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James Watt Hanson, 92, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family, both physically and virtually, on January 29, 2023. His life was one of love, service, faith, doing the right thing, and making a difference.
A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy (1949) and Yale University (1954), Jim entered the Marine Corps as a pilot, flight instructor, and later reservist. After leaving active duty, Jim began learning the commodities business. He was a member of the Kansas City Board of Trade and worked at local brokerage houses over the next several decades. As part of his brokerage experience, Jim was the radio’s twice daily “commodities market analyst” to farmers throughout the Midwest.
Jim was a longtime member of the Johnson County Civil Service Board, participating in the selection of a generation of law enforcement officers. He was chosen as one of President George W. Bush’s “Points of Light,” and carried the Olympic Torch for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games – selected because he had “lit the fire within” our country.
His awards and accolades are numerous, yet his heart and passion thrived helping children. As both a football and lacrosse coach, he brought a love of sportsmanship and teamwork to children. As a Paraeducator, he facilitated a chance for learning to a deserving young man. His true magic, however, came holding babies, helping the parents of sick children, and assisting nurses caring for those babies through decades of volunteering at Children’s Mercy Hospital. As of the end of 2022, Jim had logged more than 28,100 hours of volunteer time at Children’s Mercy comforting those in need.
Jim is predeceased by Jacqueline Brooks Hanson, his wife of 41 years, and Barbara Andrews Hanson, his wife during the last years of his life. He cared for both of them lovingly and with heartfelt concern for their comfort and serenity. He is survived by two children, Holly Levison and Brooks Hanson, Barbara’s children Denise Andrews (Diane Aaron) and James Andrews (Robin), nine grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and a large extended family. Jim was deeply loved by his family who will not only miss his joyous smile and laughter but also their special birthday outings and his poems, which are legendary and highly prized by those who received one, whether family, friends, nurses, children, parents of ailing children, doctors, colleagues, schoolmates, or just about anyone who inspired his mind and pen. Jim left us all a legacy of thousands of poems filled with his heart, love, and insights.
Services will be held at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Missouri, on Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. A reception will follow at St. Andrews. Jim donated his body to the University of Kansas Medical Center for research so there will be no internment at this time.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in his name to:
Children’s Mercy Hospital
Attn: Department of Philanthropy, 2401 Gillham Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64108.
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
2:00 - 3:00pm (Central time)
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Starts at 3:00pm (Central time)
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