off the tee became known as “The Indiana Banana,” and his penchant for the yip putt was well known.
Will was just one of those special people who make you smile whenever you think of them. He was warm, kind and generous to everyone from all walks of life, and his enthusiasm was infectious.
Most importantly, Will was the best father and grandfather he could be. He showered his family with love. He will be sorely missed.
A memorial service is planned at noon on Saturday, April 8 at St. Andrews Episcopal Church on Boca Grande. In lieu of flowers, a remembrance in Will’s name may be made to the following:
• GICIA Conservancy, PO Box 446, Boca Grande, FL 33921
• Boca Grande Health Clinic Foundation, PO Box 2340, Boca Grande, FL 33921
• Walloon Lake Trust and Conservancy, PO Box 621, Petoskey, MI 49770.