EAST LANSING — Billy E. Hanel, born Nov. 14, 1921, in Kewadin, the son of Lloyd and Lillie Hanel, died at the age of 91 on May 7, 2013.
At two years of age his family moved to Lansing, where Bill attended Lansing schools, graduating from Central High School (Lansing Sexton) in June of 1939. He attended MSU and graduated with a civil engineering degree in 1943. While at MSU, he was a member of ROTC and was inducted as a private into the U.S. Army in November of 1942, residing with other Field Artillery cadets at the Delta Chi fraternity house until graduation. He then attended Artillery Officer Candidate School at Ft. Sill, Okla., graduating as Second Lieutenant on Dec. 10, 1943. Following stays at replacement depots he eventually served in the 10th Armored Division, assigned to General Patton’s Third Army. He was wounded Dec. 19, 1944, in Belgium at the Battle of the Bulge. He returned home in October, 1945 receiving an Honorable Discharge as a First Lieutenant. His military awards included the Purple Heart, three ETO campaign ribbons, the Presidential Unit Citation (CCB) and the Belgium Croix de Guerre Unit Citation (CCB).
Following his Army discharge, Bill worked for Francis J. Corr for over 10 years in the construction business which included the development of Frandor Shopping Center. In 1956 Bill and Milo Vance formed Hanel-Vance Construction Co., doing commercial construction in the Lansing area for 40 years.
Bill was a 54-year member of the Lansing Lions Club. He served Lions International in various capacities including Lansing President, District Governor and International Director from 1989 to 1991. He served as Lions State Treasurer from 1977 to 1984. Through the years he enjoyed attending more than 40 Lions International Conventions all over the world.
Bill served as an East Lansing City Councilman for seven years including Mayor Pro-Tem, 22 years as a Director (Chm. three years) for the Salvation Army, 25 years as a Director (Chm. two years) and volunteer for the American Red Cross- Mid-Michigan Chapter and 15 years as a board member (Chm. three years) with the Michigan Eye Bank. He was a member of The Peoples Church for more than 50 years, sang in the choir for 34 years and served in many capacities including Elder.