Former senator was known as active, studious

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Albert Lea lost a great leader Saturday when Rudolph Hanson, a former four-term state senator for the area, died.

&uot;Rudy had a long, diverse, and distinguished life,&uot; said Rep. Dan Dorman, R-Albert Lea. &uot;He is very much a part of Freeborn County history.&uot;

Hanson served from 1954 to 1970 as the senator for the area. His long list of community involvement reads like a who’s-who of Albert Lea service organizations and clubs: Toastmasters, Lions, Elks, Albert Lea Country Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Sons of Norway, Chamber of Commerce and junior chamber, YMCA, Great Books club, and local, state and national bar associations.

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Hanson was well-liked by his peers and remembered as a knowledge-hungry academic. &uot;He was a terrific scholar,&uot; said Dorothy Holmquist, who was his secretary for 15 years. &uot;A terrifically intelligent man. I remember he would always have books with him, he was such a deep reader. I will fondly remember him.&uot;

Dorman remembers seeing Hanson when he’d go to visit with his grandpa at the neighborhood cafe. &uot;I remember he was always studying and reading. He kept kind of to himself,&uot; said Dorman.

Dorman, while serving in the legislature, visited Hanson from time to time to talk. When Hanson was 99, Dorman was up in St. Paul and he and his father decided they would like to get Hanson up to the Capitol again. Dorman explained, &uot;My father went to his house and asked him if he’d like to come up to St. Paul. Rudy said, ‘Sure, step in here and let me check my calendar.’ At age 99 he’s living at home and he couldn’t commit because he had to look on his calendar. That says a lot about how active Rudy was.&uot;

Dorman did get Hanson up to the Capitol for a day on the floor, where Hanson got to sit in state Sen. Grace Schwab’s seat and reminisce about his days on the floor. &uot;I’m glad we got to do that for him,&uot; said Dorman.

Schwab remembered his visit fondly. &uot;I was amazed at the number of people who came over to shake his hand and to voice their respect. It was such a pleasure to listen to Rudy recount memories of the years he served us at the Capitol,&uot; she said.

&uot;Our district has lost one of the hardest working, most thoughtful lawmakers our state has ever seen,&uot; said Schwab on Tuesday. &uot;I offer my condolences to his family and our thanks to Rudy for all he did, so selflessly, to ensure that our communities remained a wonderful place to live.&uot;