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Melvin "Mel" Richard Hanson, 95, of Park Rapids, formerly of Nevis, died Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 at Heritage Living Center in Park Rapids.

Melvin was born Dec. 3, 1918, at Hills, the son of Norwegian immigrants Carl and Nellie (Hemness) Hanson. He grew up and attended schooI in Nevis.

He worked on the railroad and in the Civilian Conservation Corps until World War II. Mel entered the U.S. Army in April of 1942. He was in the Signal Corps, serving 1.5 years overseas taking part in five campaigns, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe. Staff Sergeant Hanson was honorably discharged in October 1945.

Returning home, Mel earned his college teaching degree from Bemidji State University. He began his teaching career in 1952 at Lake Park; he also taught in Jamestown, N.D.; Poplar, Mont.; and Lake Park. He earned his advanced Education Administration degree from North Dakota State University and subsequently served as superintendent in a number of schools in North Dakota and northern Minnesota.

He was united in marriage to Dorothy Mae Chan June 9, 1956, in Alexandria. They lived in Warren from 1965 until 1990, where they raised their children and where Mel was Superintendent of Schools. While there, he oversaw an ambitious school-building program and was active in the Minnesota Association of School Administrators, which conferred its highest award on him at his retirement.

Following retirement in 1988, he and Dorothy briefly lived in Arizona but eventually settled in his home town of Nevis, where they both were active members of Bethany Lutheran Church and other organizations.

Throughout his life, Mel was an avid photographer, and in later years he became a skilled Ham Radio operator despite his vision loss. He was also known for his gregariousness and sociability.

Dorothy passed away in October 2011.

Melvin is survived by his three children, Kimberly (Pat) Jacobs of Tucson, Ariz., Kevin (Kathy) Hanson of San Diego, Calif. and Kent K.B. Hanson of San Francisco, Calif.; two grandchildren, Kayla Hanson and Kristopher Hanson; brother, Pastor Dennis (Jeri) Hanson of Freeland, Wash.; many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Dorothy; sister, Thelma Sather; and brother, Kenneth Hanson.

Memorial service: 11 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 21 at Bethany Lutheran Church in Nevis. Pastor Darrell Morton will officiate.

Visitation: One hour prior to the services at the church on Tuesday.

Military Honors will be provided by the Star of the North Marine Corps League Honors Team. Raymond Vaadeland will play military Taps.

Friends may leave online condolences at