Douglas L. Hanson


Douglas Louis Hanson, 79, of Willmar, MN died on April 26th, 2023, after a short battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. His celebration of life will be 11:00 AM, Wednesday, May 17th at Eagle Lake Lutheran Church in Willmar. Visitation will take place 2 hours prior to the service and lunch will be served following. Burial will be at the Vikor Church Cemetery following lunch.

Doug was born on April 26th, 1944, to Esther and Louis Hanson in Willmar, Minnesota. He grew up in rural Dovre Township and had a wonderful childhood, attending a one room schoolhouse (mostly with his siblings and cousins) and living life on the farm. Here he developed a love of agriculture that would follow him through his life. He graduated from Willmar High School in 1962, attended Willmar Community College and the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1966 with a degree in Agricultural Education.

On September 18, 1965, Doug married Judy Hanson (Johnson) at Bethel Lutheran Church in Willmar. They immediately became soul mates and were blessed with 57 happily married years. They enjoyed many common interests - they most loved traveling, taking many spontaneous road trips. Fall was their favorite time to travel, enjoying nature’s beautiful colors. A special trip was to the New England states in the fall celebrating their 50th anniversary. Doug & Judy also enjoyed several years of camping, fishing, antiquing and in later years canoeing. They have two sons, Kyle and Kevin.

Most important was time spent with family, following grandchildren’s activities, camping, cousin sleepovers, traditional Labor Day weekends together at the lake. Doug especially enjoyed the yearly tradition of making lefse and flatbread for holidays with the grandkids.

Doug started his career as an Agriculture Teacher in Rush City, Minnesota and moved to Willmar, Minnesota in 1969 where he continued teaching for the next 31 years. He was involved with the Future Farmers of America organization from 1958 to March of 2023 as a student, an advisor and a mentor. His career was devoted to helping students find meaningful lives in the pursuit of agriculture.

Throughout his life Doug served as a wrestling coach, the president of the NEA Teachers Union, the President of Calvary Lutheran Church, President of the Minnesota Agriculture Educators 1990-91, he was the 1999 State Teacher of the Year from the Minnesota FFA, 2010 NAAE Outstanding Service Citation Award recipient, the National Teacher of the Year and advisor of the National FFA Program of the Year and was a Career Development Coordinator for the Minnesota FFA Association. He received the degree of Honorary American Farmer, the Blue and Gold Award, the MAAE Presidential Award of Merit and was awarded the 2022 Day-Fredrick award in recognition of his lifetime of service to the FFA and FFA Alumni. In his retirement, Doug particularly enjoyed mentoring new agriculture instructors through the Teacher Induction Program at the University of Minnesota Agricultural Education Department. He was actively serving on the Kandiyohi Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Board of Supervisors where he was able to instill his passion for conservation of our natural resources.

A fantastic Grandpa, he was happiest spending time with his family and especially with his grandchildren. He loved the outdoors and loved being in his boat catching the big ones. Time spent in the boat with Doug was always enjoyable. He treasured his yearly trips to Canada with his fishing buddies.

Doug is survived by his wife of 57 years Judy (Johnson), his son Kyle (John Stumme), son Kevin (Kim), and his grandchildren Paige, Eli, Jace and Henry. He is also survived by his siblings Larry, Eileen and Ralph (Karen).

He was preceded in death by his parents Esther and Louis Hanson.

Memorials are preferred to the Minnesota FFA Foundation (

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