Wallace C. Hansen

Wallace Hansen

Wallace C. Hansen, age 76, of Madison, passed away on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, at home surrounded by his loving family. He was born on October 17, 1945, in Wausau, WI, the son of Wallace D. and Evelyn M. (Maahs) Hansen.  Wally graduated from Hartford Union High School in 1963 which is where he developed his true love of music…the trumpet to be exact.  His middle school teacher knew he was something special and sent him over to the high school to play in the band and share his musical ability.  And it only got better as he went on to play in the NORAD Band as a member of the U.S. Air Force stationed in Colorado Springs, CO.

Wally then set his sights on a college degree.  He was accepted at UW-Oshkosh where…big surprise, he was going to be a music therapy major.  It was there, that he met a young Education major who was just trying to get a light for her cigarette.  Wally had one for her…but only if she came and sat next to him.  Even as little kids we knew that this was a terrible line from dad, but it worked, and the rest is history.  Wally and Mary (Liddicoat) were married on August 22, 1970 in Madison.

Their lives together started in Oshkosh; he was working at Kmart, she was still in college.  In the summer of ’71 they created a home in Marshall with their German Shepherd, Buddy and their cat, Barney.   It wasn’t long after, they made their final move to Madison into the home they still call theirs, today.  Together, they shared a love for simplicity, community and charity.  Their faith in God was the core of their strength and the result was pure selflessness and unconditional love.

Three kids soon followed, a successful career as an American Family Insurance agent and ‘life’ happened quickly and Wally got further and further away from his horn.  Until one glorious day his dear friend, Peg Arkin told him about this band she was a part of…New Horizons.  You had to be 50 though…and Wally was only 49. After a little sample of his abilities, the vote was in, he would be allowed in a year early.  This now turns into a story of a man who rediscovered the passion he once let fall to the wayside and the sparkle in his gorgeous, blue eyes returned.  For the next 25 years, this band and all its members went on to become a second family to Wally.  His love for them was only rivaled by those he worked with at Monona Bank.  After he retired from the insurance business, Wally couldn’t sit still and not be social, so he took a part-time job as a courier.  Driving from location to location being greeted with, ‘Wally!  It’s great to see you.’  To which he would always respond, ‘It’s great to be seen!’

Wally loved nature.  He was at peace while up north in Tomahawk at his parent’s home.  He would fish all day long if he could and the back of his neck was always sunburned as a result.  If a storm was rolling in and we were told to ‘take cover,’ he was that guy with a folding chair at the end of the garage…watching.   He was the family ‘fixer’ although we’re not sure he was actually that good at it…he was just always willing.  That’s exactly it…Wally was ALWAYS willing.  To help, to show up, to tell a terrible, corny joke at just the right time and then snicker and snort louder than anyone in the room.   He did nothing quickly…mowing the lawn took hours.  And driving the Beltline was an adventure…a very…slow adventure.  It was a mixture of not rushing, being purposeful and quite possibly…taking so long, it got him out of having to do anything else.

If it was judgement you wanted…you would not be getting it from Wally.  This man was content with the world and every single person in it.  (Well, minus a couple.  Come on, he was human.)  We knew if we really messed up as kids, it was dad we wanted to confess to if we had a choice in parents.  He always kept his cool and systematically helped you clean up your mess.  He entered a room ready to make those in it feel good.  Wally was comfortable laughing hysterically, dancing horribly, singing beautifully, giving huge hugs, crying tears of sadness AND joy, or sitting in silence with you.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer five years ago.  He did everything within his power to try to stick around as long as he could.  Most days were filled with appointments, treatments and tests and you never heard him complain.  You can imagine, every single nurse, doctor and janitor knew Wally’s name and went out of their way to cross paths with him when he was in the building.  He was a breath of fresh air in a field filled with so many insufferable things.  A few months ago, he fell in the living room, spent some time in the hospital and then came home to recover.  In sickness and in health, his beloved wife became his caregiver…helping him take his medicine, making sure he ate something and ensuring he was comfortable.  Every day he thanked her.  Every day he got a little closer to salvation.  Until one day, he was ready for his next journey.  He blessed us all by making sure we got there to tell him we loved him one last time.

Wally is survived by his wife of nearly 52 years, Mary (Liddicoat) Hansen; children, Bradley (Julie Kristian Hansen) Hansen, Lanette (Marc DeCarli) Hansen, Karin (Andrew) Kolman; grandkids, Nathaniel ‘Nate’ and Evelyn Hansen; Everett, Roman and Imogene DeCarli; Carter, Ella and Maya Kolman; Brothers; David (Mary) Hansen, Mark (Sharie) Hansen; In-Laws, Joanne (Ron) Stark, Robert (Linda) Liddicoat, Richard (Vi Casper) Liddicoat, Donald (Trina Keith) Liddicoat, Gary (Kim) Liddicoat; nieces and nephews; Todd, Brian, Laurie, Tania, Christy, Jarrett, Jodi, Kelly, Karra, Megan, Eric, Corey, Brenda, Rachel and Matthew and their beautiful families and many other cherished, extended family members and dear friends.  He was preceded in death by his parents, his father and mother-in-law, Everett and Cecilia Liddicoat, his grandson, Samuel Hansen, his nephew Steven Liddicoat and his nephew and Godson, Brian Liddicoat.

Wally always felt that becoming a grandpa was his second chance to really get it right…and boy did he ever.  He was his grandkids’ worlds and for that we’re both grateful and heartbroken.  Please join us in celebrating Wally’s life with a visitation, 3-6 p.m. at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022.  Funeral is Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, at 11 a.m. at ST. DENNIS CATHOLIC CHURCH, 505 Dempsey Rd., Madison.  We’d love for you to stay for lunch afterwards.  We can only imagine you’ve got a ‘Wally story’ or nine to share with us.

Memorials may be made to St. Dennis Catholic Church, Agrace HospiceCare, UW Carbone Cancer Center, Prostate Cancer Foundation or New Horizons Band (HOB) c/o Phillip Vorlander, 1414 Spahn Dr, Waunakee 53597.  Online condolences may be made and the live stream info can be found at www.gundersonfh.com.  Our family wants to take a minute to send a special thank you to the Agrace HospiceCare team of nurses and social workers.  The care you provided Wally was impressive and intentional and every single visit was filled with such kindness and respect.  Each one of you holds a special place in our hearts, forever.

Gunderson East

Funeral and Cremation Care

5203 Monona Drive

(608) 221-5420