John Hanna: From Teacher To Realtor, Man Lives To Serve


The philosophies John R. Hanna brings to his current life in real estate are the same he brought to his career as a coach and science teacher.

The philosophy is simple -- live to help others. Be honest and dependable. Live with integrity.


John Hanna

The farm boy from McCune, Kan. wanted to be an engineer or a doctor when he grew up.

But the athletic, soft-spoken gentleman is content with the career paths he finally chose.

A student-made plaque from the freshman basketball team of East High School in Phoenix sits beside professional real estate awards in his Beeline office at Coldwell Banker.

A recent graduate from Arizona State University in 1960, Hanna started looking for a teaching job.

The sixth-graders at Valley View Elementary School became his first pupils. He earned an annual salary of $2,400 as a first-year teacher.

After a couple of years, Hanna moved into the physical education department.

A lack of district funds in a poor section of Phoenix did not stop Hanna from designing a playground out of available materials.

He put a cable inside a garden hose to protect little hands, and strung it between two eight-foot towers.

The children would shimmy up the ship's ladders, made of oak and chain, to the top of the tower, then swing themselves across the cable, hand over hand.

As the cable built up his pupils' shoulder muscles, coach Hanna built up their confidence in other ways.

"I was firm but fair and I never used the word ‘run'," he said.

Before starting to play formal games, he would have his charges warm up by walking, running or jogging "there and back."

Anxious to play, pretty soon, the children began to run on their own.

Eventually, they outran cross country teams across the state.

During this time he also stayed on at ASU as an assistant trainer (similar to an emergency medical technician) working with coaches Frank Kush, Ned Wulk, Buddy Castillo and Bobby Winkles.

It was also during this period that Hanna met the love of his life, Lynn, at a teachers' party.

"It must have been love at first sight because I couldn't stop thinking about her and we were married less than two months later," he said as a smile lighted up his eyes.

Next, Hanna decided to pursue a master's degree in education at Utah State University.

He hated statistics and economics, never knowing how well they would help him later.

Kaiser Steel hired him out of college. Although the only thing Hanna knew about steel was dropping his dad at the front gate to work in the 1950s, he was hired as a rolling mill foreman, overseeing the making of steel ingots.

He kept the job until teaching positions opened up first in Ontario, Calif. and then in Phoenix.

With an eye toward making ends meet, Hanna started investing in small residential properties.

In 1973, convinced the time was right to make a change, Hanna became a real estate sales agent.

Lynn's parents lived in Payson. Her father, Willard Taylor, was mayor of Payson for eight years.

The couple moved to Payson in 1979.

"I learned ethics from (Willard Taylor) and I tried to pattern myself after him," Hanna said. Because the mayor didn't want to be unethical, he didn't share information he learned on the council with his son-in-law. "I was always the last to hear when a business was moving into or out of town, so there was no chance for me to contact them or their employees."

Hanna poured his life into his new career as a real estate agent. He treated his customers much the same way he treated his students and athletes.

"When someone comes to me to buy a house, in the case of young people, they are probably trusting me with every penny they probably ever made," he said. "You earn that trust. I love helping people meet their lifetime dreams and become an acquaintance they can depend on."

Hanna and Bob Flibotte purchased the franchise from Coldwell Banker.

He has served as the designated broker and an associate broker for Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty in Payson. Hanna is a member of Coldwell Banker's Presidents Elite and is one of the top 10 percent of brokers internationally since 1990.

He is a past-president, broker of the year and lifetime achievement award winner of Central Arizona Board of Realtors.

He has served on many community boards including New Beginnings Pregnancy Crisis Center and Payson Regional Medical Center.

Area children have gone to coach Hanna for advice through Pop Warner and Little League.

"A seasoned citizen says, we must look after our young people," Hanna said, who raised three sons -- John, Mark and Michael. "When adults say these kids have nothing to do, they need to consider giving of their time."

Although Hanna enjoys collecting eagle sculptures and dove hunting, he has no plans to stop working.

"I wouldn't be a good retired Realtor," said the man who "Thinks it, walks it, talks it -- even when I have a week off."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.