Virginia Ann (Braithwait) Hanson, 70, of Lexington, Nebraska, passed peacefully into the loving arms of Jesus on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, after a valiant battle with Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease) with her family by her side in her home at Johnson Lake.
Ann was born on August 24, 1941, at the Lexington Community Hospital the only child of Maurice and Virginia (Tucker) Braithwait. In her first couple of years, she lived in Big Springs, NE and then moved back to Lexington.
She attended Bryan Elementary school and was a cheerleader and participated in various school plays. She worked part time after school and summers in the bookkeeping department at the Lexington State Bank. She attended Lexington Jr.-Sr. High School, graduating with the class of 1959. While in high school, she participated in pep club, band, pep band, speech and play productions. She enjoyed her years in high school hanging out with a group of girls, who called themselves "the baker's dozen". She was active in Job's Daughters and earned the "Curved Bar" in Girl Scouts. She was active in the Presbyterian Church. During her senior year in high school she began dating her life-long soul mate, Howard "J.R." Hanson. She attended Hastings College majoring in Elementary education and belonged to the Chi Omega Psi Sorority. At the end of her freshman year she transferred to Kearney State Teacher's College to attend college with J.R. Upon graduation from Kearney State, they were married on July 20, 1963, at the First United Presbyterian Church in Lexington.
The couple lived in Axtell, Nebraska where Ann began her teaching career. Upon J.R.'s graduation, they moved to Broken Bow, NE and taught for two years. In 1966, they moved to Kearney while J.R. worked on his Master's Degree. On June 8, 1967, she lost a son, David Bruce, at birth. They moved back to Broken Bow and on April 12, 1968, she had a new baby son, Thomas Albert. On November 8, 1969, she had a new daughter, Jennifer Ann. Their second daughter, Elizabeth Marie, was born on January 26, 1975.
In 1975, the couple moved to Kearney where Ann operated the Raggedy Ann Preschool for 6 years. In 1982, they located to North Platte where she substitute taught and owned the Hobby Horse Preschool. It was at this time she completed her English endorsement and taught 9th grade English for 4 years in the North Platte school system. While living in North Platte she would attend summer school in Kearney and live with her mother in Lexington. In 1983, she received her Master's Degree in Elementary Education. In 1989, they moved to Greeley, Nebraska where she taught 7-12 English, Speech and Drama at the Ord Jr.-Sr. High School for 4 years. In 1993, they moved to Table Rock, NE where she was Librarian and Media Specialist for 7 years.
In 2000, they moved back to Johnson Lake and she was hired as the Elementary Media Specialist at the four elementary schools in Lexington. In 2003, she took early retirement under "Rule 85". She was able to realize her dream to retire at Johnson Lake. Along with her husband, she helped plan and build the home of her dreams. She enjoyed the wildlife, sunsets and working in her flower beds, as well as, sewing, cooking and baking. She loved to knit, quilt, cross stitch and machine embroidery and lovingly made a quilt for each grandchild. Her love of sewing took her to work part-time in the fabric department at Walmart.
In 2005, Ann and J.R. decided to go back into teaching and taught for 3 years as the Media Specialist for Paxton Consolidated schools. She would spend weekends and summers at Johnson Lake. During the 2007-08 school year she started losing muscle control in her arms and fingers. It was determined in October of 2008 that she had ALS. On January 30, 2009, she became unresponsive at home and was placed on the ventilator at this time.
Ann received excellent care at her home from the medical people, home health nurses and caregivers on a 24/7 schedule. She was always proud of her children and grandchildren and cherished her husband. Time spent at Johnson Lake will always be cherished.
She was very proud of her affiliation with Chapter AN P.E.O. in Lexington. She enthusiastically cheered on her Nebraska Cornhusker football team, loved playing bridge and attending bible study groups.
Ann was an inspiration to her family, medical community and everyone who knew her. Knowing she had a terminal illness, she never gave up.
She is survived by her husband of 49 years: Howard "J.R. " Hanson of Johnson Lake, NE; one son, Tom (Janni) Hanson of Seward, NE; two daughters, Jennifer (Ted) Piatt of Bloomington, IN; and Beth (Chris) Ericson of York, NE. Eight grandchildren-Abigail, Ashlyn, Alec and Amelia Hanson of Seward, NE; Betsy Piatt of Bloomington, IN; and Kaitlyn, Logan, and Maelynn Ericson of York, NE. She is also survived by a very close cousin, Joan Stuckey of Lexington, NE. Brothers-in-law: John Caldwell of Rifle, CO; Jim Hanson of Plattsmouth, NE; and sister-in-law: Sherry (Otis) Ward of Lexington, NE. Other survivors include: Aunt, Winona Bosse of Omaha, NE; Uncle Richard and aunt Wauneta Bornemeier of Hastings, NE; cousins, Tom Tucker of Lexington, KY; Tom Bornemeier of Chapman, NE; Barbara Bornemeier-Lane of Atlanta, GA; Jon Bornemeier of Hastings, NE and Karen (Bosse) Butler of Omaha, NE. She will also be missed by a wealth of friends, family faculty and former students.
Ann was preceded in death by her infant son, David Bruce Hanson; parents, Maurice and Virginia Braithwait; her inlaws, Howard, Sr. and Marie Hanson; her grandparents, Thomas and Bertha Braithwait and Overton "Squire" and Edna Tucker; sister-in-law, Colleen (Stevenson) Caldwell, as well as aunts and uncles.
A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, April 7, 2012, at 11:00 a.m.at First Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Nebraska with Reverend Caroline Vickery and Reverend Dr. Charles Olsen co- officiating. P.E.O. Remembrance Ceremony will be conducted by Chapter AN.
Burial will be held, for relatives and close friends, prior to the Memorial Service at the Robb Cemetery near Lexington. Visitation will be held Friday, April 6, 2012, from 4-7 p.m. with the family present at Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes to receive memorials to the Ann Hanson Memorial Fund to be used at a later date.
Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family through: www.reynoldslovefuneralhome.com