Wilma Madeline Clarissa (Helle) Hanson passed away at age 89, on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 at Willow Pointe Assisted Living in Mason City, Iowa.
A Celebration of Life service was held Tuesday, Nov. 1, at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran, Thornton, Iowa, with the Rev. Rhea Evanson officiating. Burial was in Memorial Park Cemetery, Mason City.
Should friends desire memorials may be donated to Women’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (WELCA) in care of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Thornton, in Wilma’s memory.
Wilma was born Dec. 14, 1921 at a prairie home in North Dakota where her parents were homesteaders. Wilma was the youngest of three daughters of Mikkel and Clara Helle. Wilma and her sisters, Myrtle and Gladys, walked two and one-half miles to a one-room schoolhouse and walked four miles to Adrian, N.D. to pick up the U.S. mail. Wilma was confirmed at James River Valley Lutheran Church in Montpelier, N.D., and graduated from Marion, N.D. High School in 1938. In the late 1930’s following several years of drought, the Dust Bowl and the Depression, the family lost their homestead and moved to Mona, Iowa. Wilma worked for a few years at Hormel Foods in Austin, Minn.
On Sept. 3, 1945, she married her childhood sweetheart from North Dakota, Armand M. Hanson, at the Mona Lutheran Church. Wilma and Armand lived near Clear Lake on a family farm for 10 years, which is where Dave and her daughter Linda live today. Wilma and Armand then moved to a farm north of Thornton in December 1955. Together they raised three children: Hans (Sonja) of Ankeny, Iowa, Linda (Dave) Hopper of Clear Lake, and Bennett (Kay) of Ankeny. Along with working at the farm, Wilma worked for two years at Thornton school and was the activity director at the IOOF nursing home in Mason City for over 20 years.
Wilma was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Thornton, the Swaledale Federated Garden Club, and Our Day Out Ladies Club. In her spare time, Wilma enjoyed gardening and quilting with Women of ELCA. Many quilts were donated to Iowa Lutheran Riverside Camp for children and missions. She is most remembered for her simple, carefree, and kind spirit. Wilma was known as Mom, Ma, Grandma, Great Hanson, Aunt Wilma, Friend and Norwegian Church Lady.
Wilma is survived by her children, Hans (Sonja) Hanson of Ankeny, Iowa, Linda (David) Hopper of Clear Lake, and Bennett (Kay) Hanson of Ankeny; grandchildren, Julie (Kevin) Quass of Ankeny, Frankie Hanson of Davis, Calif., Conrad (Wendy) Hanson of Urbandale, Iowa, Annalisa (Corey) Miner of Mason City, David Matthew Hopper and friend, Mary Pederson of Clear Lake, Jonathan Hanson and Joshua Hanson of Ankeny; step-grandchildren, Wayde (Erin) Stover of Des Moines, Iowa, Scott (Nicole) Stover of Minneapolis, Minn., and Andrew Stover of Minneapolis; great-grandchildren, Colin Quass, Berit Quass, and Rondi Quass of Ankeny, Sierra Miner and Corey David Miner of Mason City; along with other relatives and friends.
Wilma is preceded in death by her parents, Mikkel and Clara Helle; husband, Armand Hanson; sisters, Myrtle and Gladys.
Ward Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, Clear Lake, was in charge of arrangements.