|Birth: ||Jan. 15, 1921|
|Death: ||Jul. 16, 1974|
ROBERT ADAIR HANSEN was born in Mound, MN, the only child of Reda Marian Hansen, his father having died in a traffic accident shortly before Bob's birth. After spending his elementary school years at St. Benedict's Boys' School, he graduated as valedictorian of Mound High School in 1942. At Mound, he distinguished himself not only as superb in academics but as a stellar athlete, quarterbacking the football team and playing baseball and basketball. He starred in high school plays and edited both the school newspaper and yearbook. Bob also developed a mean game of tennis and was proud of having beaten the eventual Minnesota state tennis champion with his devilish backspin. Bob's high school football coach hoped to get him a football scholarship to the University of Minnesota, telling the Golden Gophers' coach, "The kid's gonna grow, the kid's gonna grow." As Bob always ended the story, "The kid never grew," and the 5'6" Bob volunteered for the Army Air Corps after high school.
Bob entered West Point on a Presidential appointment in 1945, beginning lifelong friendships with roommates Dan Brooksher, Dick Rosenblatt, and Dick Henry. He lost his mother to a sudden heart attack his Yearling year but continued his cadet life, participating in lacrosse and wrestling. He became known for his fondness for arguing about anything. He wasn't particularly drawn to studying, preferring instead to curl up with a good novel but, nevertheless, still managed to graduate in the top 15 percent of his class.
Upon graduation, Bob set a course for a career in the Air Force. He married Constance Reed DuBois in 1950, and they went to Olmstead AFB in Middletown, PA, for one year before transferring to the 2143rd Air Weather Wing in Tokyo during 1952-53, when Daughter Barbara was born. Bob earned a master's degree in political science from Columbia University in 1955 before becoming a USMA instructor for three years in the Social Studies Department. Daughter Reda was born at West Point.
Bob was later assigned to Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, TX, until 1959, when he was sent to the 479th Recon Tech Squadron in Wiesbaden, Germany, where daughter Laura was born. Leaving Wiesbaden in 1963, Bob taught ROTC at North Dakota State University until 1966, when he was assigned Air Force Intelligence photo-reconnaissance duties at JUSMAG/MACTHAI in Bangkok.
Bob retired from the Air Force in August 1968 as a lieutenant colonel, and the family returned to Fargo, ND, for a year before he and Connie decided to pursue their Ph.D.s at the University of Colorado-Boulder. The marriage ended in divorce in 1969.
Bob had completed everything except his dissertation for his Ph.D. in political science and had taught in that department at CU, when he married Patricia Kennedy Geston in 1974. For their honeymoon, they traveled to Bob's 25th Class Reunion, which they both enjoyed immensely. Seven weeks after his wedding, Bob died suddenly of a massive heart attack. The heart attack came on the heels of a fierce tennis match, exactly as Bob would have liked.
Bob's family took what small comfort they could in the fact that Bob had never predicted a long life for himself (given his mother's early death), and had therefore lived life to its fullest degree. There was no undertaking that Bob did not pursue with passion and tenacity, as anyone who ever played tennis, golf, or bridge against him can testify. He also possessed a tender, sentimental side, crying unashamedly at sad movies. He pursued a lifelong love of literature by not only reading, but writing, poetry. He read voraciously across all genres and considered it a crime to throw away a book - ten huge mahogany bookcases traveled with the family during his Air Force career, and in later years, were double and triple-stacked with books. Bob loved music and made up in enthusiasm what he lacked in singing talent. His record collection was eclectic, including classical, opera, country, jazz, and rock. He owned Beatles albums long before his teenage daughters ever did.
Whatever Bob did, he was determined to do well. His daughter Reda recalls a day when she was in second grade. She was helping her father mow the lawn when he suddenly paused and, out of the blue, said, "I don't care if you grow up to be a garbage man. Just make sure you're the best damned garbage man there ever was." (To date, no one in the family has pursued a career in garbage collection.)
Through his military career and beyond, Bob accumulated a wealth of friends. Those who served under him in the Air Force remember him as consummately fair albeit occasionally loud. He was an officer but had something of the soul of an enlisted man, often socializing with those far below him in rank. One of Bob's former ROTC students in Fargo, Don Homuth, recalls serving in Viet Nam while the Hansen family was in Thailand. Arriving in Bangkok on R&R, Homuth had a difficult time convincing his driver that he did not want to visit a GI hotel, and that COL Hansen really was expecting a visit from lowly SGT Homuth at the very elegant Oriental Hotel. Still meeting with reluctance, Homuth insisted the driver call COL Hansen. He still laughs describing the driver with the phone held at arm's length, able to hear each and every syllable of Bob's loud tirade. Eight years later, at Bob's Fargo memorial service, Homuth sang "The Corps."
Bob is survived by his wife, Patricia Hansen; and daughters Barbara Higgins and her husband Greg; Reda Jenniges, her husband Tony, and their daughter Julie; and Laura Bird and her husband George. He is also survived by his stepchildren - Susan Bridges, her husband Jeff, and their daughters Isabelle, Jessica, and Hayley; and Bill Geston, his wife Connie, and their daughter Jamey.
Patricia Jean Kennedy Hansen (1931 - 2013)
United States Military Academy Post Cemetery
New York, USA
Created by: Trent Olsen
Record added: Jan 16, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103685116