Obituary for Geraldine McCann Hansen

Geraldine McAnn Hansen, 83, of Stephens City, Virginia, died Saturday, May 28, 2011, in a local nursing home.

She was born February the 14th 1928 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Geraldine Marie Luxford, the daughter of Fred and Mary Luxford. Gerry, as everyone called her, had an older brother, Eugene. She and her brother grew up in Harlan, Iowa in the hardest of times during the Great Depression. Her family was very poor and both parents suffered from alcohol abuse. She never spoke much about these times, however, she told the story they were so poor that she and Eugene would gather coal along the railroad tracks that which had fallen from the trains to heat their tent. She felt the pressures of the other side of the tracks. In grade school the principal had them taken to the gym showers where they were scrubbed and washed by older students because they weren’t sent to school clean. This degrading act scarred my mother for life and never let her forget about being poor and not having the simple basics of life, like water, food and heat.

It was her grandmother, Nora Pike that raised and mentored her through her teen years. When she was 16 she met Edgar Hansen one evening at the Harlan, Iowa skating rink. She loved to skate and was a very good skater. Edgar was a very handsome man that had polio, so he would watch her skate. Even though Edgar had polio, he still drove a car and never let his disabilities hamper him. She was so in love. If he couldn’t make it to town from his home, a farm 15 miles from town, Gerry would ride her bicycle to see him. In 1947 they got married and in 1948 she had her only child, Curtis Robert, on her grandmother’s bed in a small house in Harlan, Iowa. Grandma Pike delivered her boy.

They settled in Elk Horn, Iowa. They bought an old building on Main Street and Edgar’s father who was a carpenter helped them fix it up. The front of the building was Edgars watch repair shop and behind the store were consisting of 2 bedrooms and living quarters. Gerry worked across the street at a nursing home as a nurse’s aid. She made a wonderful home for their new family. Every Christmas she would craft a window display for the store and she won several 1st place awards for her artistic talent and craftsmanship of these displays.

Gerry was the GREATEST MOTHER!!!! She was den mother to Curt’s Cub Scout buddies. She was mom to all the towns’ boys, fixing their favorites, Pizza. After a snow storm, all the boys in town would scoop sidewalks for their spending money. About noon or so all the sidewalks in town would be scooped and tired boys would come to our house where she would fix and give everyone Pizza. She was always there for her family and friends. She mentored me helping always with my paper route, rain, sleet, snow; Elk Horn always got their paper on time. Growing up in a small Midwest town, I never knew or thought we were poor, because there was always something to eat. To this day I swear I thought my mother invented hamburger helper. She filled our house with pride, love, and caring. By 1954 we had a TV, a fancy window fan and a Chevy. Life was great!
In 1961 my father, Edgar passed away, his polio twisted body had created too much strain on his heart. As a young boy I was saddened by my father’s death, but truly didn’t understand death. Gerry was now alone to raise her son by herself. Her mentor and support, Grandma Pike had passed away a few years earlier and now the love of her life was gone too. Empty and alone she stayed strong, raising a teenage boy by herself. More jobs, watching our store, whatever it took to keep things together. By 1966 she had gotten me through high school, saved and bought a new car, and was getting a well paying job in Harlan, Iowa. The new job was at a local hog processing plant. The highest paying job in this rural community it was going on strike and she was offered a job. She took it still not fearing the picket lines. After a couple of weeks at this job the picket lines were getting intensified. To discourage the non union workers from going to work they blew her new car up right in front of our house on Main street and wrote a message on our store window “No scabs”. This was a serious threat; however, she was determined and caught a ride to work with a friend. She taught me courage.

Seeing the courage of my mother it gave me the strength to go to Vietnam Being an only child I would have been exempt from going. But to be someone, she taught me, you have to stand up to things you fear and stand up for your beliefs. When I returned from Vietnam she had instilled in me a determination to be successful, however difficult.
I ended up in Washington, D.C. after my Army service. Mother had gone to Beauty school in Council Bluffs, Iowa and now had a trade to support herself. She had no close relatives back in Iowa so she sold everything and moved to Virginia to be with her son. She came to Virginia and started teaching at a local beauty school in Annandale. She made some good friends and was near her pride and joy son. This was great because, however mature or knowledgeable a young man thinks he is. Mothers Know Best. Thanks mom for always being there for me.

She worked for K Mart as a counter person and retired from there in 1987. She then worked in the family business at State Line Auto Auction. She headed up a team of retirees to pick up and deliver cars for the auction, where every one called her mom. One time she was sent to Cumberland MD to pick up an auction employee that had been incarcerated for a domestic issue. When she arrived to pick him up, they asked if he was related, since he was being held for the domestic issue. Her reply was she didn’t know anything other than she was to pick him up and return him to the auction. Well when they brought him out for his release the first words out of his mouth was “Hey mom”.

She was an avid bowler in her 40’s with a top game of 260 and a league 200 average. Working and making crafts and needle work was her favorite pastime along with crossword puzzles. She loved to read mystery novels and watch the who done its on TV. At Christmas she always made something for the grandkids, family and friends These weren’t store bought glitter gifts, but a gift from the heart from a woman who gave whatever she had to the people she loved. She was very selective about her friends, but the few she let near her are true gems. She was an American Folk Artist and loved all types of needle work. She was a beautiful honest person in character and words.

Surviving is a son, Curtis Robert Hansen and his wife, Shelia of Delaplane, VA; three, grandchildren, Richard Douglas Beard III of Marshall, VA, Christopher Brandy Hansen of Leesburg, VA and Renee Hansen Creswell of Fredericksburg, VA; six great grandchildren, Shannon Rose of Leesburg, VA, Evan Rose of Leesburg, VA, Gillian Ann Hansen of Leesburg, VA, Olivia Creswell of Fredericksburg, VA, Marshall Gutshall of Fredericksburg, VA and Richard Beard IV of Marshall, VA.

A granddaughter, Ann Marie Beard Gutshall and a brother, Eugene Luxford preceded her in death.

A memorial service will be held 1:00 P. M. Friday, June 3, 2011 at the Enders & Shirley Funeral Home Chapel, Berryville. Burial will be held at a later date in Elk Horn, Iowa.

I give my special thanks to the care givers at Lynn Care in Front Royal, VA. You are all incredible, caring, loving professionals that gave her an unsurpassed quality of life in her final days.

Momma may you look down from Heaven
And know your time and contributions on this earth
Are appreciated and not forgotten

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