Jerome L. “Jerry” Hanson

Jerome Lewis Hanson slipped away peacefully at home in Lawrence, on December 5, 2023, after extended decline in health.  He was born April 7, 1941, in Niagara Falls, NY, the youngest of three children of Helen Anna (Johnson) and Harold Perry Hanson.  He grew up in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, where he participated all four of his high school years in the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Program.  He studied radio and TV repair at DeVry Institute of Technology in Toronto, Ontario.  At age 21, he joined the U.S. Air Force; he served four years with Strategic Air Command.  While stationed at Forbes Air Force Base, Topeka, KS, he met Nancy K. Schweitzer.  They married on September 13, 1965.  Jerome was honorably discharged from the Air Force in November, and the couple moved to Toronto, Ontario.  Jerome was employed for two years by Normalair Canada; then two years for an aviation-related U.S. company on Long Island, NY.  In 1969, the couple returned to Kansas.  Jerome was hired in 1970 as Director of Labs with the University of Kansas Aerospace Engineering Department, a position he fulfilled for 36 years, retiring in 2006.  Jerome joined the Kansas Army National Guard, 35th Infantry Division, Lawrence, in 1976; served 16 years; was selected Outstanding Kansas Army Guardsman of the Year in 1979; and retired as First Sergeant in 1992.  Meanwhile, he volunteered with the Civil Air Patrol for 50 years, including serving five years as Commander of the Kansas Wing, achieving the rank of Colonel, and was an educator with the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education.  After retirement, Jerome became an active Lifetime Member of the American Legion, serving with the Honor Guard of Lawrence’s Dorsey-Liberty Post 14, and a term as Post Commander.  Jerome was also honored to participate as an associate member of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lawrence Lodge #2. 

Jerome loved to travel; he and Nancy enjoyed annual road trips with their daughters to Ontario to visit family and friends, and, after retirement, trips to Hawaii, England, Scotland, and France.  In June 2023 he enjoyed the privilege of a Veterans Honor Flight to Washington, DC, sponsored by the Lyndon, KS, High School community.  Jerome’s lifelong interests also included airplanes; educating young people; military, aviation, and world history; socializing; sharing his stories; and defending the U.S.A.  In recent years he enjoyed spending time with the Sunday school children at Trinity Episcopal Church; constructing scenery for his HO-gauge model trains; and promoting patriotism by handing out small American flags wherever he went.

Jerome was preceded in death by his parents; his elder brother Warren; and his nephew Mark Hanson.  He is survived by his wife Nancy K., Lawrence; his daughters and their husbands:  Laura and Gareth Skarka, Lawrence; and Celeste and Matthew Hanson-Weller, Tucson, AZ; his sister Barbara Bartlett, Orillia, Ontario; four sisters-in-law:  Nancy A. Hanson, Burlington, Ontario; Karen Keim, Lawrence; Elaine Schweitzer, Hopkins, MN; Christine Wedeking and husband Anthony, Topeka, KS; three grandchildren and one great-granddaughter, as well as five nieces and three nephews and their families in Canada and the U.S.A.

A celebration of Jerome’s life is planned for Saturday, April 6, 2024, 2:00 PM, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vermont Street, Lawrence, KS 66044, and will be live-streamed on the “Trinity Episcopal Church in Lawrence, Kansas” Facebook page.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Lawrence Visiting Nurses Association, American Legion Dorsey-Liberty Post 14; or Trinity Episcopal Church, and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Funeral Home, 120 West 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

9 Condolences

  1. Elaine Penny on December 14, 2023 at 9:04 am

    Nancy, my thoughts and prayers are with you now and in the coming year.
    Elaine Penny

  2. Stanley Hayden on December 14, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Nancy so sorry to have to read this obituary.
    We miss him at coffey Tuesday and Thursday he would bring in something to share with us. He also would bring you in on Thursday night so you and him would dance the night away. We of the coffey group are there if you need anything .

    Stanley Hayden

  3. Anne & Earl Haehl on December 14, 2023 at 7:21 pm

    Sending condolences

  4. Willem A. J. Anemaat on December 14, 2023 at 8:39 pm

    Nancy, thoughts and prayers. I have fond memories of Jerry when I was an aerospace engineering graduate student. Shooting the breeze with Jerry was always fun when he was lab director. We always had great discussions. Glad I saw him one more time at Jan Roskam’s services. I still have your little American flag.

  5. John and Stephanie Valasek on December 14, 2023 at 9:33 pm

    So sorry for your loss. We think of both of you often and with fond memories. Praying for you and your family.

  6. Chris Hardin on December 15, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    Dear Nancy,
    I’m so sorry to hear about Jerry’s passing. When I was an aero student working for the AE department in the mid to late 80’s, I worked for Jerry who was Director of Labs at the time. I really enjoyed my time with him. He taught me so much about electronics, computers and instrumentation. And he always had a great sense of humor. He was well-liked by all of us that were privileged to know him. I know how much he was loved and that he will be deeply missed.

  7. Donna Gerren (KU Ph.D. 1995) on December 31, 2023 at 11:39 pm

    Dear Nancy,
    I was so sorry to hear of Jerry’s passing. He was such a help to me in the lab with the wind tunnel, as many students who went through the Aerospace Engineering program at KU can agree. He was a pleasure to work with and I always enjoyed chatting with him when time allowed. I still wear the earrings he made for me out of Canadian coins and think of you both when I do. I hope you find comfort from all these heartfelt condolences and the wonderful memories you have of Jerry.

  8. Nancy Hanson on February 24, 2024 at 3:55 pm

    Sincere thanks to all of you for your kind words, condolences, and shared memories of Jerry! They are all very helpful and much appreciated!

  9. Sue Nishikawa on April 4, 2024 at 5:41 am

    Dear Nancy, sending loving thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

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