Obituary: Ramon De Vere “Ray” Hansen

Wednesday, February 21, 2024 - 11:00am

April 28, 1926 - February 11, 2024

Lifelong newspaper publisher and author, Ramon De Vere “Ray” Hansen, passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 11, 2024, at Good Samaritan Center, Olathe, KS. He was 97. He was surrounded by family, loved ones and compassionate caregivers during the time of his passing.

Ramon was born to Raymond Earl and Minnie Marie (Lucina) Daniel Hansen on April 28, 1926, in Bloomfield, NE, the oldest of six brothers and two sisters. During his senior year, in March 1944, Ray and several classmates loaded into his 1928 Whippet and drove to the U.S. Post Office in Norfolk where they enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Two months later, upon graduation from Bloomfield High School, Ray immediately reported for active duty. He boarded the troop train in Omaha and two days later, hopped off in Sand Point, Idaho, enroute to Camp Farragut. After successfully completing basic training, Ray was assigned to serve in the Seabees, the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion. After traversing to California for final training near Catalina Island, he boarded the USS Fairland, was shipped to Seattle and eventually on to Guam where he was stationed through the end of World War II. In June 1946, he returned home and received an honorable discharge. Ray was a proud Seabee and always reflected on the critical role his unit played in helping pave the way for the military operations that transpired in the Pacific Theatre.

Ray returned to Nebraska after the War and attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln under the GI Bill. He worked his way through college and earned a Bachelor’s in Journalism where he graduated with honors on the fifth anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1949. After working for the Lincoln Journal as a cub reporter, Ray was offered an opportunity to cover the daily activities of the United States Senate in Washington D.C. He wasted no time and was on the next train to Capitol Hill. While in D.C., Ray eventually took a communications position with the newly formed International Union of Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers. In this position, Ray led the union by developing promotional materials and organizing labor campaigns where the union was seeking bargaining rights at various plants and factories in the Northeast. Ray spent eight years in the greater D.C. area before moving back to the Midwest to pursue his love of journalism and a dream of owning and operating his own newspaper.

Ray bought the Waushara Argus in Wautoma, WI, in October 1959. Two years later, Ray hired a new office manager, Donna Delight Toepper, a music teacher from the Wautoma School District, who was interested in a second job. In 1964, Mr. Hansen sold the newspaper, but the two continued to maintain contact through correspondence. Ray and Donna were united in marriage at Christ Memorial United Methodist Church on March 13, 1965, in Bloomfield. After the wedding, the couple honeymooned at the Elms Resort in Excelsior Springs, MO. Ray and Donna were married for 56 years. During that time, they spent most of those years owning, managing, and operating community newspapers in Kansas, Arkansas, and New York.

In 1965, the couple settled in Omaha, NE, where their two sons, Christopher, and Eric, were born in 1966. In 1970, the family moved to Neodesha, KS, where they owned and operated the Neodesha Sun until 1974. After a long and relaxing vacation on Lake Michigan in Door County, WI, the family acquired the Prairie Drummer in Colby, KS. In 1978, they sold the operation whereupon they moved to Siloam Springs, AR, and purchased the Interstate News. After a successful six-year run in Northwest Arkansas, in 1985, the couple relocated to Carthage, NY. Together, they went to work for the Watertown Daily Times, managing and operating the Carthage Republican Tribune until the time of their retirement.

Ray officially retired in 2001 at the age of 75; however, his writing days were far from over. Although his eyesight was continually diminishing, Ray penned and published four books in retirement, completing his last book, 30 My Newspaper Life, at the age of 92. In 2019, the couple relocated to their final home at Cedar Lake Village in Olathe, KS. Ray was grandfather to five grandchildren; Megan Turpin, Leavenworth, KS; Halie Linduff (Harrison), Shawnee; Taylor Hansen, DeSoto, KS; Grant Hansen (Lauren), Shawnee; Levi Hansen, Shawnee; and one great-granddaughter, Savannah Turpin, Leavenworth.

Ray loved reading a variety of newspapers, writing letters, and authoring his memoirs. Ray was a skilled outdoorsman, loved nature and was an avid environmentalist. He thoroughly enjoyed reading an informative book, adding to his personal library, delivering an occasional lecture and challenging family and friends to a game of Trivial Pursuit. Donna and Ray enjoyed traveling to museums and attending theatrical and musical performances in the communities where they resided. Their shared love for theater, fine dining and passion for learning, took the couple on many bus trips to Niagara on The Lake, the Shaw Festival, New York City, The Chautauqua Institute, and countless other destinations.

A military graveside service will be held at Fort Scott National Cemetery at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 26, 2024, with a private burial in Bloomfield, NE at a later date. Ray is survived by sons, Christopher (Kimberly) of Shawnee; and Eric (Angela) of Gardner. One brother also survives him, Norvin (Fuzz) Hansen (Janet) of Pender, NE; and sister Lael Greenlee (Tim) of Gothenburg, NE. Ray left many nieces and nephews as well. Ray was preceded in death by his parents, sister Peggy, brothers Raymond (Dane), Keith, Gary, and James, and loving wife of 56 years, Donna. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be sent to Olathe Health Hospice Care or Hospice House of Olathe, KS.

Ramon De Vere “Ray” Hansen
Ramon De Vere “Ray” Hansen