Dean Hanson, 81, Eustis, Fla.

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 4, 2005

Dean Hanson, age 81, beloved husband of Wanda and Miriam Hanson, loving father of Mark, Michelle and Melinda, son of Haakon and Alma Hanson of Freeborn, passed from this life Nov. 14, 2005 from complications of a recent surgery in Eustis, Fla.

A native of Albert Lea, Dean graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1944, serving as class valedictorian. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and after completing ASTP training, served in the European theater as a combat litter bearer, in the 119th Medical Battalion, 44th Infantry Division, Seventh US Army. He saw action in the Vosges Mountains campaign, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star for his part in the American counter-offensive to Operation Nordwind, as well as taking part

in the liberation of

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Alsace-Lorraine, Achen and Mannheim, and at the time

the war ended was stationed at Obersalzburg, Austria.

On returning to the states he served as a TS4 Technical Sergeant Radio Operator at Fort Meyers, Colo. and subsequently enrolled in the University of Colorado at Denver.

He met his first wife, Wanda Marie Vernon, while at UCD and they married in 1950. He relocated with her to the San Francisco Bay Area, eventually settling in Palo Alto. Upon his graduation from the University of Colorado at Denver with a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, he began what would become 30 years of service with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, beginning with the Denver district and transferring to Camp Roberts, Calif., and eventually working in the San Francisco and Honolulu districts through the 1960s and 1970s. Construction projects he helped

complete for the Corps included bascule bridges in Honolulu and Alameda, Calif., the Humboldt jetty breakwater, Umpqua and Warm Springs dams, Corte Madera Creek flood control, and numerous other Northern California flood control projects, and civil defense preparations in California and Hawaii in the 1960s.

After spending four years in Hawaii, beginning in 1961, they returned to the San Fransisco peninsula and settled in Redwood City, where they raised their three children, until her death in 1973.

After retirement from the USACE he became a private construction consultant for Parsons, Inc., and lived and worked overseas in Riyadh & Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

from 1976 until the mid 80&8217;s. After his first

return from Arabia he settled briefly in Santa Rosa when he met his second wife, Miriam whom he married in 1978. They lived for most of the past 27 years in Umatilla, Fla, where he was an active member of the local American Legion Post 41 and served as the post historian, and was also active in many American Legion Auxiliary organizations.

He was a supporter of the Florida Marlins and San Francisco Giants baseball teams, an avid shortwave radio enthusiast with over 400 QSL cards, a fan of Johnny Cash, and an early advocate for open public access to community based FM broadcast radio, as well as one of the first advocates in the San Fransisco District of the Corps of Engineers for bay wetlands restoration.

Dean will be remembered by all who knew him as a fine, kind, gentle, and decent human being, who served his country without complaint and lived a life of patient benevolence and quiet courage.

He is survived by three of his five sisters: Anna of Chaska, Stella of Two Harbors and Helen of Austin; two of his four brothers, Elmer of Wichita, Kan. and Harry of Long Lake, Minn., as well as by his wife Miriam

of Umatilla, Fla., son Mark of San Francisco, Calif., and daughter Melinda of Carmichael, Calif. as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service was held Nov. 28 at St. Philip Lutheran Church in Mount Dora, Fla., followed Nov. 29 by a Veteran’s military ceremony at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Fla.