Scarborough- Inga H. Hanna, 90, died on June 21, 2020, at Piper Shores. She was born Jan. 6, 1930, in Portland, to Ejnar and Helene Haugaard.
Inga was born into a close-knit community of recent immigrants from Denmark and raised in a family where education, hard work, and integrity were paramount. Her childhood years were filled with music, Danish food, and traditions as the local Danes congregated at each others’ homes or at their place of worship, St. Ansgar Lutheran Church in Portland.
Arriving in Portland schools knowing no English, Inga persevered with her usual grit and intelligence, graduating as valedictorian of Deering High School Class of 1948. She played the piano, violin, and viola, and she enjoyed practicing on the Kotzschmar organ in Portland’s City Hall auditorium and being the St. Ansgar organist at the age of 15.
Inga graduated from Simmons College in Boston with a degree in physical therapy and began work at Boston Children’s Hospital during the polio epidemic. While at Simmons, she met and married John G. Hanna, and together they had a son, Erik, and a daughter, Charlotte. After briefly living in Brookline, MA, and Coral Gables, FL, the family returned to Portland in 1959. Inga worked as a PT at Mercy Hospital and Maine Medical Center while raising her children. She was an active member in many organizations —den mother of a cub scout troop, leader of a Girl Scout troop, president of the Baxter School PTA, president of the Maine Physical Therapy Association, president of the Simmons College Club, Sunday school teacher at St. Ansgar, and officer in the World Affairs Council.
Inga loved colonial architecture and in 1959 she fulfilled a dream by purchasing an 1804 house on Ocean Avenue in Portland. Researching its history, she discovered it was, in the early 1800s, the childhood home of John Brown Russwurm, the son of a white father and a black Jamaican women, likely a slave. Russworm’s stepmother raised him in the house, and he became the first black graduate of Hebron Academy and Bowdoin College, founder of the first black-owned newspaper, and governor of a free American colony in West Africa. A highlight of Inga’s life was the day her home was designated the “John B. Russwurm” house on the National Register of Historic Places. The house's large yard was a gathering spot for Inga's children and neighborhood kids for kickball, baseball, hide-and-seek-in-the-dark, spying on Cheverus HS dance teenagers from atop the ridgepole, and other fun and adventure.
In the 1960s Inga became the first licensed female stock broker in Maine. Turned away by many brokerages, she was finally hired and worked successfully in the field, including starting a women’s investment club to educate women about money matters. She then became a securities analyst at a Portland bank. Learning that she was being paid half the salary of her male counterparts, Inga left the field to earn an MBA with a concentration in hospital administration at the University of Missouri, followed by a stint in Dallas, TX, as executive director of an innovative, graduated-care retirement community. After a return to Portland, Inga became director of the YWCA.
A zest for learning and an interest in helping families navigate their financial paths led Inga to earn a Certified Financial Planner license and to start her own business, Hanna Associates. Many lifelong friendships were made as she helped clients reach their financial goals.
In her retirement Inga lived at Piper Shores in Scarborough, where she made good friends and enjoyed clubs, committees, and activities.
Inga kept in close contact with her cousins in Denmark, and she brought the Danish culture into the lives of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren through family stories and traditional songs, foods, and celebrations. Inga’s happiest times were spent at the ocean and at annual family lake gatherings with her sisters and the extended family. She loved her children and her grandchildren, and her great-granddaughters brought her great joy. Inga had a strong, loving bond with her nieces and nephews.
Inga is survived by her sister Audrey Larson of Gig Harbor, WA, sister Marion Hopkins (and husband Bruce) of Falmouth, son Erik Hanna (and wife Madalena Macano) of South Portland, daughter Charlotte Hanna (and partner David Gaines) of Yarmouth, granddaughter Emily Hanna Pighetti (and husband Kamden Kopani) of Newton, MA, grandson Luke Hanna Pighetti (and partner Meagan McCready) of Bangor, great-granddaughters Eleanor Hanna Kopani and Acadia Hanna Kopani, and many nieces and nephews.
The family is so grateful to Inga’s care team at the Holbrook Center at Piper Shores for their wonderful care of Inga during her last few months and their embrace of her family.
At Inga’s request, no funeral will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:
Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine, PO Box 1807, Auburn, ME 04211
The Salvation Army of Portland, 297 Cumberland Ave, Portland, ME 04101
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