Myrna Marie Hanson, age 81, passed away peacefully at her home in Rush City on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, after battling metastatic cancer for a decade.
Myrna was born Sept. 3, 1938, in Red Wing, Minnesota to Vernon and Stella (Haight) Leonard, the second of three children. Myrna grew up near Ellsworth, Wisconsin on a farm close to her paternal grandparents. She attended the one-room school house in Beldenville and graduated from Ellsworth High School in 1956.
Myrna worked a variety of interesting jobs over the years including key punch operator at Red Wing Shoe. She was a receptionist for several doctors in the 1960s and 1970s for Dr. Jonas in Ellsworth, Wisconsin, Dr. John Brown in St. Paul, and Dr. Wilkinson in Rush City. In the 1980s Myrna held a variety of jobs which included a paraprofessional for the Rush City High School and CE Jacobson Elementary working with children and adolescents with disabilities. Myrna accepted a part-time position as secretary at Rush City Baptist Church working with Pastors Dick Hunter and John Carlson. In this position Mike Carroll talked to Myrna about coming to work for Dan Rinden and himself at the Olson and Swanson Funeral Chapels in Rush City and Pine City as their office manager. Myrna often remarked that she worked in a “one woman office” with “the guys” for more than 20 years before retiring in 2015, often commenting it was her work at the chapel with “the guys” that “kept her going.” In 1994, Myrna and Ginny Thorn started Fabrics, Fashions, and More in Rush City and ran the store together for nearly 10 years. Myrna enjoyed working with people, often taking time to build relationships and making people feel at ease with her beautiful smile and caring personality.
In service to others, Myrna volunteered and participated in several organizations over the years in the community of Rush City. Myrna was part of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at CE Jacobson Elementary school where she had fond memories of helping with a community Halloween party. Myrna met several lifelong friends at a homemakers club. She enjoyed working with children and families at the Rush City Baptist Church. Myrna was involved with the North Stars 4-H club, co-leading the club with other mothers who would later become “The Camper Girls.” Myrna greatly enjoyed serving and providing the community of Rush City with what they needed at the Rush City Food Shelf.
Myrna married Henry Therman Hanson in 1968 and together raised three daughters, Michelle, Amy, and Annette. The couple started their lives together in Columbia Heights, Minnesota before moving to Rush City in 1970. Myrna helped Therman on their farm where they raised beef cattle, pigs and Australian blue heeler cattle dogs. After Therman’s death in 1990 Myrna worked diligently to make sure her daughters were provided with everything they needed to cope with the difficult loss, always putting their needs above her own.
In September of 1992, Myrna was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a mastectomy and completing chemotherapy Myrna enjoyed 17 years of remission during which she enjoyed spending time with her family and friends, traveling, supporting her grandchildren at their activities. In March of 2010, Myrna discovered breast cancer had snuck back into her life, invading her bones, liver and lung. Myrna was treated with radiation before starting hormone replacement therapy and eventually chemotherapy. Myrna and her care team often discussed maintaining quality of life rather than quantity of life. In 2019, Myrna made the decision to stop cancer treatments in favor of a quality life. Throughout Myrna’s battle with cancer she remained positive, courageous and independent. Myrna was always concerned about others and what they’re going through more than herself, often noting, “There’s always someone who has it worse than I do.”
Myrna is survived by her daughters Amy (Eric) Frye of Burnsville, Annette (Corey) Sias of Rush City; grandchildren Karen (Arlen) Wine of Westminster, Colorado, Cecelia (Cole) Fealy of Stanchfield, Megan Frye (Tom Schutte) of Seattle, Washington, Brandon Frye of Burnsville, Sam Sias of Rush City, Zachary Frye of Burnsville; great-grandchildren Ender Wine, Ezra Wine, Isla Fealy; siblings Elwood (Sharon) Leonard of Ellsworth, Wisconsin, Carol (John) Meacham of Spooner, Wisconsin; sisters-in-law Vada Hanson of Rush City, Diane “Dinny” Hanson of Cambridge; many nieces, nephews and friends.
Myrna was preceded in death by her parents Vernon and Stella Leonard; husband Therman Hanson; daughter Michelle (Ki) Hernandez; many brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
Reverend Nathan Baker-Trinity will officiate at funeral services for Myrna at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Rush City. Friends may gather to support her family from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16 at the Olson Funeral Chapel in Rush City and also one hour prior to the service at the church.
A spring interment is planned in the First Lutheran Cemetery of Rush City. Memorials in Myrna’s memory may be directed to: Rush City Food Shelf or the Rush City Education Foundation.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to: Funeral and Cremation Service of Rush City, Olson Chapel.