PITTSBURGH (WV News) – One of the real estate industry’s most innovative leaders has passed away, as Pittsburgh-area native Howard Hanna died on September 25 at the age of 101.
Hanna was seen as a trendsetter in the industry, looking for new and innovative ways to promote his business as he first made it a regional, then national and now national brand.
In 1957, Mr. Hanna founded Howard Hanna Real Estate Services at the corner of Bayard and Craig streets in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. This office, his first in what would become a flagship for hundreds of others over the years, was so influential in the area that this corner of the neighborhood is now known as the Howard Hanna Way. His influence in the community extended beyond this region and touched many lives in the industry, but always started with his wife, the late Anne Freyvogel Hanna, family, agents and employees. Mr. Hanna’s flair for the personal touch is one of his most memorable qualities, with many people noticing his handwritten notes over the decades.
Prior to entering real estate, Mr. Hanna obtained two commerce degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, served in the United States Army during World War II, obtained the rank of captain upon leaving the army in 1946, held various positions. in local chambers of commerce in the area, and was executive vice president of the Builders Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cleveland.
The real estate business that was so humbly started in one office in 1957 has since grown into a national brand as the largest independently owned and operated real estate brokerage in the United States. Thanks to Mr. Hanna’s determination from day one and the leadership of his children and grandchildren over the past 40 years, the business is now a full-service real estate company with over 400 residential and commercial real estate properties, mortgage, insurance, title, and escrow service offices in 11 states; and over 13,000 sales associates and staff.
As a dedicated business leader in the real estate industry, Mr. Hanna served as the former chairman of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. A lifetime of achievement has been recognized in the multiple awards and honors Mr. Hanna has received over the years, not only for his business efforts, but also for his support of the communities in which he has lived and worked. In 2001, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh.
In 2013, the University of Pittsburgh named Mr. Hanna a Legacy Laurate, which is awarded to the university’s most accomplished graduates, and in 2019, the university awarded him the Distinguished Alumni Fellow Award. Mr. Hanna was also proud to be a member of the Cathedral of Learning Society at the University of Pittsburgh.
In May 2018, Mr. Hanna received the 26th Annual History Makers Award from the Senator John Heinz History Center for giving back to the community and helping to shape the region of western Pennsylvania. As a former Eagle Scout, in August 2021, Mr. Hanna received the first William S. Dietrich II Award, which is awarded to a former student of Scouting for distinguished public testimony of the Scout Oath and Scout Law in the profession. that he has chosen or area of effort.
Mr. Hanna’s Three Children – Howard W. “Hoddy” Hanna, III, President of Hanna Holdings, Inc .; Helen Hanna Casey, CEO of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services; and Annie Hanna Cestra, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Hanna Holdings, Inc. – joined the company in 1965 and eventually made Howard Hanna Real Estate Services a national real estate company. In addition to his three children, Mr. Hanna had 10 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren, all of whom affectionately call him “Bop-Bop”.
Now in the third generation of leaders, Mr. Hanna’s grandchildren run the business he has been so committed to building over the years and will continue their dedication to Howard Hanna Real Estate Services into the future.
Funeral arrangements are made by John A. Freyvogel Sons, 4900 Center Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Visits are 3 pm to 7 pm Tuesday, September 28 and Wednesday, September 29. The funeral is at 10 a.m. on Thursday September. 30, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland. Memorial contributions can be made to the Howard W. Hanna Jr. Scholarship Fund at the University of Pittsburgh or the Urban League of Pittsburgh-Cleveland Hanna Home Ownership Fund.