Cover photo for Helen Hanson's Obituary
Helen Hanson Profile Photo
1917 Helen 2015

Helen Hanson

October 19, 1917 — June 8, 2015

Helen Alberta Hanson, 97, passed away peacefully on June 8, 2015. Helen was born in Dell Rapids on October 19, 1917 to Morris M. and Cara A. (Black) Brumbaugh. Helen had a wonderful sense of humor, an incredible wit and loved to tell and listen to jokes her entire life. She graduated from Augustana College with a major in biology and 5 minors and was a member of A Cappella Choir, the Augustana Symphony (now the South Dakota Symphony), band, and cheerleading. Post graduate studies were completed at South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota. On August 11, 1945, Helen and Wendell Hanson were married at First United Methodist Church in Sioux Falls. They lived near Lackland Air Force Base in Waco, Texas then Ann Arbor, Michigan and then made Sioux Falls their permanent home. Helens teaching career began in Iowa where she also directed the band for summer concerts. At Sioux Falls Washington High School she taught Biology, English, History, Chemistry, and girls physical education. In 1966 the Argus Leader chose Helen as Citizen of the Week for her work in the community. She was also honored by Volunteers of America as Sioux Falls 1999 Mother of the Year. Helen shared her many talents in serving others, including as a regular volunteer reader to students at Hawthorne Elementary. She was active in Girl Scouts from 1931 to 1995 serving in many capacities and advanced to the highest rank, the Gold Eaglet. As Council Camp Chairman she was instrumental in the acquisition of the Wall Lake Lyon Lodge from the Axtell Lyon estate and also the purchase of the Oak Lake camp site. Helen was very active in church and community activities her entire life. For many years she directed adult and youth hand bell and vocal Choirs and was a member of Church Council, Chair of Worship committee, President of the Worship Guild, and Chair of the Altar Guild. She was a member of Sioux Falls Retired Teachers, Chapter I PEO, Grandmother Scouts, Luther Manor Auxiliary, and Elmwood Ladies Golf Club. Helen volunteered at Luther Manor and Good Samaritan Village for many years. She was a charter member of the Lioness Club. Helen loved being with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She was an active outdoors person, and enjoyed international travel, camping, bowling, and curling up in her easy chair with a good book or to watch the birds. To appease her family she made a serious attempt at golf and hunting. Helen knitted an infinite number of sweaters, blankets, booties, and tree ornaments and crafted millions of Christmas tree ornaments and table decorations. Helen was a talented musician and played several instruments and was one of the first female band directors in South Dakota. She shared her beautiful voice as a soloist at weddings, funerals, and church services. Her children have fond memories of going to bed and listening to her play the piano and sing as she practiced new songs. Helen and Wendell opened their home on a moments notice and welcomed everyone. They welcomed our friends to live at their house for months and even a couple years. Students from Ellendale Bible College were always welcome to stay on their way through town. Musicians without a dime or a friend in town, ball teams in town for a tournament, and many military personnel stayed at our home. Helen is survived by the following family who cherished her unconditional love and sharing her full life; her devoted husband of 69 years Wendell; children Doug (Von) of Newell, SD; Gail (Dave) Worth of Eagle River AK; Gary (Sandy) Sioux Falls SD; Allen (Mary), Pine River MN; and Martha (Graig) Sewell, Valley Springs SD; 8 Grandchildren, and 8 Great-Grandchildren, sisters Betty (David) Levine Kalamazoo MI; Morrise Weisse (JD) Ness, Virginia Beach, VG; Sister-in-law Mary Brand Kalamazoo MI, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, brother William Bill Brumbaugh; brother-in-law Ken & his wife Gloria; a grandson Paul H. Muller and a granddaughter Ashley E. Hanson. Celebration of life will be held at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church 4100 S Bahnson on Friday with 4:00 visitation, 5:00 service and 6:00 light meal.
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