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Howard Hanna Jr. - President & Chairman of M. A. Hanna Company

11505 Lake Shore Boulevard
Howard Melville Hanna Jr.
Howard Melville Hanna Jr.

Howard Melville Hanna, Jr., was born on December 14, 1877, to Howard Melville and Kate Smith Hanna. Howard Sr. was the nephew of Mark Hanna, the president maker of the McKinley era. Howard’s two sisters lived in the next two houses east of the Hanna home.

Howard Jr. graduated from University School and then spent three years in the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University.

In 1900, Hanna left college to become a clerk with the M. A. Hanna & Co. His activities with the company were varied. He took over dock operations. From there, he went to the development of iron ore properties. He was always active in the general business affairs of the company.

Late in 1922, M.A. Hanna Co. was incorporated, replacing M. A. Hanna & Co. Howard became the company’s first president. Hanna became chairman of the board in 1929.

Jean Claire Hanna
Jean Claire Hanna

Howard married his cousin, Jean Claire Hanna, in 1907. Jean was born on December 31, 1882, to Leonard and Fanny Hanna. Ohio law prohibited the marriage of first cousins, so the wedding took place in Thomasville, Georgia. Howard and Claire were playmates in childhood and remained devoted to each other. The match met with parental objection, but both were of age and wealthy in their own right.  Howard and Claire had five children: Fannie (Bolton) born in 1907, Howard Melville III, born in 1909, Jean born in 1910, Kate Benedict (Bicknell), born on June 25, 1911, and Constance Clair, on August 12, 1913.

In 1912, Hanna became a partner in M. A. Hanna Company. The partnership discontinued, and the M. A. Hanna Company was incorporated in 1922 with Howard Hanna Jr. as president and chairman in 1929. He also organized Standard Investment Company and the National Steel Company in 1929.

Hanna’s other business interests included being president of the Paint Creek Coal Mining Company, president of the Wakefield Iron Company, and vice-president of the Susquehanna Collieries Company. He was a member of the board and executive committee of the Republic Iron & Steel Company, director of the National Biscuit Company, Howe Sound Company, Kelly Island Lime and Transport Company, First National Bank, and a member of the executive committee of the Guardian Savings and Trust Company.

Howard Hanna was a quiet man who shunned publicity. He had a deep interest in medicine’s progress and was a trustee of the old Lakeside Hospital. When the hospital moved, Hanna continued as a trustee of University Hospitals. He was also a trustee of Western Reserve University.

In March 1945, Hanna came to Cleveland for the funeral of his sister, Gertrude Hanna Haskell. As he was preparing to return to his estate, Melrose Plantation, in Thomasville, Georgia, he took his chauffeur place to drive the car to the Cleveland Union Terminal to board a train for Georgia.

As Mr. Hanna put his foot on the starter, he suddenly fell forward over the wheel and died instantly. His chauffeur took him to Charity Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead on March 17, 1945. The doctors attribute his death to coronary thrombosis. Associates said that he had not previously shown any signs of heart trouble.

Jean died on April 13, 1973, and was buried alongside Howard in Lake View Cemetery.