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Joseph John Hanak
(March 21, 1930 - June 4, 2013)

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Joseph John Hanak

Joseph John Hanak, age 83, died at Carle Hospital in Urbana, Illinois, on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. Born March 21, 1930, in Tarrytown, New York to Slovak parents Elisabeth and John Hanak, he received degrees in chemistry from Manhattan College, the University of Detroit, and Iowa State University, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1959. He spent his childhood in Czechoslovakia, and after graduating from Iowa State he lived in Lawrenceville, New Jersey; Zurich, Switzerland; Birmingham, Michigan; Ames, Iowa; and Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. He worked from 1960 to 1984 at RCA’s David Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton New Jersey, from 1984 to 1990 at Energy Conversion Devices in Troy, Michigan, and from 1990 onwards as photovoltaic consultant and president and founder of the Apogee Corporation in Ames, Iowa. His research in materials science, photovoltaics, and water purification led to 45 patents, 85 journal articles, and numerous professional awards including the David Sarnoff gold medal award and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Symposium Award. He was an assistant scout master for the Boy Scouts of America and an active member of his local Roman Catholic parishes, including St. Ann’s in Lawrenceville, St. Thomas Aquinas in Ames and St. Patrick’s in Urbana. Survivors include his second wife, Ann Taylor Hedrich, of Urbana, Illinois, whom he married in 2001, six adult children and their spouses (Ellen Hanak Valletta and Rob Valletta of San Francisco, California; Christopher and Alessandra Hanak of Kirkland, Washington; Katherine and Tom Myers of Westminster, Maryland; Sara and Michael Gleason of Jackson, Mississippi; Philip and Stacy Hanak of Maple Shade, New Jersey; and Teresa Hanak of Cedar Park, Texas), and five grandchildren (Pia Loft of San Francisco, California; Savannah and Jackson Myers of Westminster, Maryland; and Maggie and Matthew Gleason of Jackson, Mississippi). Joe was preceded in death by his first wife, Maridale Wright and one of their seven children, Suzanne Marie Hanak. A viewing will be held from 1:00 to 2:30 PM at the Renner-Wikoff Chapel at 1900 S. Philo Road in Urbana, Illinois on Friday, June 7th, to be followed by a funeral mass at 3 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church at 708 W. Main St., Urbana, Illinois. A burial service will be held at 4:00 PM on Saturday June 8th at 310 E. 9th Street in Ames, Iowa, organized by the Stevens Memorial Chapel (515-232-5473). Relatives and friends are welcome at all of these events. Memorial contributions are welcome to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (866-AFA-8484). Special thanks to the staff of Amber Glen Alzeimer’s Special Care Center in Urbana, Illinois, where Joe happily spent his last two years.


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