Bernie E. Hanley, 84, dies

Batavia, NY — Bernie E. Hanley, 84, of Batavia, N.Y., died peacefully May 7, 2020, at the home of his daughter while under the care of Hospice and his loving family.

Mr. Hanley was born on Feb. 9, 1936, in Fulton, N.Y., a son of the late Laurence and Mary (Welch) Hanley. After graduating from Batavia High School, he went on to honorably serve his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Upon returning stateside, Mr. Hanley got involved in harness racing in the 1960s and bought his first horse to compete at Batavia Downs, a pacer named Chief Maynard (2:00.4, $138,342). He was one of the best top-class pacers in western New York at the time and found the winner’s circle many times. Mr. Hanley also raced Mac’s Miss Mary (1:55.3f, $150,794), Irish Dancer A (1:59, $117,693), Overnite Guy (2:01.3h, $64,985) and several others during his career.

Although Mr. Hanley was well known on the local harness racing circuit as an owner/trainer for many years, most would remember him (and his wife Mary Ann) as the owner of Hanley’s Restaurant, which was conveniently located directly across the street from Batavia Downs. Hanley’s was the “horseman’s hangout” after the races for decades where wins were celebrated, races were relived and many longtime friendships were formed.

Upon retirement, the Hanleys moved south to Florida and enjoyed the sun for close to 30 years. While there, Mr. Hanley was a member of the Deland Amvets Post 13 and the Deland Elks Lodge 1463. He was also a member of the Glenn S. Loomis American Legion Post 332 in Batavia.

Mr. Hanley had many friends both in and out of harness racing and will be remembered by all as a hard-working man who loved his family deeply.

Mr. Hanley is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Mary Ann (Musshafen); children, Patrick (Carol), Elsie (Greg) Lee and Dr. Greg (Angela); brother, Larry (Mary); 10 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, Mr. Hanley’s Mass of Christian Burial will take place at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to Home Care & Hospice, 26 Liberty St., Batavia, NY 14020 or at

You can share your words of comfort with Mr. Hanley’s family at

Back to Top

Share via