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Manlius priest known for kindness, humor

Wehringer, who resides in North Syracuse, met Hannon through a tragic event that occurred during his tenure at St. Rose. More than 20 years ago, at 5 a.m., Hannon had to deliver the heartbreaking news that the boyfriend of Wehringer's teenage daughter Kim was killed in a house fire on Taft Road.

Hannon soon after became a close family friend, and was able to preside over more joyous occasions, such as the family's baptisms and weddings. They followed him when he switched churches, and never regretted the weekly journey to St. Ann's for his homilies -- and his humor.

"We always left feeling good about life," Wehringer said. "He tried to bring out how much God loves us and [that] we need to feel good about ourselves. He brought a certain humor to church -- a lot of times we laughed and that's always a good feeling."

Wehringer, who converted to Catholicism years ago, said she witnessed growth under his leadership; he had a zest for life and his love for Jesus overflowed.

"He was always reassuring us about how much God loves us," she said.

At each mass, Hannon would ask new visitors or parishioners to raise their hands so he could welcome them with a handshake and bottles of wine that he kept for that purpose at the base of the altar, Serafin said.

"He really made you feel like you were a part of something," he added.

Green lights in honor of Hannon, forever proud of his Irish heritage, are still seen lit in windows of homes and businesses throughout the village -- a testimony to who Hannon was, Serafin said. The Swan Pond and Gazebo Park, located across from St. Ann's Church, will continue to burn their green lights every night through March 5, Hannon's birthday. An avid gardener, Serafin said Gazebo Park would also be dedicated in his memory.

"The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it," American philosopher William James once said. That's exactly how Hannon lived his.

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