July 29, 1937 - April 2, 2020


Vivian (Viv) Jeanette Hanson, age 82, passed away on April 2, 2020, after years of long-term care, first at home and for the past year at the Elim Care and Rehab Nursing Home in Princeton, MN. Viv was born to John Kenneth Ellefson and Valborg (Mellom) Ellefson who raised a family of seven children in Jasper, MN. Viv graduated the valedictorian of her high school class and attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, on scholarship.

She and her devoted husband, James “Jim,” met at a ballroom on University Avenue in St. Paul that played Perry Como and other crooners of the day. Jim and Viv married while Jim attended the University of Minnesota on the GI Bill and where he obtained a degree in mortuary science. Viv became one of the few registered medical technologists in the state and was employed at Ancker Hospital, now known as Regions Hospital in St. Paul. Jim and Viv purchased a funeral home in the early 1960’s and also started and sold a flower shop and ambulance service making Princeton, MN, their home. Viv managed the books and also the flower shop for some years.

Jim and Viv had four children, traveled to Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, and elsewhere, enjoyed fishing on Lake Sylvia, Lake Michigan, Lake Vermillion, and many other spots, and also traveled in their vintage GMC motorhome to national parks and other beautiful places. Jim held a private pilot’s license, so Jim and Viv and family sometimes flew to visit people or have dinner out of state on short notice. Viv belonged to the Order of the Eastern Star, sister organization to the Masonic Lodge, and served a term as the honorary matron of the local chapter, while also working with her husband as a team managing the businesses and raising four children. Viv (and Jim sometimes) attended the local Lutheran Church for years and later the First Congregational Church in Princeton for years. Religion and family were important to her. Jim and Viv retired in 1985. Viv became a prolific quilter until dementia robbed her of this skill.

Viv is survived by her husband, Jim; sons, Greg and Steve; daughter, Cheryl; six grandchildren; one great-grandson; sisters, Clara and Delores; brother, Knute; and numerous in-laws, nephews, nieces, and cousins. She is preceded in death by her parents; son, Charles; and brothers, Louis, Richard, and LeRoy.

Viv will be buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery with a service at Princeton’s First Congregational Church, to celebrate Viv’s life, to be scheduled at a later time.