Roy Lewis Hafner, a long time South Bend resident, passed away on Wednesday, January 19, 2022. He was 99 years old. Mr. Hafner was born on June 3, 1922 to Norman and Irma (Gleckner) Hafner in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. On May 30, 1947, he married Mary Lou Thomasma in Bloomington, Indiana. Mary was the love of his life. His beloved wife of 50 years and 9 months preceded him in death.
Roy is survived by his daughter, Tondra Jill Hafner of Granger, IN; his brother, David Hafner of Mishawaka, IN; and several nieces and nephews. Preceding him in death are siblings: Robert Charles, JoAnn, Norma Lou, and Eleanor Hafner.
Roy graduated from South Bend Central High School and Indiana University with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. While a student-athlete at Central, he was the recipient of the Paul Gilbert Most Valuable Player, Dr. Nicholas Carter and Kiwanis Football Awards. Roy also played on John Wooden’s basketball team. During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in the infantry and military police. He was a member of DAV Chapter 19.
When injuries and World War II ended his athletic career, he resorted to coaching. He liked working with young people, and his quick smile and unassuming manner made it easy for them to build a relationship that lasted beyond their school years. Roy was a teacher-coach in the Indianapolis school system. He then moved to Muskegon, Michigan, where he was employed by the Orchard View school system and later became superintendent of the Beech school system. Roy moved back to the South Bend area for a 27-year career with the South Bend Community School Corporation and served nine years as a teacher-coach at Riley High School, three years as a principal of Central Junior-Senior High School and 15 years as an administrator at LaSalle High School, 12 years as principal.
His membership in professional organizations includes the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Phi Epsilon Kappa, National Education Association and the Indiana Association of Jr. and Sr. High School Principals. During his professional career, Roy served as president of the Northern Indiana Athletic Conference District II Curriculum Representative for the Indiana Secondary School Administrators and was a member of teams that evaluated state secondary schools. Roy was presented the Key to the City by Mayor Roger Parent. He was the recipient of the Daughters of the American Revolution Medal and authored an article for the National Journal of Health, Physical Education and Recreation titled “More than Victory”—a guide and philosophy for those coaching sports.
During his retirement, Mary and Roy traveled extensively. They strongly supported minority causes, enjoyed the friendship of people from all walks of life. He was an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers and the Montreal Canadiens. He was forever grateful to his parents and also felt very fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve his community. Roy was a member of the St. Thérèse, Little Flower Catholic Church and served on the finance committee and as an usher for many years.
Funeral services for Roy will be held at 1:00pm on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at Palmer Funeral Home—Hickey Chapel, 17131 Cleveland Road, South Bend, IN. Rev. Julius Okojie, from St. Thérèse, Little Flower Catholic Church, will officiate. Friends may visit with the family from 12:00-1:00pm on Tuesday at the funeral home prior to the service. Burial will take place privately at Highland Cemetery in South Bend.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hope Rescue Mission, 432 S. Lafayette Blvd, South Bend, IN 46601; or to St. Thérèse Little Flower Catholic Church, 54191 N. Ironwood Road, South Bend, IN 46635.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com
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