Cover photo for Kathryn T. Hanson's Obituary
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Kathryn T. Hanson

August 17, 1927 — March 13, 2022

Kathryn T. Hanson

Kathryn T. Hanson, age 94, of Mankato, died peacefully on Sunday, March 13th at Old Main Village. She had family by her side and many who were thinking of her from afar.

Kathryn was born on August 17, 1927 in Eagle Grove, IA. She was the eldest daughter of Tolford and Vesta (Christiansen) Thompson. Despite coming of age during the Great Depression and World War II, Kathryn recalls having a very happy childhood and never felt deprived of anything. She graduated from Eagle Grove High School in May 1945. She went on to earn her degree at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN; where she met a young veteran named Vernon Hanson. Kathryn and Vernon fell in love and were married on August 14, 1949 at Eagle Grove Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Kathryn achieved her childhood ambition of becoming a high school teacher that Fall at Rapidan High. She found her forever home in Mankato, where she and Vernon started a family in 1950. With the support of her husband and colleagues, she returned to teaching in 1957 following the birth of her three children. With an illustrious career spanning four decades, Kathryn retired in 1989. Her first love was American History but she also enjoyed her English classes in American and British Literature. Kathryn is remembered fondly by students of Franklin Junior High and Mankato East High for her passion and devotion to her profession.

In addition to her work and family life, Kathryn was an active and influential member of the community. She served on the board, including as president, of the Blue Earth County Historical Society for several years. She also served as president for the Mankato branch of the A.A.U.W and was a member of the Jaycees. Her longstanding love of author Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series was realized as a founding member of the Betsy-Tacy Society; where she volunteered her time hosting special events and offering tours of the girls’ homes (she gave her last tour in 2019 at the age of 92). Kathryn also led tours at the Hubbard House, volunteered at Goodwill, and drove for Meals-on-Wheels. She was a proud member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church from 1950 until her death.

Kathryn’s personal interests were wide and varied. She was a voracious reader and would put the list of any book enthusiast to shame. She enjoyed knitting in the years following her retirement. Kathryn also had a passion for live theatre and was a supportive patron of local, collegiate, and professional productions alike. She was a worldwide traveler with trips throughout the United States, Caribbean, Europe, and beyond. Kathryn also golfed for several years (a self-proclaimed source of frustration and subtle reminder that she couldn’t be good at everything). Most notably, she loved spending time with family and friends. Her children fondly recall their early years in the close-knit community on Petticoat Lane. Summers spent at Lake Washington hold a special place in the hearts of her grandchildren.

Kathryn lived a full life and left a particularly special mark on those around her. Her legacy will live on in the core values she imparted - her generosity of spirit, unwavering integrity, and lifelong pursuit of learning. She is survived by her daughter, Barbara (Dean) Benforado of Flagstaff, AZ; four grandchildren, Laura (Jake) Schlachter of Madison, WI, Elizabeth (Steve) Tavasci of Cottonwood, AZ, Tyler Hanson of San Diego, CA, and Emily (James) Behnke of Edmonton, AB, Canada; three great grandchildren, Hartley and Rowan Schlacter and Luca Behnke; sister, Jeanette Haasarud of Phoenix, AZ; and daughter-in-law Margie Hanson of Lake Oswego, OR. She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Phillip Thompson; daughter, Margaret Hanson; and son, David Hanson.

Memorial service will be at 11:00am on Saturday, April 9th at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Mankato with Rev. Jay Dahlvang officiating. Visitation will be from 10am until the start of service, with a small reception to follow at 12pm. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Betsy-Tacy Society.



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Past Services


Saturday, April 9, 2022

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church

720 S 2nd St, Mankato, MN 56001

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Memorial Service

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Northview - North Mankato Mortuary


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