Richard Carl Hansen, age 88, resident of Big Rapids, Petoskey, and Bay View, Michigan died September 12, 2023. He was born April 22, 1935 in Detroit, Michigan son of Ede and Bertha Hansen.
Richard grew up in Detroit and graduated from the High School of Commerce in 1952, where he served as student body president. He often regaled the family with stories of being the milk captain, safety patrol officer, and drum major at Estabrook Grade School. Richard was a gifted high school athlete who excelled on the basketball court despite his small stature. He received a Bachelor’s of Science from Wayne State University with a major in business education and social studies, a Master's of Science from Wayne State University in business education, and a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in curriculum and instruction. Richard married Mary Sue Nebel of Munising on June 30, 1962 and was blessed with a happy and long marriage celebrating 62 years last June. Together they raised three children, Karl, Philip, and Mary Alene. They tragically lost an infant son Edward Nebel Hansen in 1965.
Upon graduation from college Richard embarked on a long and successful career in education. He returned to the High School of Commerce, where he met Mary Sue, as a teacher and truant officer. Richard went on to serve as Assistant Professor at Ferris State University and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and eventually became the Associate Dean of the School of Business. In 1983 Richard was named the Dean of the College of Business at Ferris State University and he remained in the position until 1995 when he went back to the classroom and was a Professor of Marketing until he retired. While serving as Dean he started the PGA golf management program and music and entertainment business program. He took a particular interest in students who were struggling and helped them get on the path to success. Richard was a well-respected leader and received many appointments and honors over the course of his career, he was especially honored to be President of the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs.
Richard was committed to public service and served as City Commissioner for the City of Big Rapids and was the Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals. He was the President of the Rotary Club of Big Rapids, served as a bank director for the Old Kent Bank of Big Rapids, was a member of the Eagles Club, and the Masonic Lodge. He loved supporting the Ferris State Bulldogs as a fan of many sports and was the President of the Rebounders Club and a member of the Blue Line Club.
In his retirement, he enjoyed walking with the “walking group” in Bay View and making a daily trek to downtown Petoskey for coffee, falling asleep in his chair to a good Tiger game, and holding court at the post office in Bay View.
Richard was a devoted husband and father and was an active participant in the lives of his children. He coached many sports teams, gave sage advice, and could be counted on to be in the stands for every game his children played. He was a great public speaker and was always the first choice to lead the prayer at family gatherings. Richard loved pens and had a collection. He was known to request a person’s driver's license in exchange for borrowing a pen. He was a talented storyteller and the grandchildren especially were enthralled by tales of Woo Woo the Wolf. He had many famous sayings but he was best known for “Say nice things, and nice things will happen to you.” He lived by John Wesley’s quote, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, Bertha and Ede Hansen, brother Donald Hansen, son Edward Hansen, mother and father-in-law Alene and Richard Westfield Nebel, brother-in-law Richard William Nebel, and sister-in-law Nancy Palmer. He is survived by his wife Mary Sue Hansen, his children, Karl (Michelle) Hansen, Philip Hansen, Mary (Jim) Flanigan, brother Leonard (Paula) Hansen, sister-in-law Jean Hansen, brother-in-law Charles (Mary) Nebel, brother-in-law Philip Palmer, grandchildren Sarita Hansen, Sabine Hansen, Sophie Hansen, Eleanor Flanigan, James Flanigan and Richie Flanigan. He is further survived by numerous nieces and nephews, Jenifer Carmody, Ted (Jen) Hansen, John (Kate) Hansen, Andrew (Alba) Hansen, Kelly Nebel, Lauri (Joe) Cullen, Charlie (Denise) Nebel, Mark (Kelly) Nebel, Rick (Jamie) Nebel, Bill (Anna) Palmer, Camie (Chris) Conklin; grand nieces and nephews, Calvin Carmody, Nate Carmody, Spencer Carmody, Andrew Hansen, Annika Hansen, Owen Hansen, Joy Hansen, Margot (Joel) Weinert, Mark Cullen, Kyle (Samantha) Christian, Cameron Nebel, Keegan (Leanne) Nebel, Chase Nebel, Kane Nebel, Bella Nebel, Cole Nebel, Ava Nebel, Isabelle Nebel, Larsen Nebel, Brian Palmer, Owen Palmer, Quinn Palmer, Lucy Jo Palmer, Emma Conklin and Jack Conklin. Great grandnephews Theo Weinert, Jones Christian, and Jace Nebel.
The family would like to thank McLaren Hospice and the Hiland Cottage Hospice House for their incredible care during the final months and days of Richard’s life.
In lieu of flowers gifts can be made to the Ferris State University Basketball or Hockey programs. Donations can be made using the following link https://fundraise.givesmart.com/form/kAQr6Q?vid=10w1lv please select Dr. Richard Hansen Memorial Fund from the dropdown menu. Checks can be made to The Ferris Foundation/Dr. Richard Hansen Memorial Fund, 420 Oak Street, PRK-101, Big Rapids, MI 49307. Please specify basketball or hockey.
A visitation and service will be held on October 7, 2023 at the United Methodist Church of Munising, Michigan, 312 Lynn Street, Munising, MI, 49862. Visitation will begin at 1pm. The service will be held at 2pm starting with a Masonic Service. Luncheon to follow.