Thomas J. Hannafin, 71, a senior advisor to Kitz Corp. USA, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, Aug. 2, following a massive heart attack.
In a message to company members and colleagues, Jim Walther, president of KITZ Corp. USA, wrote: "It is with profound sadness that we announce our dear friend and colleague Tom Hannafin passed away this morning.
Tom was dedicated to his family and a consummate professional in his work. He will be sorely missed by our organization and industry... May he rest in peace."
As editors of Valve Magazine, we had the great honor of knowing Tom Hannafin. His knowledge about the industry was profound, and he could always be depended upon to share it, whether it was to clarify some obscure fact, or to consent to an interview. During one of those interviews with Kate, he once joked, “The only thing I know in my life, is valves.”
While he probably knew more about valves than he could ever begin to share, Tom had a rich and rewarding life outside the industry as well. Colleague Darrell Lueckemeyer, VP of the Industrial Division at Kitz, explained that Tom (an avid golfer who enjoyed teaching his grandchildren to play) was in the midst of a golf game with a group of friends and had a heart attack while on the course. Medics worked on him extensively, then he was flown by helicopter to a hospital to continue life-saving efforts, unfortunately, to no avail.
Prior to his role as senior advisor, Tom worked at KITZ USA for 27 years, where he was vice president of marketing and director of the corporation from 1997 to 2008. Altogether, he served the industry for 42 years in various valve sales and marketing roles. He was actively involved on API task forces that develop valve standards used in the HPI; various MSS technical committees; and was a long-standing member of the VMA Technical Committee. Tom was on the MSS Board of Directors for 10 years and had just accepted a three-year term to serve as president of MSS.
Bill Sandler, VMA president, says: "Tom has been a great example of what makes VMA such a terrific organization. He has freely given his time and expertise for the good of the industry. Those of us who have worked with Tom agree he was a true treasure, and he will be missed."''
Certainly he will be missed by all who knew him, but his dedication to safety and quality is something industry professionals can carry forward to honor his memory.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Down Home Ranch (where the Hannafin's son, Tom, lives), located at 20250 FM 619, Elgin, TX 78621. Be sure to note the donation is in memory of Thomas J. Hannafin. Or, visit the DHR website.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tom's wife, Anne; to their five children and spouses: Thomas D. Hannafin, Meghan and Robert Blankenship, Colleen Hannafin and fiancé, Abraham Barker, Allison and Garrett Hall, Jessica and Daniel Hannafin; their eight grandchildren; and other family and friends.