Russell MacKenzie Hansen died peacefully Sunday, April 8, 2018, at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids.
Russell was born March 6, 1933, in Beloit, Wis., the youngest child of J. Blaine and Clara Bertina (Harred) Hansen. He graduated from Beloit Memorial High School in 1951, where he was a starter for the varsity basketball team and a bench warmer on the seat outside the principal's office. An adventurous fellow, the summer before his senior year he hitchhiked and hopped freight trains out to Colorado. There he found work as a railroad gandy-dancer and later as a hired hand on a wheat farm. Russell served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He was stationed on the USS Duncan, which operated off the coast of Korea. After his enlistment, he attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, graduating with a degree in finance in 1960. After graduation, Russell was hired by Collins Radio Co. in Cedar Rapids, where he began as an accountant. He worked continuously for Rockwell Collins until his retirement as vice president of finance Collins Commercial Avionics in 1995. As president of the Marion Library Board, he oversaw the renovation of the Marion Carnegie Library. He was a charter member of Ascension Lutheran Church in Marion, serving as treasurer for a number of years.
On May 31, 1952, he married his high school sweetheart, Nancy Lien Bennett, at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Beloit. Together for over 65 years, Russell and Nancy built a good life, loving and raising five daughters. Russell enjoyed sailing his boat on Lake MacBride, playing tennis and traveling with Nancy. He knew the words to more songs than you ever knew existed. He played the guitar, concertina and the harmonica. Memories of late night road trips with Nancy singing to Russell's harmonica accompaniment will be forever cherished by their children.
As one of his many friends remarked, Russell Hansen was a smart and tough man, who often concealed the kind, understanding person that he was. He was a gentleman and a friend and helped set standards for all of us.
Russell was preceded in death by his parents; and four brothers, Charles, Paul, Lawrence and Franklin.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Nancy; sister, Barbara (Bob) Van Wagner; daughters, Anne Hansen (Matt Swanson), Jenny Hansen, Julie Hansen (Craig Novak), Marjory Hansen and Karen (John) Clark-Hansen; grandchildren, Meagan Clark-Hansen (Rob Ford), Emma (Ryan) Amelon, Claire Nilles, Leif Hansen (Victoria Wooley), Eli (Machell) VonBerg, Molly VonBerg and Tex Swanson; great-grandchildren, Blaine Amelon, Levi VonBerg and Otto VonBerg; and many nieces, nephews and friends, all of whom will miss him very, very much.
The family will greet friends from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 13, at Murdoch Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Marion. Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at Ascension Lutheran Church in Marion followed by burial at Oak Shade Cemetery in Marion.
Memorial donations may be directed in Russell's memory to the Iowa ACLU, the Alzheimer's Association, the Marion Food Pantry or the charity of your choice.
Please share a memory of Russell at www.murdochfuneralhome.com under obituaries.