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ESGR in the News


Editor's note:  Obituary published on by Rentschler Family Mortuaries -Simmons-Rentschler Mortuary - Smith Center on May 14, 2024.

TOPEKA, Kan. – Dennis Ray Hansen was born in Smith Center, Kansas on December 1, 1946, to Maurice and Betty (Hughes) Hansen. He passed from this earth on May 11th, 2024, at the age of 77. Dennis had been diagnosed with ALS in October of 2023 and had struggles with this but kept on doing most of the things he enjoyed.

He attended Smith Center grade school and high school graduating in 1964 with cherished memories of his classmates and school days.

He married Kathy (Ayres) Hansen, a Smith Center native on August 12th, 1972, at the Congregational Church. The day of the wedding was so hot the candle melted over. They have lived their entire married life in Smith Center and celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2022. Their son Seth Nichols was born on June 21st, 1976, and was Dennis's pride and joy.

Dennis had different jobs during his youth and after. He worked for Harry Lattin at the Home Oil Company on Main Street. He worked for the State of KS Highway Department a couple years prior to joining the Army in 1965 and was posted in the Dominican Republic and West Point in New York state before being discharged in 1967. He drove a truck for Mini Max Provisions. He went to work for Maynard Frank at the John Deere dealership as a mechanic and when Maynard sold, Dennis worked for Milton Outerkirk at the new dealership (Smith County Implement) as a parts man and sales representative. When Milton passed, Dennis bought Milton's half of the dealership and later purchased the other half. He was the owner of Phillips County Implement later until he sold both dealerships in 2000. He stayed busy with various part time jobs including driving for Peterson Industries, delivering for the local drug stores, and driving the bus for City Transportation.

He was a lifetime member of the Kingsbury-Chase VFW #1141, Smith Center, where he has been commander for several years, American Legion Post #220, Smith Center, Rotary before it disbanded, Center Township Clerk and enjoyed being a part of Fairview Cemetery work through the board. He served on the City Council Board, Old Settler's Day Committee, and Center Cruzers. He became a member of the Employer's in Support of the National Guard team (ESGR) and helped active Guard members get back their jobs, if necessary, when they returned from duty. He was a member of Kansas STARBASE Program from 2004 through 2010 and was Vice-President for four years. Helping any way he could the Military and Veteran's was extremely important to him. It gave him immense pride to be a part of the VFW Color Guard for Veteran's services and to lead parades or wherever a Color Guard was needed.

In 2023, Dennis and Kathy were honored to be selected as King and Queen for Old Settler's Day.
Dennis was able to go on the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. with his brother Rodney and loved the trip and the time they had together.

Dennis loved sports and his love for the Redmen increased two-fold when Seth became a part of the Junior High and Senior High Redmen teams. He helped with Redcaps and very seldom missed a football game, wrestling or track meet. He attended anything Seth was involved with and helped with Post Prom. He tracked Coconino High School in Arizona where nephew Yancy Ayres was an active athlete.

Dennis's 1969 Plymouth Sport Satellite was the car he had enjoyed the most as when he purchased it, he said, Plymouth's were what his dad drove most. Spending time at weekend car shows and in July the Salina Lead Sled was a yearly event with Seth, classmates and friends.

He was a faithful member of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and had work on many church programs and events.

Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, Betty Hansen and Maurice Hansen, his in-laws that he loved like parents, Burl and Margaret Ayres, sis siblings, Don, Cathy Howton, Jerry Hughes, Mary Maryce, David and Karl, brother-in-law, Tom Ayres and other sister and brothers-in-law.

Dennis is survived by wife, Kathy, son Seth, brothers, Wayne (Jane), Rodney (Mary); sisters-in-law, Karen (Ayres) Keatley, Joann Hansen Storer and brother-in-law, Bruce Marye.

Dennis was willing to help in any situation and had many dear and special friends. He was loved by many and will be deeply missed.

Posted in: Kansas
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