Joe Currie Hanna, longtime member of the Texas House of Representatives, son of Roy Monroe Hanna and Winnie Jo (Currie) Hanna, was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, on May19, 1920. Joe Hanna had two siblings, Mary Ella and Roy Ann. The family relocated to Wichita Falls, Texas, and he graduated from Wichita Falls High School before he studied at John Tarleton Agricultural College (now Tarleton State University). He later transferred to the University of Texas at Austin where he entered pre-law. During World War II Hanna enlisted in the United States Navy and served as an aircraft carrier fighter pilot in the North Atlantic. With the rank of lieutenant senior grade, he later commanded the San Luis Obispo Naval Air Station before his honorable discharge in 1945.
After the war, Hanna lived in Breckenridge, Texas, in Stephens County. He became the owner of Stephens County Abstract Company and operated the business for twenty-five years. He remained very active in business and civic affairs as an appraiser, a licensed real estate broker, and a dealer in oil and gas leases. Hanna was a consultant for the Independent Oil and Gas Producers of Texas as well as a director of the First Federal Savings and Loan. He was also a member and president of the Breckenridge Independent School District board. Hanna was a member of the Lions Club for fifty-seven years. He was named Breckenridge Citizen of the Year in 1993 and received the Hats Off Award from the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association in 1984.
Hanna was a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives for more than a decade and served from 1971 until 1985. He represented at various times Eastland, Palo Pinto, Stephens, Montague, Jack, and other counties. During that time he chaired the Energy Resources Committee (1975–81) and the Energy Committee (1983). Hanna was also chairman of the Southwest Regional Energy Council. Texas Monthly sarcastically named Hanna one of its “Furniture” legislators in Texas for 1973 and awarded him the special “Fiscal Responsibility Stops at the Wellhead” Award in its Best and Worst Legislators list in 1979.
After his retirement from politics, Hanna was active in ranching in Stephens County. He was a Methodist and married Martha Elizabeth (Betty) Elliott on February 7, 1942, in Bryan County, Oklahoma. They had three children—one daughter and two sons. Hanna lived in Wichita Falls and Breckenridge during his life and died on July 26, 2003, in Breckenridge. He is buried in the Breckenridge Cemetery in Stephens County.