Constantine (Gus) James Hanges, age 92, passed away on December 25, 2019. Born to Greek immigrants, Dimitrios Constantine and Athena (Petropoulos) Hanges in Oklahoma City, OK on April 12, 1927. The family name, Hanges, is an Elis Island corruption of the Greek surname, Xatzis, which means “pilgrim,” usually applied to those who have made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Gus was preceded in death by his parents, and his brothers Thomas (Athanasios), George (Yiorgos), and his namesake brother, Constantine, who died in infancy. Gus’ personal pilgrimage through life included a foiled underage attempt to join the military in 1943, followed by alternative service as a civilian Mechanic Trainee for the Army Air Force at Tinker Army Air Field near Oklahoma City. Once of age, Gus enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served on the aircraft carrier USS Randolph from May 1945 until August 1946. He apparently returned to Tinker Field as a Junior Electrician during the same time the famous Enola Gay was overhauled there in July 1946 for service in post-war nuclear testing at the Bikini Atoll—an overhaul in which Gus had a small part. Using the GI Bill, Gus enrolled in Anderson College, Anderson IN, in 1947. Here he met and married Betty Ann Wendt of Middletown OH in 1951. Completing his BA in History and English, and a year of seminary, Gus and Betty bought their first house and welcomed their first son, James Constantine (1954). After graduation, from 1954 to 1956, the couple moved 11 times between Indiana, Southern Ohio, and Oklahoma City. While working at his father’s diner, Gus also earned his teaching credentials at Oklahoma City University. Gus and Betty returned to Ohio in 1955, where Gus began teaching English in the Fairfield Local School District. Once back in Ohio, on the advice of Betty’s father (the late Middletown builder Walter Wendt), the couple purchased the Resor School house in Fairfield in 1956, and under his father-in-law’s guidance, Gus began his years-long remodeling project to bring the structure of the school house to its current configuration, one that uniquely preserves the original windows, steeple, and school bell. In 1957 Gus and Betty welcomed their second son into the family, Walter (Butch) Paul Hanges. As Gus progressed through his 30-year education career in the Fairfield Schools, he became one of the early pioneers of special education in the state of Ohio, serving from 1959-1967 as the Teacher/Coordinator for special education and work-study for Fairfield and Butler County. From 1967 to 1971 he served as Supervisor of Special Education, Butler County Schools. From 1971 to 1975 he served as Coordinator of Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title III Special Education Program Development for the state of Ohio. From 1975 to 1977 Gus worked at the national level as Coordinator of the Area Learning Resource Center that provided resources in media, materials, and educational technology. He took the role of Principal, Butler County Early Childhood Services from 1977 to 1981, and from 1981 to 1983 he served as the Coordinator of Residential Services for Adult Handicapped. Gus retired in 1983. Gus and Betty continued to live in and remodel their beloved school house, at times along with various configurations of children and grandchildren, until moving to the Otterbein Senior Living Center in September 2018. Gus is survived by his wife, Betty, by his sister Patricia (Tula) Rigler, his sons, Jim (Neila) Hanges and Butch Hanges of Walker MI, grandchildren, Kara, Travis, Katrina, Kyle, Constance, Jordan, and Brooke, and great-grandchildren, Skyler, Alexander, Lyla, Garrett, Emma, Abby, Max, Gram, and Brady, along with 5 nephews and 3 nieces. Visitation will be held on Friday, January 3, 2020 from 10:00am to 12:00pm at Avance Funeral Home, 4976 Winton Road, Fairfield, OH 45014. Funeral services, officiated by Rev. Dr. Dale French, will follow immediately at the funeral home and conclude at the Woodside Cemetery & Arboretum, 1401 S. Woodside Blvd, Middletown, OH 45044. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to the Eaton Road Church of God, 2000 Eaton Rd., Hamilton, OH 45013.
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