William E. Hannay- St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Waterford

Posted on May 14, 2020 by Jennifer Mele under Genealogy, History, Stories of our Dearly Departed
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From the “Stories of our Dearly Departed” series from Kelly Grimaldi, Historian and Director of Education and Program Development for Albany Diocesan Cemeteries.

In 2019, Albany Diocesan Cemeteries launched “Stories of our Dearly Departed”, a series featuring stories and photographs of those who are buried within our 19 upstate NY cemeteries.

Our hope is that people will enjoy reading about the lives of our community members just as much as we enjoy learning about them from the families we serve and in the information we find throughout our archives. There are so many fascinating stories buried within these Sacred Grounds!


June Kosier submitted the following charming story about her father to share.

“My father, William E. Hannay, is buried in St. Joseph’s cemetery in Waterford. Dad was not raised Catholic but he always thought a lot of the nuns. The Sisters of St. Joseph who taught at St. Jude’s, Wynantskill, would have their luncheon meal in a little house across from the school.  Dad would often have Mom drop off a gallon of ice cream for their dessert.  When he saw the Sisters from St. Joseph’s Infant Home in South Troy out walking the orphans, he would buy everyone ice cream.  This is a little ironic because Dad had a hard time eating ice cream. It gave him headaches and this was supposed to be a result of his having been born with a fractured skull.

When I was in fifth grade, my teacher was Sister Scholastica.  Her favorite saint was St. Therese, the Little Flower.  For some unknown reason, one-day Dad told Mom to forego the ice cream and buy Sister a dozen red roses.  She dropped them off to me at lunchtime while I was outside on the playground.  Since Sister had gone back across the street to the classroom, I took them in to her.  She immediately started crying.  She told me that the nun who sponsored her to join the convent had died and she had asked St. Therese to send her a red rose as a sign that her sponsor had gone to heaven.  At ten, I thought this was ridiculous.  Since all dogs go to heaven, surely the good nuns must too.  Dad paid for the roses and a miracle had occurred.  The next year, when I was confirmed, I took the name of Therese as my confirmation name.  I had promised to keep this miracle a secret. Many years later, I told a priest that I often spoke to, and even after more years, I told a nurse friend who was also devoted to St. Therese along with her mother.

I believe it is okay to tell the story now after 60 years because the world needs more miracles.”

photo of William E. Hannay

William E. Hannay

Submitted by June Kosier  


Do you have a story of an ancestor and/or loved one buried in one of our cemeteries that would be interesting to research and or highlight?

We are looking for stories of those buried within the following 19 cemeteries:
St. Agnes, Menands  •  Most Holy Redeemer, Niskayuna  •  St. Anthony’s, Glenville  •  Our Lady of Angels, Colonie  •  Immaculate Conception and St. Patrick’s in Watervliet  •  Our Lady Help of Christians and Calvary in Glenmont  •  St. Agnes, Cohoes  •  St. Patrick’s, Coeymans  •  St. Jean de Baptiste, St. John’s, and St. Mary’s in Troy  •  Sts. Cyril & Method and Holy Cross in Rotterdam  •  St. Joseph’s, Waterford  •   St. John the Baptist and St. Mary’s in Schenectady  •   St. Mary’s, Coxsackie

If you have a story for us, contact Kelly at 518-350-7679 or [email protected].

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