Veleen “Val” Joy (Johnson) Hanson, age 80, passed away peacefully with family at her side on October 23, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio, where she had lived for the past year. Daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, and grandmother, Val was always, at heart, a teacher.
Born on October 4, 1939, Val grew up in Alberton where she met her future husband, Robert “Bob” Hanson. His mother, Val’s home economics teacher at Alberton High School, introduced them in 1957 and they married on June 19, 1959, after Val had graduated from Western Montana College of Education.
The couple honeymooned by driving across the country to Maryland, where Bob worked for the federal government and where they raised their two children. Val first taught at Lincoln Center in Laurel, Maryland, a special education school; and later at Farquhar Middle School and Olney Elementary School.
She and Bob lived in Canberra, Australia from 1983 through 1985 as part of Bob’s job. There, they were fortunate to welcome American and Australian government staff and dignitaries to their home. This adventure for a small town Montana girl was the highlight of her life and a story she shared with everyone she met. The couple retired in 1991 and returned to Montana.
Val especially enjoyed parenting again as she and Bob raised their grandson, Chris, at their retirement home in Proctor, Montana.
Val enjoyed sharing stories of growing up in the railroad town where her father was mayor and town Santa Claus and her mother was the church organist. Like her mother, she also enjoyed playing music for friends and family and especially playing the piano at home as her husband sang along. She also enjoyed shopping for antiques with her daughter, reading, crocheting, and being active in the church and its ladies aid society at Dayton Presbyterian Church.
In retirement, Val volunteered for 21 years at Dayton School in Montana’s Flathead valley. She also organized and taught bible school at Dayton Presbyterian Church for several years.
As Val’s illness progressed, the joy central to Val’s character continued to teach those who loved her about finding joy in each smile and each moment with her.
Val was predeceased by her husband, Bob; her parents, Verdie (Stout) and Roy Johnson of Alberton; and her in-laws, Angie (Woodward) and Ralph Hanson of Bonner. Survivors include the couple’s children, Greg Hanson, and Donna (Geren) Mortensen Jr.; grandson Chris (Sarah) Hanson; Val’s sisters Dorothy Deschamps and Joyce Backa and their families, and numerous extended family members and friends.
A memorial service will be held Monday, October 28, 2019, at 11 a.m. at Sunset Memorial Gardens 7405 Mullan R, Missoula, MT 59804.