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Published: Wednesday, 6/3/2009

Educator was active in church, Boy Scouts

BOWLING GREEN - William D. Hann, 80, a microbiologist who taught at Bowling Green State University and a leader in Boy Scout groups, died of lung cancer Sunday in his home.

He retired in 1992 as an associate professor after 25 years in the BGSU department of biological sciences. He helped begin programs in medical technology and blood banking.

"He turned out many, many graduates in medical technology and also guided many PhD students through," said Art Brecher, whose biochemistry courses Mr. Hann's medical technology students had to take.

"He had a commitment to teaching, and he had a commitment to people," Professor Brecher said. "He was inclusive rather than exclusive."

Questions were central to Mr. Hann's teaching - formulating them and finding the answers, even as they raised more questions.

"His primary approach was, 'What is the question you are asking?'•" his wife, Emmy, said.

Students were expected to keep asking.

"If you ask a question, that leads to an answer, which leads to another question, until the students come up to the ultimate answer of their own volition, instead of having it spoon-fed to them," son Randy said.

Mr. Hann received a bachelor's degree from Wilson Teachers College in Washington, where he grew up. He received master's and doctoral degrees from the George Washington University school of medicine.

He was a Boy Scout in his youth. He was a former scoutmaster of Troop 345 and was chairman of the Wood District. He received the Scout's Silver Beaver Award and the Lutheran Church's Lamb Award for his work.

He was immediate past president of the National Lutheran Association on Scouting. He donned his uniform for the Wood District appreciation dinner in April and made an impassioned speech on recognizing the religious aspect to scouting, his wife said.

He was president in the 1970s of the Northwest Ohio Lung Association and was a former treasurer of the state lung association.

He was a stateside military veteran of the Korean War. He was in the National Guard and the Army Reserves and became a colonel in the medical corps.

In recent years, he was a predawn volunteer at the annual Black Swamp Arts Festival.

He looked forward to his morning newspaper and liked reading and discussing the opinion columnists.

Surviving are his wife, Emma Jones Hann, whom he married April 11, 1953; sons, Alexander and Randolph Hann; daughters, Susan Cross and Christine Hann, and three grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 3 p.m.-8 p.m. today in the Deck-Hanneman Funeral Home, Bowling Green. A celebration of life service will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Bowling Green, where he was a member.

The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio; Black Swamp Arts Festival, or the Erie Shores Council of Boy Scouts of America, Toledo.

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