Rudolph W. Hanson, 99, Albert Lea

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Funeral services for Rudolph W. Hanson, age 99, of Albert Lea, will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at Bayview/Freeborn Funeral Chapel. The Rev. Jerry R. Hanson will officiate. Interment will be in Greenwood Cemetery, Glenville. Military honors will be accorded by area servicemen’s organizations. Visitation is 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at Bayview/Freeborn Funeral Home, and one hour prior to the services at the chapel.

Rudolph died Saturday, Oct. 12, 2002, at his home in Albert Lea.

Rudolph William Hanson was born in Pickerel Lake Township on May 30,1903, son of Hans L. and Gustina (Alm) Hanson. His grade schooling was at District 87, Mansfield, and high school at Albert Lea, of the 1919 graduation class. Starting June 9, 1919, he worked as a hired man on a farm south of Mansfield until after corn husking that fall and the two succeeding summer seasons. In these years, he attended his first year at the University of Minnesota (1920-21); and worked at miscellaneous employment, including farm jobs and clerking for his uncle, William Alm, in the Economy Grocery at Austin.

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On Dec. 1, 1921, Hans Hanson became the butter maker at Conger, with Rudolph as his helper. In 1922, he took examinations and obtained a teaching certificate. Starting in October 1922, he taught in rural schools, one term in the Lime Creek District west of Emmons and three terms in District 130 south and west of Conger, working in the creamery during the vacations. Hans Hanson died on March 17, 1928, and Rudolph was thereafter the Conger butter maker until September 1933. Besides the 1920-’21 year at the university, he attended in 1926-’27, took some correspondence courses and completed his studies 1933-1937, graduating from the law school. After admission to the bar, he opened a law office in Albert Lea on Dec. 1, 1937.

Excepting for service in the Navy during World War II, Sept. 11, 1942 to Aug. 1, 1945, Rudolph spent succeeding years in the practice of law at Albert Lea. He retired July 1, 1980. He served two terms as Freeborn County Attorney (1946 – 1954) and four terms in the Minnesota Senate (1954 – 1970). While in the Senate, he was put on the Lea College board and Naeve Hospital Board. Other memberships and activities have included Toastmasters, Lions, Elks, Albert Lea Country Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Sons of Norway, Chamber of Commerce and Junior Chamber, YMCA (president 1949), Great Books Club, state, national, and local bar associations, and historical societies.

The 1919 decision to do farm work was partly prompted by an ambition to get muscles, stimulated by the 1919 state basketball championship. Sweet words to the 16 years old’s ear, a classmate, Russell Lembke, visiting the farm that summer, exclaimed “Gee! You look tough!” Though no ambitions have complete fulfillment and some are frustrated, the subject and writer of this sketch has found life’s journey rewarding. He has enjoyed good health. Geographically, the journey has taken him to the 50 states of the Union, five continents and (on TV) to the moon. There have been many adventures in the world of books. Most gratifying have been the pleasures of friendship and the good will shown by many, many people.

With the principles of Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln as his pattern, Rudy’s goal in life was the attainment of wisdom. He was a lifelong scholar and voracious reader with a keen interest in history, current events, politics, fine arts, world travel and observing human nature. He enjoyed a modest and simple way of life, which was rich with time spent with family and friends.

His retirement years afforded him the time to travel, write whimsical poetry, grow flowers, observe the birds and squirrels in his yard, golf, read, and attend classes at area colleges. Rudy was a unique and remarkable man, whose life was long and lived well to the end. He eagerly anticipated his I00th birthday celebration.

Survivors include his sisters-in-law: Marvel Hanson and Florabelle Hanson, both of Albert Lea; nieces: Marjorie Sprenger, Maxine and husband Wm. E. Brown, all of Albert Lea, Kathleen and husband Ken Muilenburg of Hollandale, and Mary Kay and husband Mike Johnson of Casa Grande, Ariz.; nephews: Harold and wife Shirley Reindal of San Clemente, Calif., Roger Reindal of Hemet, Calif., and Rev. Jerry R. and wife Patricia Hanson of Hixson, Tenn.; 17 grand-nieces and -nephews; 28 great-grand-nieces and -nephews; one

great-great-grandnephew; several first cousins; and his beloved cat, Edie.

Rudolph was preceded in death by his parents; brothers: Russell E. and Robert D.; sister, Lilah and husband Oscar Reindal; nephew-in-law, Don Sprenger; grand-nephew, James D. Brown; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Memorials are preferred to the Freeborn County Historical Society.

Uncle Rudy was much loved by all his family and will be sorely missed by all who knew him.