Retired Court of Common Pleas Judge, George Harold Hancher, passed away on April 11, 2021 at Butler Memorial Hospital.
Born March 5, 1938 in Ellwood City, Lawrence County, he was the son of the late Wendell Shields Hancher and Ethel Mary Cavert Hancher. He attended Ellwood City elementary school and then graduated from the military-prep school Admiral Farragut Academy in Toms River, New Jersey in 1956.
Judge Hancher was a proud alumnus of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York where he received an economics degree in 1960 and Juris Doctorate degree in 1963. He was member of the Phi Delta Theta national fraternity and made many life long-friends during his time at Cornell.
After graduation, Mr. Hancher served two years of active duty as an Officer in the U.S. Army Field Artillery. He was stationed in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Mr. Hancher returned to Lawrence County in 1966 where he practiced law with the firm of Barletta and Hancher and served as assistant district attorney under the late Thomas Andrews for the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas.
In 1970, Judge Hancher opened a private practice in Zelienople, Butler County. His office was located in the historic Bastian House, built in 1858. Mr. Hancher diligently restored the home to its original glory and it remains a pride of the Zelienople community today.
Judge Hancher had an active private practice and represented individuals and businesses across all areas of law. He assisted with the organization of the Western Butler County Authority and Zelienople Historical Society and represented the Seneca Valley School District, Butler Area Vocational Technical School, Lancaster Township, Marion Township, Franklin Township Municipal Authority, the Harmony Fire District and Ellwood City Fire Department. He was joined in practice by his wife Darla J. Hancher whom he married in 1980. George and Darla worked side-by-side to build a thriving and well-respected practice.
Mr. Hancher was appointed to serve as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County in 1996 by then Governor Thomas Ridge. He was subsequently elected to a full ten-year term in 1997. He retired from the bench in January of 2008.
Judge Hancher was extremely proud of his hard-working courtroom. He spent much of his time on the bench assigned to the criminal division where he presided over some of the county’s highest profile matters, including four capital homicide cases.
Judge Hancher was a member of several fraternal and community organizations including the American Legion Post 474, the Packard Club, and was a 33rd Degree Mason and member of the Royal Order of Jesters.
In addition to his many contributions to the community, Judge Hancher should also be remembered for his love of antique automobiles, particularly the Packard. He spent much time restoring his antique vehicles, visiting car shows and participating in car club events. He especially treasured spending time on his family’s farm in Lancaster Township where he enjoyed gardening, bird watching and daily visits with his children, grandchildren and Doberman Maggie.
Judge Hancher was an excellent chef and enjoyed cooking for his family often – with specialties such as crab cakes, chicken ala king, barbeque ribs and birthday cakes made from scratch.
Judge Hancher is survived by his loving wife, Darla J. Hancher originally of Pleasantville, Pennsylvania, his son Derek B. Hancher and wife, Sarah (Johnston) Hancher and son Brett G. Hancher and wife, Kendra (Ivol) Hancher as well as two granddaughters, Madeleine Grace Hancher, Charlotte Jayne Hancher and his grandson, Wade Wendell Hancher, all of Lancaster Township, Butler County.