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Fred Hannahs - Class Of 1939

Fred Charles Hannahs, III who served on the Tiburon Fire Protection District board for more than four decades and was a member of the first Tiburon Town Council, died May 16, 2010 of pancreatic cancer.  He was 89.

Mr. Hannahs was born December 3, 1920 in Kenosha, WI.  He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Cornell University in 1944.  He trained pilots to fly bombers during World War II as part of the Western Flying Training Command.  After the war, he returned to school and graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and eventually settled in Tiburon in 1956.

Mr. Hannahs was first elected to the fire protection board in 1959 and served until 1964.  He took a brief hiatus when he was elected to a 2-year term on the Tiburon Town Council after the town incorporated in 1964.

He wasn't reelected, and he rejoined the fire board in 1966.  Between 1966 and 2007 he stayed on the board without facing a challenger.

"The Achilles' heel of special districts is that they tend to become private clubs," Mr. Hannahs told the Independent Journal in 2007, when he again won reelection. "Things run more efficiently if the staff knows somebody is looking over their shoulder."

He also served on the Tiburon Sanitary District No. 5 Board of Directors from 1999 until 2007, was on the county's grand jury in 1996 and ran for the school board in the 1970s.

"I ran for the school board and got licked," Mr. Hannahs told the Independent Journal. "I got cut to pieces by the Reed school moms' club."

Mr. Hannahs was a retired stockbroker who found time to be a Tiburon volunteer firefighter, a member of the Marin Rod and Gun Club, the Sierra Club and Audubon Society. He was also involved in the Boy Scouts and Little League and was active in civil rights causes.

Rich Pearce, Tiburon's fire chief, said Mr. Hannahs' legacy runs deep.

"His fingerprints are all over the Tiburon Fire Department. From being a volunteer firefighter, to being on the board for such a long period, he left his mark. He also had seen it all, so he had a calm and coolness that is rare to see on public boards," he said.

Pearce said Mr. Hannahs was always passionate about the department.  "He always had an opinion and he was usually right," Pearce said.

He is survived by two sons, Scott Thiers Hannahs of Tallahassee, FL and Todd Hannahs of Atascadero, CA, and four grandchildren.


Mr. Hannahs' wife, Eleanore Casey Schmitz Hannahs, died in 2008.  A daughter, Kerry, died in 1991.

Donations in his memory may be sent to the Cedars of Marin (P.O. Box 947, Ross, CA 94957), a care center for people with developmental disabilities.

A public remembrance is pending.