Benet G. Hanlon, ex-priest, started soup kitchen

May 26, 1992

A Mass of Christian burial for Benet Gary Hanlon, a former priest who founded the Beans and Bread soup kitchen and the Homeless Outreach Program in Fells Point, will be offered at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Michael the Archangel Church, Wolfe and Lombard streets.

Mr. Hanlon, who was 51, died of pneumonia Sunday at his home on Fleet Street. He had been ill for some time.

In January 1981, then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer named Mr. Hanlon "Best of the Best for 1980" -- the highest recognition in the Baltimore's Best Awards -- for Mr. Hanlon's work with the poor at Beans and Bread, the soup kitchen on Aliceanna Street that he had opened in May 1977.

Mr. Hanlon began the meal program for Baltimore's street people without any government, church or business sponsorship -- although churches, businesses and individuals made regular contributions.

In a 1980 interview, he told a reporter that he had left teaching because "I wanted to work in the inner city. To me, the message of the Hebrew prophets, and of Jesus, is to get involved where the misery is."

Mr. Hanlon was born June 19, 1940, in Scottsbluff, Neb. He received a bachelor's degree from St. Benedict's College in Atchinson, Kan., and a master's degree from Catholic University in Washington.

Ordained a Benedictine monk in June 1967, Mr. Hanlon came to Baltimore in the early 1970s and taught at the College of Notre Dame from August 1973 through July 1975.

He left the priesthood in 1982. Since 1985, he was employed as a research analyst at Electronic Data Systems in Washington.

Besides his work with the poor, Mr. Hanlon was known for his work in local theater.

He was an actor and assistant director with the Vagabond Theater and a singer in the Annapolis Chorale.

Mr. Hanlon is survived by his parents, Thelma and Gerald Hanlon of Scottsbluff, Neb.; three sisters, Karen Scharosch of Salem, Ore., Suella Hanlon of Long Beach, Calif., and Marcia Costello of St. Louis; three brothers, Kevin Hanlon of Portland, Ore., Gene Hanlon of Lincoln, Neb., and Edwin Hanlon of Chicago; and 12 nieces and nephews.

The family suggested memorial donations to Beans and Bread, 402 S. Bond St., Baltimore 21231, or to the Annapolis Chorale, P.O. Box. 4083, Annapolis 21403.

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