“Pastor Jim” Hanson was born in Bemidji, MN on October 1, 1929, the third of four sons born to Rev. A.E. and Marie Hanson. He attended school in St. Paul, MN and Brookings, SD where he graduated high school. Jim started college at South Dakota State attending one year before transferring to St. Olaf College, where he graduated in 1950. He continued his education at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, graduating in 1954. One of his college and seminary roommates, Bob Kompelien, had a picture of his very pretty youngest sister, Ramona, prominently displayed on his desk. Jim was smitten with Ramona Kompelien, and they were married June 16, 1954, two days after his ordination into ministry in the American Lutheran Church.
Jim and Ramona served parishes in Hardin, MT, Glendive, MT, Crookston, MN, Odessa, TX and Winters, TX. An active member of the community wherever he and Ramona lived, he participated as a founder of Dawson County Community College in Glendive, Glenmore Treatment Center in Crookston, and Abilene Area Hospice in Abilene, TX.
Jim loved Jesus. He was, first and foremost, a pastor. He wasn’t “Reverend Hanson”- he was “Pastor Jim”. He loved to preach, and it showed. One of the fortunate few who always knew he wanted to be a preacher, he had a gift for it. Insisting on placing every care, every need, every moment in the hands of Jesus, he preached about the importance of living “under the umbrella” of God’s grace. Managing worship services like a musical conductor directs a choir, services commenced with “Heavenly Sunshine” as people greeted one another while singing. Authoring a number of books in his spare time, these included “Through Temptation”, “Making Contact”, and “God Willing”. He encouraged and mentored a number of young people to follow him into the ministry, including two of his sons.
Jim loved his family. Family time was of utmost importance. Sunday nights often included playing cards (Crazy Rook), board games (Pit), and Johnnie’s Pizza. Holidays revolved around worship, music and fellowship. Christmas Eve included four church services, with time for caroling to friends throughout town in between. Their life was rich. Jim often traded preaching and teaching assignments at Bible camps for room and board for his “tribe”, which meant long car trips to remote and beautiful locations throughout the Midwest every summer. He loved lutefisk, lefse, klub, Lutheran hymns sung in four-part harmony, cowboy boots, rural churches and competition of every kind. He and Ramona raised five children – Nathan (Ruth) Hanson, Hudson, SD, Katie (Dan) Tvedt, Volga, SD, John (Julie) Hanson, Baldwin, WI, Paul (Michelle) Hanson, Zionsville, IN, and Timothy (Stephanie) Hanson, Hanover, MN. He dearly loved his 17 grandchildren – Ezekiel, Samuel, and Anna Hanson, Hans, Siri and Bryn Tvedt, Peter, Rachel, Mara and Abigail Hanson, Timothy, Lyndi and Ella Hanson, and Joseph, Maria, Lily and Sophia Hanson.
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The family is so grateful to the staff for the loving care Jim received in his last year at Cottagewood in Buffalo, MN. When asked if he liked it at Cottagewood, Jim said “No. I LOVE it!”
Jim is survived by his wife of 59 years, Ramona, one brother, Rolf G. (Esther) Hanson of St. Paul, several sisters in law, nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his brothers John and Paul. He has crossed the Jordan River, and we trust he was greeted by his Savior with these words – “well done, good and faithful servant.”
Visitation Sunday, August 25 from 5-8 pm, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Hanover, MN. Funeral Monday, August 26, 10:30am, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Hanover, MN with lunch to follow.