Catherine Hanacek

October 7, 1929 - August 1, 2016
Douglas, MI



Monday, August 8, 2016
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
St. Peter's Catholic Church
163St. Peter's Dr.
Douglas, MI


Monday, August 8, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
St. Peter's Catholic Church
163 St. Pater's Drive
Douglas, MI


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

St. Peter's Catholic Church Food Pantry
163 St. Peter's Drive
Douglas, MI

Life Story / Obituary


With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Catherine Hanacek was a blessing to everyone she met. With an unwavering faith as her constant companion, she lived to serve others in the community she called home throughout the majority of her life. Along with her true love, Catherine was a hardworking businesswoman who made such a positive impact in the lives of everyone she met. Deeply loved, she will never be forgotten.

The year 1929 is often remembered as the year that the crash of the stock market sent our nation and much of the world spiraling down into the depths of the Great Depression that October. The years that followed were anything but easy as jobs were scarce, which left countless American families without homes. It was just prior to this historic day that Raymond and Bernita (Geller) Halfmann were filled with great anticipation as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as the beauty of fall was unfolding in Fowler, Michigan. The big day finally arrived when the baby girl they named Catherine Lucille drew her first breath on October 7th. She was the second of seven children in her family and was raised alongside her siblings. The Halfmann family was deeply rooted in faith, and her mother was the organist for a local Catholic church. As a result, Catherine and her family rarely missed a service. To support their family, her father was a postmaster. As a student, Catherine attended Catholic school through the 10th grade before transferring to public school.

After graduating from high school in 1948, Catherine was eager for all that life had in store. With plans of becoming a stewardess, she went to airline school. Once she earned her wings, she was ready to travel the world, however, she received a better offer. This offer came from her sweetheart, Joe Hanacek who was a car salesman from a small town about 20 miles away called Elsie, Michigan. Rather than fly all around the world, Joe asked if she would become his wife, and Catherine agreed.

As husband and wife, Catherine and Joe went into business together, purchasing a bar in Saugatuck called the Hi-Loew Bar. They owned and operated that bar together for about three years as they then sold the bar and opened a new business, The Redwood Drive In. This was such a neat place as it was a true drive in! Their hamburgers were only made with ground sirloin and the french fries were fresh cut every day. Their root beer was always the best around, and of course it was served to you in your car in a frosty mug! Just as her mother had, Catherine served as the organist at St. Peter's Catholic Church.

Entrepreneurs at heart, Catherine and Joe sold the Redwood and bought another business, The Amity Motel, in the 1980s. It was less than a city block from their last business, and it served them well for a time. A bit later, the couple thought it was time to retire so they sold the motel and bought a farm on 126th Street just outside of Douglas. They had 80 acres there and raised both vegetables and fruit. That soon gave way to a vegetable and fruit stand down the road on M84. Obviously they weren’t all that good at retiring!

When it came to having a family, Catherine and Joe were deeply saddened to suffer many miscarriages. She did seek the advice of her priest about having a family, and although he had pointed out the option of growing their family through adoption, Catherine and Joe never felt called to adopt.

Truly beautiful on the inside and out, Catherine Hanacek was a blessing to everyone she met. She was never one to worry about the things of this world, and her strength and resilience were truly inspiring. Catherine lived a life of purpose, and she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever treasure.

Catherine L. Hanacek, of Douglas, MI, died Monday, August 1, 2016, at Grace of Douglas. Catherine’s family includes her siblings, Richard Halfmann of St. John’s, MI, Constance Halfmann of Lansing, MI, Hugh Halfmann of Jackson, MI, Thomas (Janet) Halfmann of So. Milwaukee, WI, Paul Halfmann of Howell, MI, and many nieces and nephews. Catherine was preceded in death by her husband, Joe, in 1988. A mass will be held 11:00 a.m. Monday, August 8, 2016, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 163 St. Peter’s Drive, Douglas. Burial will be in Douglas Cemetery. Friends may greet the family Monday 10-11 a.m. at the Church prior to the service.

Memorial gifts in Catherine’s name may be given to St. Peter’s Church Food Pantry.