Shirley Hanson

Shirley Hanson

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Shirley Ann Hanson, age 88, beloved mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend unexpectedly passed from this life on June 30, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and desire to keep those precious to Shirley safe, a graveside service will be held Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at the Gilbert Cemetery near Gilbert, Iowa. Masks are strongly encouraged for all.

Shirley was born on August 8, 1931 in St. Charles, Iowa to Walter and Edna (McCuddin) Johnson, growing up in New Virginia. After graduating from New Virginia High School in 1949, Shirley attended Iowa State University (ISU) majoring in home economics. It was at ISU that she met the love of her life on a blind date, Cliff Hanson, a farm operations major from Blairsburg, Iowa.

After graduating from ISU, Cliff and Shirley were married on July 5, 1953. They lived near Blairsburg where Cliff farmed with his father. Shirley taught home economics at Kamrar High School from 1953-1954 before starting a family. Together with Cliff, she raised two daughters, Karen and Carol. Her parenting formula was equal parts love, patience, encouragement and grace; a good sense of humor and ready smile; the occasional “Johnson look;” and most importantly, an unfailing ability to always listen and keep an “I’m only going to tell you, Mom” secret.

After the girls were grown, Shirley returned to college to complete coursework in early childhood education. She co-owned and taught preschool in Blairsburg with good friend, Bernie Sykes, for many years.

Shirley loved the regular family vacations to Colorado and Wyoming, trips with her sisters and their husbands to Montana, basketball games at Hilton Coliseum, cheering on the Cyclones with Cliff, concerts at the Civic Center in Des Moines, and hitting the links in Jewell or at the Briggs Woods Golf Course. Shirley was always actively involved in circle at church, first in Blairsburg at the United Church of Christ, then after moving to Webster City, Asbury Methodist. She was a long-time member of PEO and RSVP volunteer.

After retiring in Webster City and one too many Iowa winters, Cliff and Shirley decided to make a second home in Mesa, Arizona at Valle del Oro. For 25 years, they thoroughly enjoyed the warm sunshine of the southwest, the Phoenix Suns, watching the Cyclones with all the other Iowa State fans at R.T. O’ Sullivan’s, the symphony, volunteering, Organ Stop Pizza with their granddaughter, lots of golf and the company of a wonderful group of friends.

When back in Iowa, Shirley enjoyed her Monday and Wednesday coffee groups, lunch with old friends, a really good book, a challenging jigsaw puzzle, mastering the iPad and always, time with family.

Shirley is survived by daughters Karen Hanson, West Des Moines, Iowa, and Carol Mitts (Jeff), Glenwood, Iowa; granddaughter Jennifer Mitts (Aaron Jordan), Ames, Iowa; sisters Carolyn (Dick) Gustafson and Leona (Jim) Weeks, brother-in-law, Fred Murphy, as well as cousins, nieces and nephews.

After 65 years of marriage, Shirley was preceded in death by husband and best friend, Cliff, who she missed every single day for the past two years.

Shirley was also predeceased by her parents, sister, Lois Murphy, father and mother-in-law, Hans and Hazel Hanson; sister and brother-in-law, Edith and Jeff Rasmusson; brother and sister-in-law, Clint and Jeanette Hanson; sister-in-law, Virginia Hanson, along with other relatives and cherished friends.

For all who knew Shirley, her unassuming sweetness, unfailing ability to love unconditionally, enjoy a good laugh, and always be a loyal friend will be missed terribly, but she remains forever in our hearts.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the Iowa State University Foundation General Scholarship Endowment Fund, in memory of Shirley, or Asbury United Methodist Church.

Condolences can be expressed online at
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Deb West

Posted at 12:30pm
So sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. May her memory provide you with comfort.

Susan and Tim Overmiller

Posted at 09:41am
In memory of your mother, Carol. Prayers for you and your family.
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Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 12:58pm
Thinking of you and sending love and support.
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Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 12:41pm
May your memories of Shirley bring you comfort and peace. Shirley was a wonderful friend who will be dearly missed.
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Jenn Baughman

Posted at 04:20pm
Such a fun time last summer with the Johnson Cousins!

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