Over the 162 years The Aegis has been reporting the news of Harford County and surrounding areas, both in print and now over the internet, we never could have succeeded without the support of many individuals – and businesses – in the communities we serve.
One very important and, sometimes overlooked, aspect of that support has been the loyal cadre of readers across that more than a century and half who have served as our eyes and ears out in the community. It would be impossible to report what goes on without these folks, simply because our staff can’t be everywhere at all times. A good news gathering organization, and we humbly believe we have been such an organization, has to depend on these community folks, or we would have gone away a long time ago.
One of our most loyal supporters of the past 60-plus years was William Miles Hanna Jr., known to us and to his many friends as “Bill,” who unfortunately left us much too soon on March 10 at the still young age of 73.
For us, Bill Hanna was our man in Whiteford and surrounding areas of northeastern Harford County and southern York County. Not only could we count on Bill to keep us up with the local news and community talk, we could also count on him to tell us when things were right in the county, in local or state politics and when we weren’t doing our own job as well as we could.
For us, as we are sure for many, Bill was “Mr. Whiteford” personified, a Harford native who never strayed far from his roots in that community, where he ran the former Whiteford Packing Company, the area’s largest employer, for more than two decades and then devoted his time and energy to his own Quigley Farm, where he grew a variety of vegetables for market.
Mr. Hanna was proud to be a farmer and equally proud to be a Harford County farmer, somebody who believed in growing crops, not turning over cropland for houses or other development. In addition to running the roadside stand in front of his farm, he was an active participant in the Bel Air Farmers Market and used to say he looked forward to his weekly visits to the county seat to catch up on the news and visit old friends, who couldn’t always make that trek all the way up to Whiteford.
He served his country in the Air Force and was active in the Slate Ridge American Legion Post 182. He had a desire to serve the community, as well, and was a member of dozens of county boards and commissions over the years, also serving on the Maryland Agricultural Commission.
Anyone who met Mr. Hanna could tell right away he was a down-to-earth guy who wasn’t bashful about speaking his mind. One thing he was especially outspoken about was protecting the environment. He was no tree-hugging banshee, but someone who honestly believed humans should be able to adapt their natural surroundings, while also respecting and nurturing them. Frankly, he didn’t get enough credit for his contributions to protecting the northern Harford County area from being overrun by development, but he also wouldn’t have sought such attention for himself.
We’ll miss Bill Hanna, as we have come to miss many of our friends and longtime supporters when they have passed on. Fortunately, there always have been others to carry on the traditions, and we are hopeful that will be the case following this latest loss.
To Mr. Hanna’s family and friends, we offer our condolences. He was indeed a man of many talents, a good steward of the land and someone who never hesitated to step forward to serve his Whiteford community and his home county with pride.