James J. Hanson, 87, Princeton
October 25, 1934 - July 18, 2022
James J. Hanson, age 87 of Princeton, MN, passed away on July 18, 2022, at M Health Fairview Northland Medical Center in Princeton, following a battle with colon cancer.
James was born, the second of two sons, to Basil Van Hanson and Cecile (Anderson) Hanson on October 25, 1934, in Litchfield. Following graduation from South Haven High School, he served in the naval reserve and was called into active duty at age 21, near the end of the Korean War. He served on the USS Lake Champlain and traveled to Europe. Shortly after returning to the states, Jim met the beautiful Vivian Ellefson while dancing at a ballroom on University Avenue in St. Paul that played Perry Como and other crooners of the day. They married on August 31, 1958. Earning a Mortuary Science Degree from the University of Minnesota, he and Vivian moved their growing family to Princeton, where they purchased and managed the funeral home, ambulance, and flower business. Later, they established other entrepreneurial endeavors such as small aircraft sales. James could be found tinkering with electronic or mechanical items in the airport hangar or in the garage. Jim and Viv traveled to Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, and elsewhere, enjoyed fishing on Lake Sylvia, Lake Michigan, Lake Vermillion, and also traveled in their vintage GMC motorhome to national parks and other beautiful places. Jim enjoyed flying small aircraft, travel, fishing, and listening to the radio. He loved to talk! A man with a wealth of knowledge and a deep interest in detail, he was known to find great enjoyment in sharing his many life adventure stories. James was a member of the Masonic Lodge in his working days and shared coffee with local businessmen at the K-Bob Café most days. He had a soft spot for animals, particularly cats and dogs.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife of over 60 years, Vivian, in 2020; his youngest son, Charles; son-in-law, Chris Browning; brother, Richard Hanson; and niece, Diane Hanson.
Jim will be deeply missed by his sons, Greg Hanson and Steve (Michelle) Hanson; daughter, Cheryl Browning; grandchildren, Jessica (Jordan) Leupp, Hayley, Wyatt, Kendra, Joshua, and Kylie Hanson; great-grandson, Josiah Hanson; sisters-in-law, Clara Hanson, Clara Gerlitz, and Lanett Ellefson; brother-in-law, Knute (Margaret) Ellefson; and nephew, Jay Hanson.
Jim will be buried with full military honors on Thursday, July 21, 2022, at 2:00 PM at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Assembly Area #3. Memorials may be directed to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) or the charity of your choice. A Celebration of Life may be scheduled at a later date.