Funeral services honoring Audrey’s life will be held privately. A celebration of Audrey’s life will be planned for a later date.
Audrey L. Hansen, age 84, passed away peacefully of natural causes on Saturday, December December 12, 2020 at her home while surrounded by her family.
Audrey was born on October 30, 1936 in the town of Oma, in Iron County, WI. She was the second of five children born to the late Oscar and Helen (Hill) Ruha, both 1st generation Finns. Audrey often reminisced about her childhood in the rural farming and iron mining community. She shared interesting tales about her early education in a one-room school house, growing up on the family farm and even learning unique skills, like working on cars.
Audrey graduated from J.E. Murphy High School, Hurley, WI, in 1954. Sometimes referred to as “Red” back then because of her fiery hair color and freckles, Audrey’s yearbook caption read, “She looks rather quiet, but can you tell by looks?” Even then, she was known for her love of conversation and infectious laugh that could fill an entire room.
On November 16, 1957, Audrey married the love of her life, Roger N. Hanson, in Ironwood, Mich. The two had been introduced by Audrey’s sister, Barbara, who was married to Roger’s cousin, Ray Buccanero. The couple resided in Upson, WI. Roger worked in the Montreal Mine while Audrey stayed home to care for their children. In 1964, after the mine closed, the family made a permanent move south to Kenosha, WI, so Roger could begin working at the American Brass.
Though far from their hometown, Audrey and Roger traveled back up north regularly throughout their 46 years of marriage. They often took their five children to Upson, WI to spend summer vacations on Weber Lake where they would camp, fish and swim, all while visiting with both sides of the family.
Once the children were older, Audrey was able to fulfill her dream of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant. She spent many years working 3rd shift at Kenosha Medical Center before moving to St. Catherine’s Hospital. Audrey finished her career as an in-home aide for Society’s Assets. She really enjoyed meeting new patients, and she was a natural at making them feel comfortable at home.
Above all, Audrey loved her family and she made sure everyone felt like family when in her home. It was because of her warm and loving personality that she was also referred to as “Mom” by friends of her children and grandchildren. When you walked into Audrey’s house, you were always met with a big hug and a joyful “hello!” She would welcome you to fill up a plate and pull up a chair, especially if it was a Sunday during Packer football season…as long as you were rooting for the right team!
Audrey loved watching “her” Green Bay Packers on TV. She proudly wore her green and gold on gamedays and excitedly cheered them on, practically jumping out of her chair after a touchdown and groaning in terror after a turnover. This week’s win over Detroit most certainly felt like a blessing in her honor!
Anyone who knew Audrey knows that she was famous for her long goodbyes. She was truly saddened at the end of a visit. Even if you’d spent all day with her, she still made you feel like you just got there. What any of us wouldn’t give for just one more of those long goodbyes and heartfelt hugs. Her bubbly personality, caring spirit and loving nature will truly be missed. We’ll all visit together again someday, “Red.” We love you.
Audrey is survived by four of her children; Gregory R. (Lori) Hanson of Mount Pleasant, Mark A. Hanson, Wayne D. (Dedra) Hanson and Jeanette E. Hannaman, all of Kenosha; two brothers, Cliff (Mary) Ruha of Iron Belt, Wis., and Roger (Suzanne) Ruha of Roscoe, IL; a sister-in-law, Sandra Rauls of Milwaukee, Wis.; two brothers-in-law, Patrick (Sylvia) of Upson and Michael (Debbie) of Freemont, Wis.; six grandchildren, Natalie (Ismael) Tapia, Joshua (Jasmine) Hanson, Faith Hanson, Heidi (Randy) Coy, Jeff Hanson and three great-grandchildren.
In addition to her parents and husband, Audrey was preceded in death by her son, Shawn N., her sisters Gayle L. Garro of Iron Belt, Wis., and Barbara H. Buccanero of Hurley, Wis., and four brothers-in-law, Jeffrey, Daniel, Terrance and William.