JAMES RONALD HANSEN, SR.
James Ronald Hansen, Sr., age 88, of Louisiana, formerly of rural Curryville, passed away after a short illness at SSM St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles, Mo. on Thursday, March 27.
Ronnie was born January 4, 1931 to Rose Dell (Williamson) Hansen and James Gardner Hansen in Pike County; joining an older brother Peter G. Hansen. He was married to Juanita Marie (Green) Francis on June 20, 1954 on the McIlroy farm in Stark, Mo. They made their home at 6457 Pike 457 Curryville for 57 years, where they raised four children.
Except for three years in Florida as a young child, Ronnie was a lifelong resident of Pike County.
He was a Bowling Green graduate, class of 1948. His intention to follow in his brothers footsteps and join the Army to serve his country and pursue a higher education was thwarted by an automobile accident that ruined his right knee. After recuperating for a year, he was denied enlistment. Not to be deterred, as an avid reader he devoured books, learning something about everything; earning him an elaborate and versatile degree for Life. His advice and pearls of wisdom were often sought by his many friends and various acquaintances; which he freely gave — along with an abundance of humorous stories and jokes.
Ronnie also respected and enjoyed his friendship with his Amish neighbors. A mutual agreement of assistance was appreciated and with the kindness and kinship they gave, allowed the couple to remain in their own home having independence for much longer than they otherwise would have.
Before a stroke in 1982, Ron worked for the City of Vandalia for close to 20 years at the Power and Water Plants, making lifelong friends in that area. However some knew him as Jim rather than Ron. In Bowling Green, he worked the produce department at Kroger. In his young married years he traveled selling insurance, writing and receiving letters on the road.
He would describe how the day’s sales and where he was with quotas, and how much he missed his family. Receiving letters from Juanita, the young mother described the everyday childhood strides; a new tooth, a tooth lost, eating solid foods, the kids missing him, and when would he be returning home.
He loved his family, the outdoors, hunting and fishing. He was an avid gun collector/trader/and repaired many types of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. Many of which were antiques. He shared his knowledge while instilling a love of target and trap shooting, and hunting with his children and later, their families. He held a long membership in the NRA. His favorite mode of transportation was his 1966 triumph, he loved riding his motorcycle with his friends or by himself. To his friends he went by Tupelo, Miss. Flash. He was mayor of the township of Tick Ridge (by default) and his neighbor Mr. Rose was Sheriff (also by default). He also had the ability to witch water, discovering the correct place for various people to dig their wells, or where hidden springs were located.
After the massive stroke his life took a different turn. Being completely paralyzed on the right side of his body should have been an insurmountable ordeal however, when the words “never walk and never talk again” were mentioned it was all the incentive his independent spirit needed to prove how wrong the prognosis was. It served to spur him to fight harder and longer. The proof was witnessed by the community. Within a year he could be seen driving and definitely talking, to whoever would listen. Rusk Rehab had discharged him after 90 days, so impressed with his perseverance, they had him return for several years as needed, to encourage and inspire other stroke victims, urging them to not give up. He helped prove to them that a high quality of life could be obtained with hard work. Ronnie retaught himself all he could, and with the help of others, he was able to target shoot, cook his family dinner, and work in and around his house again. Although, he never rode his motorcycle again, he was able to take care of his wife after she suffered several small strokes herself during heart surgery only two years after his own recovery.
Mr. Hansen was preceded in death on his side of the family by his father in 1959, his mother in 1980, his only sibling Peter G. Hansen at age 82 in 2010, and his oldest son James R. Hansen, Jr. at age 48 in 2005.
He is survived by his wife Juanita who currently resides at Lynns Heritage House, two daughters and one son, Nellie and husband Wayne Seiller of Bowling Green. Cynthia and husband Tom Backer, of Louisiana, and C.T. and wife Carrie Hansen, of Baldwin City, Kan.
He is also survived by his grand and great-grandchildren, Marie and Jacque Griffen of University City; the parents of Hannah, and twins, Adam and Andrew; Jeff Seiller of Curryville; father of Jeffery and Paul; Shannon McGeorge of Saint Charles, mother of Nathan and Tyler; Miranda Brown of Louisiana, mother of Ava; J.R. and Lacey Brown of Pleasant Hill, Mo., parents of Kaylee and Jackson; Katie and Blake Meisner of Raymond, Ill., parents of Brody and Emery; Christopher and Heather Backer of Osage Beach; Tyler Hansen of Dallas, Texas; Karily, Kathryn and Careen of Baldwin City, Kan.; Tabitha Branstetter of Bowling Green, and Ronita Hansen, of Minn., daughters of the late James Hansen Jr. (Jim).
He is also survived by his sister in law Joan Hansen of Rolla, Mo. and numerous nieces and nephews from both sides of the family.
They were both thankful to the family and friends who have stayed in touch and visited Ronnie and Juanita over the years on their farm in Curryville.
Please join us Sunday, April 6 for the celebration of a wonderful man, husband, and father. Visitation will be from 1-3 p.m. at Water’s Funeral Home in Vandalia, Mo. with the memorial celebration at 3 p.m. by his grandson J.R. Brown, with music provided by his granddaughter Marie Griffen.
Donations instead of flowers may be made to the Pike County Memorial Hospital Foundations/Swingbed Program.