Richard Allan Hansen was born September 2, 1942, to Albert and Wilhelmina “Mina” (Nadasdy) Hansen in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Rich (as he was then known) spent his formative years in Morris, Minnesota, where he grew up with three older sisters and had what he described as an idyllic childhood. He played football, basketball, and baseball, worked for his dad at Hansen Implement Company, played trombone in the marching band and sang in the chorus. He graduated from Morris High School in 1960 and became part of the inaugural freshman class at the brand new University of Minnesota, Morris, which was just a few blocks from his house. One semester he found himself seated behind Janette “Janie” Schuman in German class and he knew she was the one. He graduated from UMM in 1964 and made his way to the University of North Dakota to start his master’s degree. He wed his love on June 12, 1965, and after honeymooning in the Black Hills, Dick and Jane settled into life in Grand Forks where they survived the historic blizzard of March 1966. He graduated from UND with his master’s in mathematics in 1966 and entered the world of business computing back when a single computer encompassed an entire room. Richard’s career took them first to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where their first daughter, Melissa, was born. His work took them next to Cocoa Beach, Florida, for several weeks in the fated summer of 1969 when Apollo 11 made moon landing. Next stop: Northfield, Minnesota, and arrival of daughter Kristina, then Muscatine, Iowa, then Faribault, Minnesota where he and Janie lived from 1973 until 2019. He was a big believer in civic duty and served several years on the Faribault School Board as well as a term on Faribault City Council. He was an active member of the Sertoma Club for nearly 50 years and during that time served as president. He and Janie moved to their retirement dream home in Waconia, Minnesota, in 2019 where they enjoyed the tranquility of their home, trees, wildlife, and spending time with each other. He delighted in being the gentleman to his lady.
Richard was an avid reader and fan of history – especially World War II - and geography and traveled extensively across the country both for work and pleasure. He made a few forays into Europe – mainly Germany and Hungary – where he and Janie had special friends in Faribault’s sister city of Wurzburg and family connections in Hungary. Perhaps his most unique destination was a business trip to Cairo, Egypt. One of his favorite U.S. destinations was Bald Head Island, North Carolina, which he enjoyed with the entire family, including his granddaughters, most recently in 2015 in celebration of his 50th wedding anniversary with Janie.
Amid all the dates and facts, Richard was a man of simple tastes, good humor, and steadfast character who loved his family more than anything – he was really a big softie - and enjoyed a little adventure now and again. Not too long ago he was eagerly snow sledding down the Faribault hills with the grandchildren and putting his best foot forward in generally hilarious family games of charades. In 2021 he went on a family llama trek and hand fed the most enormous giraffe – both had him grinning from ear to ear. He truly had everyday joy.
There was also joy when “the kids” came to visit. It is tradition for his daughters and granddaughters to come to town every year in time for Independence Day. This visit usually entailed an outing to the North Morristown 4th of July celebration where he loved knocking down cans to win prizes for his girls, eating ice cream, and listening to the bluegrass music of Monroe Crossing. At dusk he’d pull out the sparklers and other assorted fireworks and the day would end with a potbanging family parade (aka spectacle) down the street. He also never missed the Minnesota State Fair, attending with Janie every year through 2019 and surviving the big slide with 7-year-old Anna in 2017. He took every opportunity to support his family by attending recitals, concerts, and 5Ks or marathons when he could or watching from afar and sending love and accolades when he couldn’t be there. There was never any doubt of his love, his care, and his pride in his family. And his beloved family will miss him beyond measure.
He is preceded in death by his parents and his beloved dog Schatzie. He is survived by Janie - the love of his life, loving daughters Melissa Hansen-Petrik (Jeff) of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Kristina Heintz (Terry) of Maple Grove, Minnesota, loving granddaughters Johanna Petrik, Ellen Petrik, and Anna Heintz, sisters Arlene Matson (Bob) of Waconia, Edith Meints of Lincoln, Nebraska, Marian Gunderson of Mora, Minnesota, nieces and nephews, and beloved granddogs Jack and Claire.
The family will hold a service at a later date to be announced.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-Robert Frost 1915
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