Gladys Lorraine Hansen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Gladys is the last survivor of five children born into a Glenwood Springs pioneer family, with history in the town dating back to 1889. Her father, Amos Jackson Dickson, a true renaissance man, owned and operated the Glenwood Post for 34 years. Everyone in the family was involved in the business. A thinker and writer, Amos took his position of influence seriously. The family lived in a little house on Minter Avenue, and were very active in the Methodist Church and general community.
A studious child, Gladys earned the designation of Salutatorian when she graduated from high school in 1926. Aspiring to be an elementary school teacher, she attended Colorado Teachers College in Greeley, graduating in 1931 with a Bachelor’s degree in Education. She returned to the local area and taught second grade in Glenwood Springs for a total of 34 years.
A dedicated teacher, her students learned the fundamentals well. She sensitized her students to understand others who had difficulties or disadvantages and encouraged them to have compassion. She often used negative incidents among her students to teach positive values. During the summer, she travelled throughout the United States with other university women.
She married Anker Hansen in 1942. They lived on his ranch in Spring Valley for a year, then moved into town to her present home. They had three children: Karen, Norman and Keith. Anker worked as a plumber and mechanic, as well as a property manager. After long illness, he passed away in 1956 and Gladys shouldered the responsibilities alone.
At that time, women could not teach while married. After 11 years as a professional, she entered into a life of marriage, parenthood and owning and managing property. The powers that be eventually allowed married women to teach, and she returned to teaching full-time after another 11 years.
She lost her youngest son, Keith, a talented musician, in a fatal car crash in 1970 when he was 24 years old. She retired from teaching in 1973 but continued to manage property into her mid-90’s.
After retirement, she travelled to the Far East and India, and throughout the U.S. She was a lifelong member of Methodist Church, member of the Order of the Eastern Star, and a volunteer for the Frontier Historical Society. Most of her life, she enjoyed excellent health, walked everywhere, and appeared at events all over town. Norman, her son, friends, and church members watched over her in her later years.
She is survived by her children Karen Joyce Cato of Minneapolis, Norman Ray Hansen of Glenwood Springs, granddaughters Kristin Cato of Berkeley, CA and Eirika Raelynn Hansen of Aspen and by nephew Eddie Downing of Glenwood Springs.
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