November 7, 2009
REST IN PEACE
John H. Hann passed away on Saturday, November 7, at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital's Rehabilitation Center following a short illness. John was the Senior Historian at Mission San Luis since 1984 and helped lay the foundation for this unprecedented project. He was a prolific scholar widely recognized as an expert in Native American studies and Spanish colonization. John's numerous award-winning books included Apalachee: The Land between the Rivers (1988), Missions to the Calusa (1991), A History of the Timucua Indians and Missions (1996), The Apalachee Indians and Mission San Luis (with Bonnie G. McEwan) (1998), An Early Florida Adventure Story by Fray Andrés de San Miguel (2000), Indians of Central and South Florida, 1513-1763 (2003), and The Native American World Beyond Apalachee: West Florida and the Chattahoochee Valley (2006). He is the only historian to have won the Florida Historical Society's award for the best book on Florida history four times. John was born in Lowell, MA on July 2, 1926. As a young man he entered the Seminary of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Tewksbury, MA where he was ordained and then served as a missionary in Brazil. It was at this time that John became fluent in Portuguese and interested in colonial societies. Following his missionary work in Brazil he separated from the Oblates returning to the United States where he attended George Washington and the University of Texas. He was awarded a PhD in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas studying under the distinguished Latin American scholar Nettie Lee Benson who became his mentor and to whom he credited his career path. He came to Tallahassee to teach at Florida State University where he was an Assistant Professor of History for seven years. Afterward he held temporary faculty positions at Florida Atlantic University and New Mexico State University. John was subsequently hired by the Florida Department of State for whom he worked for 32 years, the last 25 of which were at Mission San Luis. He deeply touched the lives of everyone at the Mission, and remained close to Ed and Mary Keuchel whom he first met at FSU, as well as Neil and Nancy MacCauley of Micanopy. John was preceded in death by his parents, Rosella Woods Hann and John J. Hann; and by his sister Kathleen M. FitzGerald of Nashua NH. He is survived by his sister, Edna McNamara and brother-in-law and Donald McNamara of Lowell, MS; five nephews (Michael J. McNamara, Daniel J. McNamara, David J. FitzGerald, Raymond J. FitzGerald, and Kevin P. FitzGerald), four nieces (Patricia Gardner, Colleen Morrow, Pamela Blanchette, and Nancy West) and 17 grand nieces and grand nephews. A memorial service is being held by his family prior to burial in Massachusetts. His family and friends would like to thank the wonderful staff at Heritage Oaks, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, and the TMH Rehabilitative Center.
Published by Tallahassee Democrat on Nov. 19, 2009.