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Dr. Dennis Hansen
July 31, 1939 ~ October 10, 2023 (age 84) 84 Years Old
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Dr. Dennis Clayton Hansen, born July 31, 1939 in Lawrence, KS, died peacefully on October 10, 2023 in Surprise, AZ, at the age of 84 following a brave, hard-fought battle with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP).
Dennis was a gifted lifelong learner who dedicated his life to countless students and colleagues in the field of education. A 1956 graduate of Red Cloud High School at the age of 16, Dennis received his B.S.Ed from Miltonvale Wesleyan College in Miltonvale, KS, and began teaching 6th grade in Guide Rock, NE, at age 18. He went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Elementary Education in 1964 and his Doctorate in Elementary Education in 1968, both from UNO. A well-respected and much-loved fixture of Westside Community Schools in Omaha, NE, Dennis began his tenure teaching and then serving as Principal of Arbor Heights Elementary, Swanson Elementary, and Oakdale Elementary before accepting the position of District Coordinator of Gifted Education until his retirement in 1995. He was President of his Kiwanis club, President of the National Association for Gifted (NAG), and a member of the Presbyterian Church. While his deepest passion was helping students develop a love for learning, Dennis was an avid collector. He amassed an impressive stamp collection, and in his basement he built a replica of an old-fashioned soda bar — complete with authentic Coca Cola memorabilia — in addition to a darkroom for film developing, and an intricate model train set. A man of many talents and interests, Dennis loved piloting his Piper Cherokee airplane, driving his pristine 1967 Corvette Stingray convertible, and traveling the world with his beloved wife, Colette. A music lover as well, Dennis had a beautiful baritone voice which he often used to bring traditional hymns and the songs of Willie Nelson and the Statler Brothers to life.
Though Dennis lived his life to the fullest, exploring his interests, curiosity and sense of adventure with Colette by his side, one of his greatest joys was his role as “PopPop” to his three grandchildren.
Dennis is survived by his wife, Colette de Frey; his daughter, Danica Patchen and her husband Jason; along with his grandchildren, Jackson and Sam Patchen, McKenna Regehr and her husband Matt. Dennis is also survived by his brother Clint Hansen and his wife Billie; his sister Sheila Putnam and her husband Larry; several nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his father and mother Rev. Clayton and Orlena Hansen, infant brother Conley Ray, grandparents Rudolf and Bertha Hansen of Miltonvale, KS, and Henry and Bessie Weigel of Guthrie Center, IA.
A celebration of Dr. Dennis Hansen’s life was Friday, November 3, 2023 at Williams Funeral Home: 241 West Fourth Ave, Red Cloud, NE 68970 (www.wmsfh.com) with the Rev. Dan Benedict officiating. Interment was at the Red Cloud Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family would like to suggest donations be made to CurePSP Tribute Funds at psp.org, to the Nebraska ASPCA, or to the Wesleyan Church of Red Cloud, Nebraska.