Rev. Ralph E. Hanson of rural Chariton passed away on June 13, 2023, following a long battle with Parkinson’s. Services will be held on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. at the Pierschbacher Funeral Home in Chariton for family and close friends. Family will receive friends on Monday, June 19, 2023, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Memorials may be directed to the Zion Lutheran Church, 1003 Church St., Gowrie, Iowa 50543.
Ralph was born to Ethel and Severt Hanson on January 1st, 1930, in Superior, Arizona. Older brother, John, and father, Severt, passed away within 2 months of Ralph’s birth, and Ethel moved Ralph to Denver, Colorado where he was raised with the assistance of the Nelson family who cared for Ralph while Ethel worked to earn their living. Ralph graduated from Manual High School in Denver in the Spring of 1948, and began college at Denver University. He was married to Novalee Kolbe on August 26, 1951. They moved to Rock Island, Illinois in 1952 where Ralph completed undergraduate studies at Augustana College. Following graduation in 1954, Ralph entered the Augustana Theological Seminary. The 4-year seminary program included a year of internship at the First Lutheran Church in Ottumwa, IA in 1957, and Ralph was ordained as a Lutheran Pastor in Jamestown, NY on June 22, 1958. Ralph and Novalee’s marriage brought forth two sons with Shawn in 1957 and Scott in 1959.
Through Ralph’s ministry, he served the Augustana Evangelical and the rural Skaraborg Lutheran Churches while residing in Manson from 1958 to 1962. He served the Zion Lutheran Church in Gowrie from 1962 to 1968. While Pastor at Zion, he served on a committee of community leaders that brought Gowrie its beloved municipal swimming pool. Ralph served as the Senior Pastor of the First Lutheran Church in Des Moines from 1968 to 1974. During Ralph’s ministry in Iowa, he also served as Chairman of the Board for the Iowa Lutheran Home for the Aged in Madrid, IA.
Ralph married Margaret Madden on August 16th, 1976, and participated in a Chaplaincy program during 1977 at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. Prior to retirement, Ralph and Margaret moved to Texas to serve Christ Lutheran Church in San Angelo. Following their move back to Iowa, Ralph and Margaret thoroughly enjoyed retirement life in Des Moines with winters in Key West, Florida. Margaret sadly passed away from mesothelioma in July of 1989.
Ralph married Ruby Davis on May 16th, 1991, and they have enjoyed life in retirement at scenic Wild Turkey Ridge in the beautiful country west of Chariton. Ralph and Ruby relished entertaining family and friends until the advent of declining health from his Parkinson’s. Ralph was known for his excellent memory, great story telling, engaging conversations, and love of family. Outside of his lifelong devotion to religious study, his hobbies included gardening, barbecuing, and travel.
Ralph was preceded in death by father, Severt; mother, Ethel; brother, John; and wife, Margaret Hanson.
Ralph’s surviving family members include wife, Ruby Hanson; his two sons, Shawn Hanson (Nancy) and Scott Hanson (Ruth); his five grandchildren: Adam Hanson (Abby), Natalie Kauffman (Kevin), Dr. Scott Hanson (Valery), Keaton Hanson (Michelle Thomas), Emma Crane (Darren); and his nine great grandchildren: Esther Hanson, Theodore Hanson, Louis Hanson, John Kauffman, Gracie Kauffman, Henry Kauffman, James Hanson, George Hanson, and Harper Crane.