Wayne Roger Hanson, 89, passed away on October 31, 2017 at his home in Kearney, with his wife and children by his side. He was born on July 6, 1928, in Rapid City, South Dakota, to Gaylord and Etta (Pullen) Hanson.
As a native of South Dakota, Wayne graduated from Rapid City High School in 1946. His pursuit of higher education was put on hold for a year while he served in the U. S. Marine Corps, but Wayne later graduated from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. In the year following graduation, he was recalled into the service as a U.S. Army combat infantry officer in Korea. His military honors include the Korean Service Medal with three bronze battle stars, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Medal, and the WWII Victory Medal. He completed his military career as a Captain in the Army National Guard in 1963.
During his college years, Wayne also pursued other interests. He was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and several choral groups. It was during the practice with the Strollers that he met the love of his life, Beverly. They were married December 31, 1950, and later became parents of four children.
Wayne began his career in the insurance industry in 1953 as an Agent and quickly moved up the progression of positions in several insurance companies. In 1967, he accepted a position with Pioneer Mutual Life Insurance Company where he continued his career, serving on, and chairing several state and national insurance association boards and committees, obtaining various awards and accolades, and attending Presidential White House Briefings regarding the insurance industry. He put all of that aside on August 1, 1988, with a retirement farewell from the company he served for over 20 years.
After his retirement, he and Beverly settled into their northern Minnesota lake home where he acquired his real-estate license and enjoyed canoeing, fishing, hunting, reading, and just being. Once the thermometer stretched to 60 below, they headed for warmer climes in Bella Vista, Ark., in July of 1998. There, he once again became involved in church activities, choir, part-time work at Vacation Rentals and later an “Executive” Wal-Mart greeter as the welcoming person for Wal-Mart employees coming in for corporate training.
Throughout Wayne’s life, service to God, his country and his community were very important to him. He participated in church choir, church men’s clubs, taught Sunday School, and served on several church committees including presidency of the congregation at Olivet Lutheran Church. He was a member of the VFW and American Legion. He was a 32nd degree Mason, Scottish Rite, and Shriner, with participation in the El Zagal Oriental Band. Wayne also was active in the Lions Club and served as president. Wayne’s most humbling accomplishment was the establishment of AA meetings in Bella Vista, Ark. The group began with two others in the basement of a church. Their passion and dedication to the Program evolved into several meeting times with 60 attendees and growing. After moving to Kearney, Wayne continued his passion with the local AA group and prayed for their continued success every day. He lived and believed in “One day at a time.” This December, he would have celebrated 34 years of sobriety.
Wayne wore many hats during his life, but the most important was that of husband, father, and follower of Christ. His devotion to God was palpable, and the belief in Grace immeasurable. He believed in the strength of family and loved his wife dearly. He was deeply proud of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, they all brought him so much joy and laughter. His little tidbits of imparted wisdom to them will always resonate: “This too shall pass”, “Don’t trouble trouble until trouble troubles you”, and “when in doubt, back up 5 yards and punt”, but none of it without prayer first. And through all he dealt with, especially towards the end, he would reflect at the end of the day that “this has been a good day.”
Wayne is preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Don and his wife, Marty; his nephew, Larry; his brother, Clint and his wife, Gladys; and his nephew, Dick.
Wayne is survived by his wife, Beverly, of 66 years; children, Jeff (Barb) Hanson, Sharon (Dave) Drechsler, Kyle (Joan) Hanson, and Karen (Dick) Fisher; grandkids, Christine (Jeff), Melissa (Ryan), Ashley (Paul), Lexi, Briana (Ben), Ben (Lacole), Katlyn (Robert), and Erika; great-grandkids, Jamison, Dylan, Jentz, Preston, Drexler, Taylor, Hadley, Ilyana, Sella, Brenna, Noah, Devon and Logan.
Memorial Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, November 11, 2017 at First United Methodist Church of Kearney, with Pastor Sherry Oxandale officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children – Twin Cities.
Our Sincere Condolences
To the Hanson Family:
With deepest sympathy for the family. We are so very sorry to hear about Wayne. Bev, I know you will miss him so very very much, and we will be praying for you and your family. Memories of what a wonderful man he was and all the wonderful times you have had together, will hopefully in time help make your days a little better.
Ralph and my memories of him were when we traveled to Ark. with mom and dad to visit you. It was a great time. I wish we could have seen more of you, but the older we get the less traveling we do.
We will be thinking of you and are very sorry we will not be able to make the funeral.
God Bless all of you.
Love, Ralph and Marlys
Wayne hired me at PML in 1977. It was my first job out of college. Having retired in 2013 I’ve often reflected on my time with Wayne as my boss. But boss isn’t the right word to describe him. Leader is a much better term. He truly cared for those he worked with and offered both praise and guidance as needed. What a great role model for a young professional to learn from. Most of my favorite work memories are from the years at PML.
Our condolences to Bev and family. May peace be with you.
Jim & Shirley Sorensen
Dear Beverly, Jeff, Sharon, Kyle, Karen and families:
Some of my happiest memories have to be time spent at the Hanson house in Fargo. Wayne was a wonderfully kind man, and the thing you knew first and foremost is he loved his family and his God.
I am thinking of all of you at this time.
Peace and Love, Linda Schumacher