Wally Hanson (1924-2022) was Kinnikinnick superintendent
Wallace A. (Wally) Hanson served as Superintendent of Kinnikinnick School District from 1961 to 1980. During his tenure the district prospered, adding two schools. He then pursued a short but rewarding career as director and officer for the First Bank of Roscoe, enjoying another retirement party after a 10-year stint.
Wally passed away at age 96 at Wesley Willows in Rockford on May 4, 2021.
Born on August 16, 1924 in Hortonville, WI to Wallie and Ceil (Lochschmidt) Hanson, Wally graduated from Hortonville High School in 1942, then served 42 months in the US Army Signal Corps. He saw foreign duty in the China-Burma-India theater, where he was assigned as a radio operator to the US military mission in Yenan, China – considered the birthplace of the Chinese Communist Party and the wartime capital of Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung). Wally's story of ‘Wisconsin farm-boy meets world-historical figure’ has been memorialized in oral history recordings as well as the local press.
After the war, Wally attended Murray State University where he earned two degrees and most notably met the love of his life, Martha Sue Cunningham. In 1948 they were married. Wally’s educational career spanned 30 years, beginning as a classroom teacher and coach in the central Illinois school districts of Sidell and Westville. In 1961, the family (now including two young boys, Mark and Greg) moved to Roscoe. Wally and Sue enjoyed 68 years of marriage until Sue’s death in 2016.
Wally enjoyed hunting, fishing, and golf. As a senior he recorded an ace (hole-in-one) on Macktown’s 17th. He particularly enjoyed visiting with family and friends and being of service to others. He was a charter member of the Roscoe Lions Club (becoming a Lion in 1950), a lifetime member of the Roscoe VFW Post, a 30-year member of the Rockton American Legion and a faithful member of the Roscoe United Methodist Church.
As part of the Greatest Generation, Wally faithfully served his country and community; he was devoted to wife, family, and friends. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Sue and his son, Gregory; brothers Wesley and Harold; and sister Phyliss.
He is survived by his son Mark (Karen), of Richmond Texas; his grandchildren, Caroline of Katy, TX; Matthew (Lori) of Temple, TX; great-grandchildren, Luke and Carli Jean of Temple, TX; brother Norman “Dub” of Wisconsin Rapids, WI and sister Audrey Elkins of Port Neches, TX as well as nieces, nephews, and friends.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2022, at the Roscoe United Methodist Church, 10816 Main Street. Visitation will be from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m., memorial service at 11:00 a.m.; interment in Roscoe Cemetery, with a luncheon to follow.