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Changes aside, it’s still the family business

Legacy of town’s third-oldest business continues

News editor

What’s in a name?

When “Hannaford Abstract and Title” came off the building at 222 E. Main St. in Marion and the logo and name of the business’s new owners, Security 1st Title, went on, it was still the family business for Roger Hannaford III.

When the building recently was sold and the name Hannaford came off the title, it didn’t change Hannaford’s perspective one bit.

“Surprisingly, I’m not as emotionally distraught as I thought,” Hannaford said. “It’s a little touching how the legacy is, I wouldn’t call it ending, but moving in a different direction.

“Change is good. I want to continue with this being the third-oldest business in Marion.”

Ownership isn’t something you give up just because the name changes, Hannaford said, and that maxim effortlessly weaves itself throughout his conversation.

“Being associated with a larger title company like Security 1st Title will help us move into the future,” he said. “We want to constantly raise the bar and get better.”

It’s not surprising for a man whose family lineage in the firm stretches back to a day in 1871 when E.S. “Ed” Hannaford joined E.R. Trenner in his new abstract and title business.

He passed his interest in the business to nephew Roger W. Hannaford when he retired in 1927. When Roger died in 1949, his wife Norma stepped in. She took full ownership of the business in 1951, with attorney Dean Batt becoming a partner in 1952.

Norma’s son, Roger “Bud” Hannaford, joined the business in 1962, and Roger Hannaford III came on board in 1980.

“I knew eventually I’d be back, Hannaford said. “I went off to college, did my thing there, and came back.”

Grandmother Norma was his tutor.

“She taught me an awfully lot about it,” Hannaford said. “It was almost crazy how detailed it had to be, and she pounded that into me. I worked side by side with her for almost 10 years.”

While Norma eventually handed over the reins to Bud, she remained active in the business until 2005, the year she turned 100.

There was no greater joy for Hannaford than working with and living near his father until Bud’s death from cancer in 2011.

“The opportunity to be with your dad every day of the week is unusual, and we enjoyed each other so much,” Hannaford said. “I’d see him every day, we’d go down together on Saturday to have coffee, I’d see him in church every Sunday. He was great to hang around with, great to learn from, and we had a lot of fun together. My only regret is that he didn’t enjoy playing golf well enough that we could go out and play together, but we did everything else together.”

Hannaford plans to continue with the company for several more years to ensure the business is positioned for the future.

“We’re all replaceable,” he said. “If you think you’re not, walk out to the cemetery. We’ve replaced all those people. I’m smart enough to know you can’t stand pat. You’ve got to be moving forward. One hundred years from now, I still want a title company on Main St. I’m doing the best I can right now to make that happen.”

And, if it does, the legacy of one of Marion’s oldest family businesses will have endured, Hannaford said.

“I think Grandma and Dad and all who’ve gone before me would think we’re doing the right thing,” he said. “Even though it doesn’t have the Hannaford name on it, it needs to continue and it’s in good hands.”

Last modified March 9, 2018

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