Thomas Francis Hanley
"Go placidly amid the noise & haste & remember what Peace there may be in silence." (opening to "Desiderata")
a composition favourite of Thomas Hanley
Thomas Francis Hanley 1942-2021: A native of Sussex, New Brunswicker and proud of it; passed away at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital with family by his side in Fredericton, NB.
Thomas’ life was lived in constant pursuit of learning and turning thoughts into actions. Till one week prior to his death he was still reading, exploring, learning; "what is the humans’ real position or responsibility within the Universe?", he asked. Thomas donated his body to Dalhousie University, Faculty of Medicine: Anatomy & Neurobiology as a "learning gift" for students and faculty to continue exploration after his death to answer some of his burning questions.
His character and commitment were evident at a young age. He excelled in scholastics, from grade school to University Degrees and areas of personal interest, earning trophies and Scholarships along the way. UNB Bachelor of Physical Education: distinction "Steller Graduate" and Springfield College Master of Science with a Minor in Religious studies.
Thomas Hanley started his career as a teacher at Riverview High School then Saint John High School. He taught math, biology and coached various sports bringing both schools to competitive status. His skills were such that he was asked to take an education leadership role with New Brunswick Government. He moved through various positions: Supervisor of Sport and Recreation, Supervisor of Physical Education, Curriculum Consultant in Health and Physical Education, Director of Professional Development, Innovation Leader, until his retirement.
Thomas took little note of titles. His commitment was to positive outcomes through encouragement and tenacity. Author Thomas Hanley is on a long list of curriculum materials published in the province. He developed a compulsory physical education program as a requirement for graduation. He developed an elective leadership course that stimulated many students to enroll and become their generation’s leaders. Before any national movement was being made, Thomas was already creating the materials, working intensely with teachers, specialists, and the NB Government for progressive innovations for teachers and youth. Thomas was the driving force behind the NB Health and Physical Education Council; the Bulletin Editor of the regional association; served twice on the Board of Directors for CAHPER (Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education & Recreation) and a strong supporter of SPAP (School Physical Activity Programs). Thomas was an Honourary Director of the PGAC (Professional Golf Association of Canada) due to his extensive coach education work with them.
He was instrumental in the formation of the first Physical Education Council for the New Brunswick Teachers Association; the development and implementation of a Physical Education Kit for generalist teachers in elementary schools- a resource so successful that it received national exposure and was adopted by several US states as well. He developed programs to help teachers deal with the extremely sensitive and politically charged areas of sex education and AIDS education. Thomas was selected to a team exchanging educational and sport concept ideas with East Germany before the Berlin Wall came down. Other countries with education learning exchanges were in England, Mexico, and Australia.
He was most proud of being awarded the R. Tait McKenzie Award of Honor; the most prestigious award presented by CAPHER (Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education & Recreation). Thomas felt this Award far surpassed any degree he had attained; to have the respect of your peers and giving unwavering support to them is the ultimate sense of achievement. No books, no words, no prestigious moments could compare.
Community Service and
Endless volunteer support, always on-call for events involving children or youth in sport and recreation. He was well known as a basketball referee, having blown the whistle for 50 years and played for even more. As he aged, he started the Masters basketball leagues so anyone could continue to play as long as they wanted to. His teammates are forever friends. Thomas played seven different sports in high school, two in university, two at the intermediate and master’s level. He coached five sports, an official in three. From player to official to teacher to coach to administrator, he seems to have done it all.
He served with the Canadian Red Cross for many years notably as a Team Leader for Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans; Team trainer and volunteer on-site for Community Disaster Relief; Team participant on the constructing of an Evacuation Process for the Village of New Maryland; and with Disaster Relief Team for the Newfoundland Ice Storm.
Thomas Hanley loved music. In retirement he joined two choirs and assisted with the function of the choirs in various capacities. He took guitar lessons, helped young students learn to read, and developed a High School Leadership, Personal Development Program in association with the Canadian Veterans Association.
He lived much of his life on, under, or beside some form of water. Canoes, kayaks, motor boats, and playing in the water were essential summer activities. In later years he spent much time building and living at his cabin on the lake. Many fireside sunsets, with a little guitar picking and singing alone or with family and friends. There was always space at "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" for family, friends, or anyone walking the lake shore. People knew where to find Uncle Tom’s Cabin knowing an open door and big hug welcomed you.
Thomas was a family man, one of 10 children, married for 55 years with 3 children and 3 grandchildren – Madelaine Hanley, Kieran Hanley, Thomas Holloway. Thomas had great fun with affectionate names for his children; Tommy is ‘The Champ’, Chantelle is ‘Princess’, and Tyler is ‘Tigger;’ while his wife Carol Ann was ‘Me Darlin’. Survived also by his sister Glenna Hanley, brother Patrick Hanley and wife Moira, brother Murrary Branscombe and wife June, sister-in-law Elaine Brown and husband Donald, brother-in-law Ronald Guerrier and many nieces and nephews.
Predeceased by his parents Thomas Frederick Hanley and Frances Gertrude (Whalen, Branscombe) Hanley; sisters Edna Miklos and her husband Steve, Doris Branscombe, Marita Mason and husband Warren, Serena Renner and husband Paul; brothers Michael Ward Branscombe and wife Jean, Gilbert Branscombe and wife Alice, niece Lori Branscombe, mother-in-law Jean Lane, and brother-in-law Robert Guerrier.
Thomas Francis Hanley
"With all my professional accolades above, the greatest of all are the friends I treasure and friendships that will be felt and remembered long after my death. My family and friends, you know who you are, you are my most treasured gifts by which I measured my personal worth."
A memorial gathering will be held at McAdam's Funeral Home on Saturday, November 27th, 2021 from 2:00 - 4:00 pm. If unable to attend, a livestream will be available at the following link:
For those who
wish, donations in Thomas' memory can be made to the Fredericton Boys
and Girls Club or a charity of the donor's choice.