Joe Hanna. Photo supplied by Hanna family
Joe Hanna. Photo supplied by Hanna family Contributed

Family pays tribute to business icon Joe Hanna

JOE Hanna is being remembered as the "best boss and businessman" who gave generously with his time and money over decades in the Darling Downs.

Mr Hanna, the eldest of the 10 siblings of Hannas Toowoomba fame, passed away in Toowoomba Hospital early Saturday morning after suffering a stroke earlier this month.

His wife of 49 years, Judy Hanna, said her husband had enjoyed a "very good quality of life" in his working career and retirement.

"He's the best businessman I've ever seen, and the best man with his staff," Mrs Hanna said.

The couple met on a blind date, married six months later and had one child, Robby.

Joe Hanna, Toowoomba businessman, Hannas, passed away July 2019.
Joe Hanna, Toowoomba businessman, Hannas, passed away July 2019. Bev Lacey

Mr Hanna spent two years working with his uncle in Goondiwindi learning the retail trade before returning to the Garden City and establishing the foundations of what is now Hannas Toowoomba.

In a written tribute, Mrs Hanna said her husband, along with his brothers, built the Hannas family business into its modern emporium that would also encompass Cooreys department store in Goondiwindi.

Mr Hanna managed the store for 50 years, all the while being an active member of his communities and generously supporting groups, clubs and residents.

A well-known Rotarian, with Mrs Hanna a Rotaryanne, Mr Hanna was invested in the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, the membership of which is made up of people who have continually served their communities.

Mr Hanna was born in Lebanon in 1939, the only one of his siblings born overseas, and sailed with his parents on the last ship through the Suez Canal before World War II broke out.

It was Toowoomba and the Darling Downs which he called home, with the communities cherishing his commitment and generosity over his 80 years in the region.

"Joe could remember James St as a dirt road," Mrs Hanna said.

Mr Hanna's life will be celebrated with a funeral at St Patrick's Cathedral in Toowoomba from 11am Thursday.