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Obituary: Gary Fremodt Hansen

December 12, 1932 ~ July 1, 2023

Gary Fremodt Hansen, died peacefully in his sleep in his apartment at Heartis Village in Brookfield, WI, early Saturday morning, July 1, 2023 at the age of 90.  He had Alzheimer’s disease the last three years of his life, but was able to enjoy family stories, family history, walking, visiting with his children and grandchildren and the daily joking with the Heartis staff.

Born to Fredmodt Bondo Hansen and Mildred Iona (Spencer) Hansen in Council Bluffs, Iowa on December 12, 1932, Gary was the eldest of six children. He enjoyed growing up on the family farm in Underwood, IA and most of the physical farm work required in the 1930s and 1940s. Gary ran his own trap line, went on fishing trips to Canada and the west with his father, and especially enjoyed hunting. He attended. Underwood High School and graduated with the class of 1950.

Gary’s mother Mildred was a great proponent of education and he went to Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. He played football and met his future wife, Marion Lucille Nielsen, at Dana. Gary served two years in the United States Army, just missing the Korean conflict. On September 4, 1955, he married Marion in Marion’s hometown of Albert Lea, MN.

Gary and Marion moved to Iowa City where he completed his bachelor of arts degree in education in 1957, his masters in 1959, and his PhD in 1964. They were blessed with their children: Brad in 1956 in Iowa City, Heidi in 1960 in Savanna, IL, while he taught and coached at Shimer College in Mt. Carroll, Il,  Brock in 1962 in Iowa City, and Blair in 1965 in Iowa City.  

Their family lived in Coralville, IA until 1969 when they moved to Iowa City. They moved to Solon, IA in 1982 when Gary got the farm itch again. Maintaining his professorship at Iowa, he organized a farm corporation with some friends and bought land along the Cedar River near Sutliff and some equipment to farm corn and soybeans. The land was a great hunting ground for the members of the corporation.  

Gary was the athletic director, football, and basketball coach at University High School in Iowa City for many years, touching hundreds of lives and starting women’s sports well before other (Iowa City) schools offered them. Later, he became dean of education at the University of Iowa and guided many graduate students to careers. He was active in both the Iowa City Lions and Iowa City Elks Clubs.

Gary started playing golf as a student at Iowa and won the State Lions tournament and the Elks Club championship.  

He bought houses in Baileys Harbor, WI and Hot Springs Village, AR which served as gathering places for the family for many years.

Gary and Marion were blessed with 47 years of marriage. She preceded him in death on January 5, 2003. 

Gary shared 12 of his golden years with his friend and companion, Pearl Berndt, until the age of 88, in Arkansas and Door County.

He will be missed by his four children, Brad (Cathy) Hansen of Dousman, WI, Heidi (Lindley) Kistler of Newbury Park, CA, Brock Hansen of Baileys Harbor, WI, and Blair (Marsha) Hansen of Clive, IA; nine grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; three sisters and one brother, Nancy (Ernie) Snead of St. Louis, MO, Gloria (Jim) Logeman of Montgomery, TX and Gayla (Michael) Newmeister of Sturgeon Bay, WI and Tim (Kathy) Hansen of Clarinda, IA; sisters-in-law, Eleanor Schou of Albert Lea, MN and Margaret (Bill) Rodenberg of Dayton, OH; other relatives; and his friend and companion, Pearl Berndt of Kenosha.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Marion; sister, Yvonne (Alfred) Vorthmann; siblings-in-law, Luella Nielsen, Rev. John (Liz) Nielsen, James (Chris) Nielsen, Elizabeth Anne Pedersen, and Don Schou; and other relatives.    

Gary’s life will be honored with a funeral service held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, 2023 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 7973 State Highway 57, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202 with Pastor Sue Gunderson and Pastor Gary Scharrig officiating. He will be laid to rest in Lakeview Cemetery in Jacksonport, beside his wife, Marion.

Visitation for family and friends will be held at the church on Saturday, July 29, 2023 from 12:30 p.m. until 1:45 p.m.

Memorials may be given in Gary’s name for Immanuel Lutheran Church (mail to: P.O. Box 115, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202).

“Our family would like to thank all of the staff at Heartis Village for their care and love during the last two years.”

Huehns Funeral Home in Sturgeon Bay is assisting the Hansen family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Gary may be shared with his family through his tribute page at www.huehnsfuneralhome.com.