Gordon HansenGordon H Hansen of Jamestown, ND and Sun Lakes, AZ, passed away peacefully on April 5th in St Paul, MN.
Gordon H Hansen of Jamestown, ND and Sun Lakes, AZ, passed away peacefully on April 5th in St Paul, MN. Gordon was born on July 5, 1922 in Jamestown. His parents, who preceded him in death, were Eda E. (Dahl) and Byron G. Hansen. He also was preceded in death by his aunt, Clara A. Dahl. He graduated from Jamestown High School in 1940 and attended Jamestown College for two years. He transferred to North Dakota State University to join ROTC but was called into active duty in the Air Corps and WWII after two quarters. He joined Alpha Tau Omega fraternity while at NDSU. During high school, Gordon was involved in chorus, band, and served as Master Councillor of DeMolay; took piano and organ lessons, and rode the family horses with his father, Byron, and his bride-to-be, Charlotte Helgeson. He was great friends with a group, to which Charlotte belonged, who called themselves The Harpies.
Charlotte and Gordon were married on October 31, 1945 about a year after Charlotte graduated from the University of Minnesota, with a BS in Medical Technology and graduate work in X-ray Technology, and while Gordon was still in the service. After completing military duty, Gordon and Charlotte moved to Washington, DC where Gordon completed a BA degree in Business Administration in the School of Government at George Washington University. Their daughter, Jo-Ida C. Hansen, PhD, was born on October 2, 1947; after Gordon’s graduation in December, the family moved from Washington, DC back to Jamestown, where Gordon joined the family owned business, The Jamestown Sun, first working in advertising and later as publisher of the Sun and president of Hansen Brothers, Inc. During his time as publisher, the Sun and its journalists and photographers received many awards from the National Publishers Association and from the National Food Writers Association. He and Charlotte sold The Jamestown Sun in 1988 and he retired as publisher in December of 1991.
Gordon was deeply invested in community service, fraternal, educational, and religious activities. He was member and Worshipful Master of the Jamestown Masonic Lodge. He also was Illustrious Master of Adoniram Council No. 3; Emminent Commander of Wi Ha Ha Commandery, High Priest of No. 4, Red Cross of Constantine, and a member of the Knights of theYork Cross of Honor, Order of Eastern Star, Scottish Rite Valley, El Zagel (ND) and El Zaribah (AZ) Shriners, Royal Order of Jesters, and the Shrine Clowns. Gordon served as the Grand Master of the North Dakota Masonic Lodge, as Potentate of the El Zagal Shrine Temple, and as Attendant General of the North Dakota Red Cross of Constantine. He also served as Jamestown DeMolay Dad (receiving the DeMolay Dad of the Year award twice), as a member of the DeMolay Supreme Council, State DeMolay Dad, and chairman of the DeMolay Foundation. Awards from DeMolay included Representative DeMolay, Chevalier, and Order of Leather Apron. Gordon was selected as Jamestown Citizen of the Year in 1995 and received the Greater North Dakota Civic Leadership Award in 1996.
His many civic activities included the Chamber of Commerce, United Fund Board, Salvation Army Board, Civic Music Board, American Legion, Elks, Lions Club, and chair of the American Foreign Exchange Student Committee. Gordon always believed in the positive influence of Jamestown College on the city of Jamestown and served as a college Trustee, Trustee Emeritus, president of the Jamestown College Overseerers and a member of the North Dakota Independent College Foundation. In 1997, Gordon and Charlotte were inducted into the College Hall of Fame and in 2010 they received honorary doctorates from Jamestown College in recognition of their long service and commitment to the college. Gordon was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Jamestown and the Sun Lakes Methodist Church in AZ. He served on various church committees, the Administration Board, the Trustees, and as a Lay Leader.
Two of Gordon’s joys in life were music and dancing. He belonged to the Methodist choirs in Jamestown and Sun Lakes, was a 50 year member and president of the Jamestown Choralaires, and belonged to the Sun Lakes Southwest Singers. He and Charlotte were leaders of the scandalous young students who introduced the Jitter Bug to Jamestown College, and they belonged to several dance clubs in ND and AZ.
Trips to New York City for Broadway Musicals were among his favorite. Gordon and Charlotte traveled extensively visiting all seven continents and over 100 countries making them eligible for membership in the Travelers’ Century Club. Through the American Publishers Association they had the opportunity to meet many world leaders during their international travels. Gordon also was a “trailing spouse” on many of Charlotte’s Food Writer trips that took them around the world. Three trips that he always remembered with enthusiasm were China in 1979, Antarctica in January of 2001, and the North Pole in July of 2001.
Gordon loved cats (and dogs, too, but especially cats) and was often seen jogging or walking in Jamestown and Sun Lakes wearing a kitty themed t-shirt. He loved throwing a good party and planned many surprise parties for Charlotte (they celebrated their anniversary with their travel friends all over the world); he also enjoyed long cups of coffee and would never turn down ice cream or a cookie. He played a mean game of racquetball, volleyball, croquet, Dominoes, Sorry, and bridge. On those occasions when he was master of ceremony he displayed a wonderful and clever sense of humor.
Gordon and Charlotte were heavily invested in raising their daughter, Jo-Ida. Friday evenings were reserved for board games on the floor in front of the fireplace (he bought a new game to try every Christmas), family gatherings always included many games of Canasta, and they were willing chaperones for any event that came along. Gordon even assisted Troop Leader Charlotte on a two week excursion from Jamestown to Washington, DC, New York City, and Niagara Falls with the 18 members of Girl Scout Troop 40 all of whom remained close to his heart forever. He would do almost anything for his daughter, Jo-Ida, including enduring mice living in the basement as part of her science projects and driving her science exhibits to state and national Science Fair competitions, not to mention all night teen age slumber parties.
Simply put, Gordon, who treated others with kindness and respect, made the world a better place. He will be greatly missed and leaves a wonderful legacy for his family, friends, and community.
He is survived by Charlotte, his wife of 66 years; his daughter, Jo-Ida, a professor at the University of Minnesota, and his son-in-law, John P. Campbell, PhD, also a professor at the University of Minnesota. Gordon, along with his wife Charlotte, was a generous philanthropist and fund raiser for many organizations and charitable causes. Memorials gifts can be made in his memory to the James River Humane Society (P.O. Box 636) or Jamestown College (6000 College Lane).
Funeral Services: 1:00 PM, Thursday, April 12, 2012 at First United Methodist Church, Jamestown, with Pastor Kenrad Pederson, officiating.
Visitation: 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Wednesday, April 11 at Eddy Funeral Home
Burial: Highland Home Cemetery, Jamestown.
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