Martin “Charlie” Hanley — a.k.a. Bump, Jolly Chollie, Dad, “B”, Granpa — passed into the next phase of his journey on May 8, 2021, some 15 years after receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.
Martin Hanley chose the nickname “Charlie” at a young age. He was born in Cortland, New York, in 1937, and lost his father, Ray, at the age of 5. He grew up in Vestal, New York, outside of Binghamton, with his intrepid mother, Grace, and industrious older brother, Robert.
He was proud of starting Vestal Central High School’s first riflery/target-shooting club and won awards in competition. He was accepted at Harvard, but chose instead Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, where he founded Hamilton’s outing club, met and wooed his eventual bride (of 62 years), Jane Crouch, and graduated in 1959.
Charlie and Jane Hanley raised a son and daughter, Terry and Jennifer, and more recently four grandchildren, William and Abigail Hanley, and Finn and Erin Kate Hanley McKitterick.
Hanley built things with his hands and with a flair for engineering innovative, quirky, and useful items and designs: one of his favorite college adventures was building a housetruck with a couple college buddies and driving out West with them one summer.
In 1957, as a 20-year old entrepreneur, he bought a large lot in Bomoseen and built Bomoseen Golfland. He and Jane ran this beautiful family fun destination for nine years; people still remember the snack bar treats, the double-deck driving range, and the humorous radio ads they performed.
During the winter months, Hanley started out at the food concession at the fledgling Killington Ski Area, and worked his way up to assistant vice-president. In 1963, he invented the “ticket wicket,” a thin piece of wire used to attach ski tickets to skiers’ clothing, which became the ski industry standard for decades.
He designed and built two houses; most notably, a giant log cabin in Killington, looking out at a stunning mountain vista centered on the ski area — his ultimate happy place. At the center of the colossal living room, he designed a tremendous stone fireplace that appears to be missing a chimney that would impede the view from the living area; instead, he piped the smoke out under the floor to a chimney behind a nearby wall.
He left the corporate world in 1968 in order to raise his kids, and “on the side” he created Environments, Inc., a land development and consulting business through which he created thoughtful and innovative residential neighborhoods. When Act 250 came along, Hanley painstakingly learned the complexities of the regulations and requirements and for decades helped clients design and build their dream homes to fit the laws while never compromising on aesthetics — all in the context of stewardship. One of his enduring logos announced, “Creator, God – Curator, Environments Inc.” This reflected his deep spiritual communion with the natural world and his sense of sacred responsibility as a caretaker for the land.
Hanley said many times that he believed the most important “development” he ever worked on was his family, and he demonstrated this in the way he loved his partner in life, shaped their children, and held their grandchildren — constantly seeing and pointing out to us the best version of who we are and can be. His unconditional love and support for all has already impacted generations, and even though he leaves buildings, housing developments, inventions, and business transactions far and wide, his steadfast love and care for his family is the legacy he most desired.
Hanley was a member of three churches over his lifetime, Castleton Federated, Sherburne United Church of Christ, and finally Grace Congregational UCC in Rutland. He served on various boards and committees, and actively worked his faith into his daily doings, with Spirit-adventures far too numerous to tell on this page!
A time of remembrance, prayer, song, and spoken words has been scheduled for Sunday, June 27, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. at Grace Congregational Church; please join us in the large sanctuary, with masks and appropriate distance, and for the reception afterward. Also, a memorial celebration is planned for a family gathering next summer, 2022.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Grace Congregational United Church of Christ in Rutland and Sherburne United Church of Christ in Killington.
“We will never forget you, Dad/Granpa/B/Charlie, and we will always give thanks to God for your astounding life and enduring love,” the family stated.