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Raymond H. Hansen, Jr., 69

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Raymond Hartwig Hansen, Jr., 69, of Red Wing, Minn. passed away suddenly of a heart attack on May 21.

He was born on Feb. 3, 1945, in Wellsville, N.Y., to Mildred (nee Nilsen) and Raymond Hansen, Sr., and grew up in Staten Island, N.Y., where he was described by his high school principal as "an outstanding boy, excellent in every respect".

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Ray enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a fire controlman, serving on the USS John F. Kennedy. He was quickly recruited for officer candidate training and graduated from Purdue University in 1970 with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

He fell in love with Peggy O'Neill over prime rib and a tall glass of milk; she became his lifelong muse when they married in Grand Forks, N.D., on June 5, 1970. A self-proclaimed peaceful warrior, Ray was proud of his service in the U.S. Navy. The saltwater of the North, Mediterranean, and Norwegian Seas ran through his veins. After 13 years of service, he relocated his family to Red Wing, Minn., where he worked as an electrical engineer at Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant.

He delighted in the triumphs of children of all ages, but none more than his daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren. Dad passed on his love of reading to his children with nightly orations of Dr. Suess, Shakespeare, and the occasional smattering of Latin translations of Winnie the Pooh (et Christophorus Robinus). Morfar was an awesome grandpa who shared his love of the sea with his grandchildren at historic ship sites and the River Raft Ride at the Minnesota State Fair.

Ray was easily recognized by his hearty chuckle and outrageous dimples, which made him a welcome audience member at a bevy of plays and performances. Not satisfied to stay in the audience, he performed in several community organizations. His rendition of "It's Not Easy Being Green" in full Kermit the Frog costume was not to be missed.

Ray was always ready for the next adventure, whether fording the Cannon River Bottoms on his bike commute to work or building a passive solar house with no previous carpentry experience. Ray and Peg were a formidable team for 44 years, sharing a love of learning and a lifetime of making. Every new project was accepted with a genuine "Yes, dear".

With an insatiable intellectual appetite, Ray relished the opportunity to learn something new. His ever-expanding bookshelf encompassed all genres. Ray spent his final years methodically concocting culinary delights with fresh vegetables from the garden and his extensive alphabetized spice collection. When Peg wanted a bird call in the garden identified, Ray was her go-to guy. A proficient putterer, he sang and whistled to the end.

Ray is survived and loved by his wife, Margaret (nee O'Neill) of Red Wing; daughters Sarah Hansen of St. Paul, Rachel (Jon) Morris of St. Paul, and Bitsy (Dan) Bentley of Brooklyn, N.Y.; grandchildren, Noah and Maggie Morris; sisters, Eleanor (Dick) Davis of South Carolina and Janice (Wayne) Schope of Indiana; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Every person who met Ray was instantly his good friend, right up to the loveliness of his last day spent with meaningful work, tasty food, and great conversation.

A Raymembrance memorial service will be held 3-7 p.m on Saturday, June 7; ritual at 4 p.m. at the home he built with his beloved wife, at 2342 Hallquist Avenue in Red Wing. We will cast off our lines and send our Ancient Mariner off on his last sea voyage. If you wish to honor Ray privately, enjoy a walk around the block and share a good yarn with your loved ones.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Red Wing Arts Association or Red Wing Schools Foundation.

Arrangements made with the Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel.

Online condolences may be left for the family at www.mahnfamilyfuneralhome.com.

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