Allen Hanson, 51

Allen “Al” Hanson, age 51, of Darwin, MN, passed away Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Norman Township, Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota.

Allen “Al” Hanson was born Dec. 25, 1969.

Al started life as the only son of Leo and Sharon Hanson on New Year’s Eve 1969 in the blizzard of all blizzards. It was a sign of the life Al would lead – always on the move.

From his dad, he learned a love of tinkering, building, and swearing.

From his mom, he learned about nature, working hard, being overly passionate about hockey, and how to love.

It was from both of them he learned to be a guy who helped everyone, and developed his interest in engineering.

Al attended school in Litchfield, where he met many lifelong friends and enjoyed playing football, baseball, track, and where his love of hockey began. On his high school hockey team, he was considered the enforcer, protecting his friends and teammates. Those protective instincts followed him throughout his life.

Al moved to Grand Forks, ND in August 1988, and attended the University of North Dakota, where he double majored in mechanical engineering and engineering management. He had several co-op assignments during his college years. Al loved being part of the Fighting Sioux family and made great memories during his college years.

He graduated in May 1994. Following graduation, Al returned home to Darwin and began his career in engineering which spanned the next 27 years, the last 15 at 3M in Hutchinson, and Brookings, SD.

During Al’s senior year at UND, he met Melanie Mathiason and the connection was intense and immediate. They were married June 10, 2000, in Dassel, and were blessed with two children, Zada and Gavin. Al was an incredible husband and dad and loved his family more than anything.

Al’s greatest source of pride was his family. Spending time with them at the lake, in the rink, coaching his kids in their activities, and cheering on the Vikings made him happy. Well, maybe happy to cheer on the Vikings is a stretch.

Al was a man who made a lasting impact wherever he went. He was a talented leader, loyal, compassionate, and accepting of people for who they were.

He was always willing to jump in and help anyone who needed it, selflessly putting others first.

Al had a smile that lit up the room and a boisterous laugh that was infectious. He loved coaching and encouraging everyone he knew to be their best in life, whether it was on the ice in a hockey rink or on the floor in the factory.

Imparting skills to the next generation is something he did naturally through his love of the outdoors, nature while tinkering and hunting.

Al was a man of many talents which included being a phenomenal chef and he always enjoyed hosting family and friends with lots of delicious food and usually a few fireworks.

He was a project master. There wasn’t an idea that Mel had that Al couldn’t bring to life with their woodworking creations. No matter what challenge was presented, Al had a way of figuring out how to fix it.

While Al wasn’t a religious man, he lived out what Jesus commanded us to do: love your neighbor, and Al loved big. While his presence in our lives will no longer be physical, his legacy will live on in all of us, as we too love like Al.

Al is survived by his wife, Melanie; children, Zada and Gavin; sisters-in-law, Michelle (Chad) Simonson, Mardelle (Barry) Buechler, Stephanie (Sam) Striegel, and Jacque Mathiason; as well as several nieces and nephews.

Al was preceded in death by his parents, Leo and Sharon Hanson; sister, Dixie Hanson; several, several dogs and extended family.

A memorial service took place Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, at 10 a.m. at Dassel Rod & Gun Club. A gathering of family and friends took place one hour prior to the service at the Dassel Rod & Gun Club.

Arrangements were by the Hantge Funeral Chapel in Darwin. Online obituaries and guest book available at www.hantge.com.

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