The Rev. Kevin Hannon was all about vanilla. One of his favorites was vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing, accompanied by Wegmans vanilla ice cream.
Longtime friend Carol Wehinger smiled as she told how her family and Hannon would hold food contests. For instance, they'd buy vanilla products from a variety of bakeries and brands, then judge them based on appearance and taste.
"We'd actually think we'd belong on the Food Network," she recalled with a laugh.
When asked to describe her friend, Wehinger's words echoed others whose lives he touched.
"He was a wonderful man," she said. "He was exceptional. He stood out."
Hannon, 60, passed away Jan. 9 of stomach cancer. He was pastor of St. Ann's Church in Manlius since 2001.
"It's such a tremendous loss for the village of Manlius," said Mayor Mark-Paul Serafin. "And our heart goes out to the parishioners and his family."
Hannon, who was known for reaching out to both children and adults, was instrumental in establishing the Fayetteville-Manlius Food Pantry, and most recently had been working with the Franciscan Sisters on founding a nursing home for elderly, infirm or disabled priests -- a pursuit at which he was making progress.
"He was a very good priest, a hard worker and he could make you laugh," said the Rev. Lester Smith of St. Malachy in Sherburne. "He was a happy person who spread a lot of joy around."
Smith and Hannon were ordained together May 10, 1975 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse by Bishop David Cunningham.
Hannon's first assignment in July 1979 led him to St. Patrick's in Binghamton as associate pastor. He then became associate pastor at St. Brigid and St. Joseph's in Syracuse.
In 1981, he was assigned to St. Mary's in Baldwinsville and a year later to Immaculate Conception in Fayetteville, followed by St. Rose of Lima in North Syracuse. In 1989, he was made pastor of St. Margaret's in Mattydale and remained there until he transferred to St. Ann's.