|Birth: ||Sep. 11, 1917|
|Death: ||Apr. 9, 2008|
Being married to a well-known Santa Rosa car dealer, it was only fitting that Alyce Hansel had a passion for cars.
As a young mother, she was well known around town for driving the most brightly colored station wagons to roll off the lot of her husband Walter's Ford dealership. Later, she drove a Lincoln Town Car, sometimes with an abandon that worried her five kids.
Hansel, whose outsized personality endeared her to family and friends, died Wednesday at her Santa Rosa home of causes related to cancer. She was 90.
When she was 88, Hansel finally gave up driving at the urging of her family. She'd gotten a number of tickets but she talked herself out of a number, too. Those officers probably fell victim to Hansel's charms, which more often were on display at the many social gatherings she enjoyed.
"She really sparkled," said said her son Henry Hansel, who along with his brother, Stephen, are the principals in the Hansel Auto Group, which includes eight dealerships.
Alyce Madeline O'Connor was born on Sept. 11, 1917 in Fond Du Lac, Wisc. and moved with her family to California when her father, an insurance agent, took a job in Stockton.
Ulysses O'Connor's untimely death left his wife, Mildred Beaucage, to raise six children on her own.
Alyce O'Connor was only 14 at the time. Being raised in a large family and having to fend for herself to some degree helped shape the mother she one day would become.
"She always had eyes behind her back," said Henry Hansel. "You knew she knew."
After graduating from Stockton High School, Alyce O'Connor attended Stanford University where she met and fell in love with Walter Hansel. The couple were married in 1941, shortly before he was sent to the Pacific to work as a supply officer aboard a Navy ship.
After the war, the couple settled in Vacaville, where Walter Hansel opened a Ford dealership. In 1961, he went into partnership in Santa Rosa with former mayor Robert Bishop.
Living in Santa Rosa suited Alyce Hansel. When she wasn't with her kids, she was planning parties, cooking great meals, volunteering or playing bridge.
In later years she enjoyed attending horse races at the Sonoma County Fair and was always dressed nicely for the occasion.
When she lost her husband 1998, Alyce Hansel relied as always on her Catholic faith to help her cope.
She is survived by her five children: Henry Hansel, Stephen Hansel and Gretchen Miller, all of Santa Rosa, Chuck Hansel of La Quinta and Helen Hansel of Oakland.
She also is survived by a brother and sister, Steve O'Connor and Joan DeMoro, both of Santa Cruz.
A rosary is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sunday at St. Sebastian's Catholic Church in Sebastopol, followed by a funeral mass at 11 a.m. Monday at the same location.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Psychotherapy Institute at 2232 Carleton St., Berkeley, CA, 94704 or to a charity of choice.
-- Derek J. Moore
Published in The Press Democrat April 10, 2008
HANSEL, Alyce - Died peacefully on April 9, 2008 surrounded by her loving family. She is preceded in death by her husband Walter in 1998. She is survived by her five children and their spouses: Chuck and Nancy Hansel, Henry and Marilyn Hansel, Stephen and Carol Hansel, Gretchen and Doug Miller, Helen Hansel and Mary Tennes. She is further survived by nine grandchildren: Kim (Chris), Stephanie (Tim), Heather (Dave), Justin (Alicia), Heidi (Barry), Kelly, Hilary, Weston, Kallie. She leaves behind six great-grandchildren. Dear Sister of Steve O'Connor of Santa Cruz and Joan DeMoro of Santa Cruz. Alyce was a generous supporter of many local charities. In 2006, she was awarded the philanthropist of the year, along with the rest of the Hansel family by the United Way of Sonoma/Mendocino/Lake. She supported Catholic Charities, St. Sebastian's Catholic Church, Wells Fargo Center of the Arts and countless other organizations. The center of her life was her family. She was an outstanding mother and grandmother and was known appropriately and simply as "great" to her great-grandchildren. She was the third of six children and was a loving and loved sister and aunt. The family would like to acknowledge and thank Sandra A'Costa whose care and companionship in the last 11/2 years of Alyce's life, allowed her to live life to the fullest and stay in the home that she loved until the very end. The family also wishes to thank Memorial Hospice, whose short but amazing intervention was critical in Alyce's last days. A Rosary will be held at St. Sebastian's Catholic Church, 7983 Covert Lane, Sebastopol, on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, April 14 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Sebastian's. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Alyce's name to The Psycho therapy Institute (Helen Hansel is Executive Director) at 2232 Carleton St., Berkeley, CA. 94704 or the charity of your choice. Family assisted by PARENT-SORENSEN MORTUARY- Sebastopol, 829-5433
Published in the Press Democrat from 4/10/2008 - 4/13/2008.
Created by: Geraldine "Gerry" Hume...
Record added: Apr 14, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26018575