Cele Ferner Hahn
March 21, 1942 - April 11, 2014
Cele Ferner Hahn passed away after a long illness on April 11, 2014 at Amerimed Hospital in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She had lived in Mexico since 2002. She leaves her husband of 48 years Curt Hahn of Hadley and Westfield (MA), daughter Thea (Cathy) of Concord (MA), son Christopher of Arlington (MA), five grandchildren, Aidan, Mairead, Logan. Rudy, and Carli, brother Gene Ferner of Kansas City (MO), daughter-in-law Jen (Rauchle) Hahn, son-in-law Jonathan Campbell and brother-in-law Robert of Vero Beach, Florida.
Born in Sioux City, IA, to Arnold and Celia Ferner on March 21, 1942, Cele attended public schools in Iowa and graduated in 1964 with a degree in journalism from the University of Iowa, where she was editor of the Daily Iowan. Cele worked for several newspapers including the Miami Herald, the Huntington (WV) Advertiser, The Sioux City (IA) Journal and the Albany Times Knickerbocker News in New York. When living in Birmingham (MI) Cele was in the public relations department as assistant to the president of the Cranbrook Institutions.
For twenty years, Cele and her husband Curt built, owned and operated a 50,000-watt radio station WNNZ in Springfield (MA). During that time Cele was named one of the 100 most important talk show hosts in America by the national talk radio magazine “Talkers”.Cele entered the political arena in 1994, serving four terms as a Republican State Representative from Westfield (MA) before announcing in March 2002 that she would not seek re-election.
At the State House she served on several committees including the Long-Term Debt and Capital Expenditures, the Insurance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.
In 1999 she was named Legislator of the Year for Mental Health and Immigration Services. Cele was named Conservationist of the Year 2000 by the Hampden Conservation District.
She was a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s national task force on Commerce and Economic Development and served as Vice President of the National Order of Women Legislators in 1999.
Cele was the first woman President of the Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce and a founding member of the Westfield (MA) chapter of Zonta. She was a corporator of the Westfield Boys and Girls Club and was active in several other community organizations. Cele was a member of Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) in Springfield, MA, and the Church of the Atonement in Westfield.
Cele and husband Curt have lived in Mexico since retiring in 2002, living first in San Miguel Allende before moving to San Francisco (San Pancho), Nayarit on the Pacific coast, where Cele volunteered as librarian at EntreAmigos, the local community resource center for children and adults of the pueblo.
Cele was an avid reader, enjoyed cooking, traveling and driving her TR-6.
A memorial gathering was held at her home in Mexico and at Christ Church Cathedral in Springfield, MA.
Cele and the family request that memorial donations be made in her name to your local chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America or to the local charity of your preference.
The following is Cele’s original home page introduction to this site.
All I ever wanted to do was write.
From the time I was in junior high I wanted to write. Not books … I wanted to write news. I even tried to assemble my own small printing press with a childhood Christmas present one year.
And write I did. I started in high school as editor of the East High School paper in Sioux City, Iowa. I wrote in college, at the State University of Iowa, where I majored in journalism (B.A. 1964) and was city editor for The Daily Iowan.
Finally, real newspapers … the Sioux City Journal for a short time, The Miami Herald for longer. Papers in Huntington WV and Albany NY. There were other jobs, too, in public relations in New Jersey and Michigan, in radio stations in Massachusetts … but I was always writing.
Then a real career change. I went into politics and was a Massachusetts State Representative for eight years. Again, I kept writing … a column a week for the Westfield Evening News.
Those columns appear here, along with my new, three year old blog, and a few photos from along the way. Enjoy!