Published May 26, 2008
Atty. Don L. Hanni Jr., the hard-living criminal defense lawyer and former Mahoning County Democratic Party chairman, has been sidelined because of stroke. Several weeks ago, he was taken to the Cleveland Clinic after being felled in his home — he began feeling ill in church (no editorial comments, please!). After treatment at the clinic, he returned to the Valley and received physical therapy at Hillside Rehabilitation.
He seemed to be doing well — his telephone calls had the Hanni edge to them — until a couple of weeks ago. He was taken back to the clinic, and family members were bracing themsevles for the worse.
He returned from the clinic to St. Elizabeth Heath Center, where his weak heart and high blood pressure led to rumors of his impending death. Indeed, there was chatter in Youngstown City Hall that he had died late last week.
But, reports of Hanni's death were greatly exaggerated.
Indeed, he seemed to have made a remarkable comeback Friday — thanks to bourbon and beer.
Hanni asked his son, Mark, to find out from the doctor if he could have a beer. The doctor gave his permission, and true to form, the former party chairman not only drank beer, but also had some bourbon.
The result: His blood pressure, which was troublingly low, started to rise to normal.
An old friend who visited him at the hospital remarked that he looked and sounded like the Hanni of old.
It seems that his body, which has been fueled by booze for so long, was just going through a withdrawal.