John Hanson, 86

Though across the Midwest, John Hanson’s heart was never far from the family farm in Whitehall. He would make annual pilgrimages from his metro-Detroit home to help during busy harvest times or to visit with family members or to be close to the land that was home.
John passed away Oct. 31, 2009, at Clausen Manor in Waterford, Mich.
Born in Whitehall Dec. 19, 1922, John was the eighth of nine children of Henry and Hulda Hanson. He was a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II and attended college on the GI Bill, graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1950.
A metallurgical engineer, John moved to metropolitan Detroit to work at the Packard Motor Co. in the 1950s. But even more important than a promising future in the automobile industry, Michigan afforded John an introduction to the love of his life, Betty Lutz. In 1958 the two married. For 50 years, up until Betty’s death last year, the perfect pair frequently enjoyed card club with friends; nights out for dinner and dancing; and traveling, including their long drives to 
Whitehall. John always looked forward to spending time with his many nieces and nephews.
John loved following current events and politics. He also loved the outdoors: He took pride in taking care of his yard, and carefully tended his urban garden of tomatoes and nurtured his apple trees. For years he enjoyed fishing trips with friends, particularly after retiring from Detroit Diesel. John was a rare jukebox of a man, complete with a guitar, knowing a lengthy repertoire of just about every song from the 1920s through the 1950s. His singing voice charmed everyone.
To daughter Sharron (the late Clarence) Catallo, John was a man who fully demonstrated what it meant to belong, to be a family. He was simultaneously a proud, stoic and strong adviser, and a warm, caring, fun-loving father. He combined the best of both worlds of an engineer and a farmer.
Along with Sharron, John is survived by his grandchildren Curt (Ann Stevenson) and Cara Catallo and his great-grandchildren Clare Wren, Cassius and Coco.

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