In Memory of




Obituary for James Eric Hanna

Major Genral James E Hanna CD
June 19th, 1926 - December 22nd 2020.

It is with great sadness that I, Kathleen Hanna, report the death of James Eric Hanna at the age of 94 and one hundred and eighty-five days at the Perley & Rideau Veterans' Health Care on Tuesday, December 22 at 09:15 with Dx of Congestive Heart failure.

Born in Toronto, Major -General Hanna was raised in Ottawa, receiving his early education at the Ottawa Model School and at Trinity College School, Port Hope. While a student at Ottawa's Glebe Collegiate Institute, he began his Military career in the Royal Canadian Artillery [Militia] and subsequently enrolled in the Royal Canadien Air Force, completing training as a Flight Engineer in the spring of 1945. After the war, he attended the University of Toronto and obtained the degree of Bachelor of Applied Science in Aeronautical Engineering. During summer vacations, he continued flying training in the Royal Canadien Air Force [reserve] receiving his pilot's wings in 1949.

Major General Hanna was appointed to the Royal Canadien Air Force [regular] in 1950 and served with fighter squadrons in Canada and the United States. He subsequently held the position of instructor in the All-Weather Operational training unit at North Bay, Ontario, and Cold Lake, Alberta. He attended the Empire Test Pilots School at Farnborough in 1956, travelling extensively in the far east, endured many inoculations, and enjoyed a Singapore sling at Raffles Long Bar. Next five years spent with the Central Experimental and Proving Establishment at Malton and Ottawa prior to joining the staff of the Operational Requirements subdivision at Air Force Headquarters.

After completing the Royal Canadien Air Force staff college course in 1964, Major General Hanna spent a year in the middle east as Air Staff Officer to the Commander of the United Nations Emergency force in Gaza and walked the streets of Jerusalem. He joined the Directing staff of the staff college in Toronto in 1965 and was named Commander of the Canadian Forces base in Rivers, Manitoba in 1967.

In 1970, Major General Hanna and his family moved to Quebec City to participate in the Federal Biculturalism Development program at Laval University. One year later, he was posted to National Defense Headquarters in Ottawa as Deputy Director General Bilingual and Biculturalism. In 1974 he attended the Royal College of Defense Studies in London, UK. Major General Hanna was appointed Canadian Defense Attache in Paris in 1975, and in August 1977 assumed command of the Air Defense Group and the 22nd Norad region.
Jim served on the board of the Canadian Red Cross as Vice President and the Board of Commissionaires and was the eldest member of the Royal Canadian Military Institute [RCMI] in Toronto.
The son of Mrs. V Murial Hanna [nee Boyce d.1991] and the late Major F.J.' Eric 'Hanna LLB [ ret ] of Ottawa [d. 1970] Jim married Madelaine Joan [nee Ritchie] in 1954 who was a steadfast partner until her death in April 1981 in Lahr Germany. Their son Jamie Edward, R.M.C. and P.Eng, Queens, of Oakville On. and daughter Brenda Christine Hanna, Calgary Alberta,[ son Roland], will always remember their journeys to many parts of the world. Jim married June Purvis in 1992- who tragically died in 2003. They pursued many activities, travelling extensively, meeting old friends, and enjoying the young children of stepdaughter Janine Purvis and Cameron Trollope of Richmond Hill and well-remembered by daughters Jenna and Michelle Trollope. Jim married Kathleen MacIver in December 2006 in Ottawa. He was the oldest member of the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto. In 1980 in Lahr, Germany, Jim had breakfast with Pierre Elliot Trudeau who was deeply interested in viewing and discussing the Battle of Hochstadt/Blenheim, Gettysburg, Trafalgar, and the American Civil war. Military history was Jim's favorite subject. Jim's flair for languages, especially French, satisfied the P.M. However Major Hanna's most vivid memory was his tour in Gaza and being stranded in the desert at dusk with a flat tire holding a rifle while his mechanic changed the tire, or the flight into the 15th century Basilica St. Catherines monastery in the South Sinai desert to deliver barrels of wine for sacraments to the Monks and climbing 3,000 steps up Mount of Moses [Glebel Musa] so venerated where God spoke to Moses and received the Ten Commandments.
Jim was a collector of antiques, Military memorabilia, Flags, and Heraldry, gifted with a marvelous memory, passionate about erudite mysteries of the Spirit of God, and spiritual dimension of his life, and would have been at home in the company of John Knox and the Cambridge and Oxford Independent thinkers of the 1870s.

Jim was a Gemini and a hero in his own right through his 41 years in the Military, a fighter pilot, a test pilot for the Canadian Government, and slated to test the Avro Arrow before it was decommissioned. After retirement, Jim was in Sales for five years with de Havilland Aircraft and was a member and patron of Christ Church Cathedral and the Prayer Book Society. As a proud Canadian, he supported many Canadian foundations such as the Perley Rideau Care Home for Veterans, the Canadian Red Cross, the War museum, Medicins sans frontiers', the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Ottawa Hospital, TVO, CBC, and deserving such as Foot and Mouth painters.
My thanks to the PRVHC Nurses and PSW staff and our supportive Social Worker S. Tellier and staff. Nurse Almaz, for insights and care, and Velma, a PSW were especially remembered by Jim for their professionalism.
If desired, donations may be made to the Animal Humane Society or charity of their choice.
A celebration of life to be held once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.