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Willis V. Hanson

January 19, 1933 — June 15, 2024

Sioux Falls, SD

Willis V. Hanson

Obituary for Willis Veryle Hanson

Willis Veryle Hanson, 91, of Sioux Falls, passed away peacefully Saturday, June 15, 2024, at his home at the Good Samaritan Society.

Services will be on Saturday, June 22 at 1:30 PM at Morningside Lutheran Church. Visitation will be at Christy-Smith Funeral Homes, Morningside Chapel, 1801 Morningside Ave., on Friday June 21, from 4:00 to 7:00 with the family present and a prayer service at 6:30 PM. The burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery in a private ceremony.

Willis was born on Jan. 19, 1933, in the family farmhouse in Soldier, Iowa, to Wallace and Verona (Amunson) Hanson. He loved sharing stories of his years in Soldier as a farm boy with his parents, siblings, large close-knit family, church and community. 

The family moved to Sioux City, Iowa in 1949, where he attended and graduated from his beloved East High School in 1951, where he discovered his love of teaching. After graduation he attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD where he grew his faith, studied to be an educator and most importantly met the love of his life, Phyllis Bolstad.

Willis and Phyllis were joined in Holy Matrimony on February 6, 1955, at Sinai Lutheran Church. Together they were blessed with 4 children: Steven, Jeffrey, Bradford, and Anthea (Ann). 

Willis began his storied teaching career in Newcastle, NE, Beaver Creek, MN, Parish Education in Watertown, SD, Leeds High School, and concluded his career at East High School. He received many honors as a teacher and Student Council advisor. He was highlighted by being honored with the East High School Spirit Award, National Student Council Advisor of the Year, and Distinguished Educator Award from Morningside College.

He was a long-time member of Morningside Lutheran Church, where he served as Church Council President and on many committees. While in Sioux City, Willis also served many years as the President of the Scandinavian Club and Sons of Norway.

Willis and Phyllis moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2008 to be close to family and Augustana College. The couple enjoyed watching their grandchildren grow and being a part of all the activities of Augustana College where they were known instantly by their rhyming first names and faithful attendance of concerts, festivals and sporting events. There they were members of First Lutheran Church and the Sons of Norway.

Willis combined his love of family and history spending considerable time researching and documenting the history of his extended family including several trips to his ancestral fjords of Norway.

Willis was a life-long learner whose endless curiosity was highlighted by being invited to present a peer reviewed paper to the Center of Western Studies in his 80’s. 

Those left to celebrate his memory include his wife, Phyllis; daughter-in-law, Rose Hanson, and Rose and Steven’s children, Christopher (Andreea), David and Paige; son, Jeff Hanson and his children, Kenton (Stephanie), Alex (Kati), and Benjamin; son, Bradford (Carmel) Hanson his children Sara, Trent, and Samantha; daughter, Ann (David) Mays and her daughters, Hilary (Ross), Lauren (Trent); his sisters, Veloy (Robert) of Atlanta, GA, Hollis (Ken) of Eden Prairie, MN; brother, Reuben (Karen) Hanson of Panora, IA; and sisters-in-law, Claris (Vonley) Hanson of Sioux City, IA, and Marlene (John) Berven of Plano, TX. He was especially blessed with his great-grandchildren Grace, Morgan, Elliana, Sophie, Tate, Frida and Madeline.

He is preceded in death by his parents; son, Steven D. Hanson; his mother and father-in-law, Clarence and Inga Bolstad; brother, Vonley K. Hanson; and in-laws Robert Reynders, Wallace and Audrey Tvedt, Virgil and Lois Bolstad, and John Berven. 

Willis was also blessed with many nephews, nieces, 34 first cousins and countless friends.

Pallbearers will be his grandchildren. Willis requested that his former students be recognized as his Honorary Pallbearers. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Sioux City East High School Student Council. 

 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Willis V. Hanson, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, June 21, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Christy-Smith Funeral Homes - Morningside Chapel

1801 Morningside Ave, Sioux City, IA 51106

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Prayer Service

Friday, June 21, 2024

6:30 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Christy-Smith Funeral Homes - Morningside Chapel

1801 Morningside Ave, Sioux City, IA 51106

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Memorial Service

Saturday, June 22, 2024

1:30 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

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