Leland Junior Hansen of Rupert, Idaho, passed away March 12, 2020, from natural causes at age 94. He was born August 28, 1925 in Twin Falls, Idaho, the oldest son of Bertha Mae Thurgood and Leland Arelian (L.A.) Hansen.
Leland grew up in Twin Falls where he was known as Junior by family and friends. He had a fascination with model airplanes, and was a successful participant in FFA. In 1946, he served a mission in Australia for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When he returned, he was introduced to Norma Marie Heaps during a session of General Conference, and she stole his heart. They were married on February 25, 1949, in the Salt Lake Temple, and made their first home in Twin Falls, ID, where they were joined over the years by six children.
Leland worked various jobs, including being a partner in the Glory Park Dairy, as an electronics repairman, a music store salesman, and finally selling World Book, a job that took the family to Lewiston, Idaho, where he was a manager. Subsequent moves and many other jobs sent them to Wendell, Heyburn, Meridian, Kuna, Boise, and finally, Rupert, Idaho.
He always loved music, so when he opened a music store called the Melody Shop in Wendell, he was truly in his element. They had an opportunity to purchase a home in Heyburn with a large garden lot next to it, and Norma was in her element. But Leland’s wanderlust took hold, and eventually they ended up in the Boise area, which they truly loved. While there, jobs included selling various products, and driving school busses for special needs students. For both of them, serving as ordinance workers in the Boise Temple was a treasured opportunity. Eventually, however, they were convinced to sell their home there and return to the Rupert area, to live closer to family.
Five years ago, Leland’s health began to deteriorate and he was moved to Countryside Care and Rehab in Rupert for long-term care. His optimism shined through even in those circumstances, though, and it seemed like anytime he was asked how he was, his reply was always “Happy!” He was known and loved there for his happy smile and positive attitude. And through it all, Norma was with him at his side constantly, caring for and always loving him. Their devotion to each other has been evident in every breath of their life, and will continue into the eternities.
Leland had a tremendous love for all family members and his friends; and always his love for his Savior was evident in all he did. He was proud of every child, grandchild, and great-grandchild that came to their family. He served many positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including as a bishopric member. He had the opportunity to serve as a Stake Missionary much of his earlier years, and cherished his time serving among the Nez Perce Native Americans while living in Lewiston. His love for those people expanded as they welcomed several as foster children in the home as well. Family history became a passion, and he was actively involved in indexing for Family Search. Fishing, camping, singing (including Barber Shop SPEBSQSA, for a time), music, and reading were all favorite hobbies, and he and Norma’s favorite summer activity for many years was to take a drive through the Stanley Basin area. He leaves a legacy of optimism, and a love of life and learning to his posterity.
Leland was preceded in death by his parents L.A. and Bertha Mae Hansen, and siblings John D (Patricia, living), Gordon (Alice, dec), Vernon (Emma, dec), William (Faun Turley, living), and Veon (Verl, dec) Horman.
He is survived by his wife Norma and their six children: Ron (Joy) Hansen (Paul, ID.), Arnold (Vicki) Hansen (Paul, ID.), Julie (Brent) Loveridge (Lehi, UT), David (Petra) Hansen (Clarkston, WA), Susie (Charles) Wheeler (Hyde Park, UT), and Connie (Bob) Barnes (Jackson, ID); 26 grandchildren, 66 great-grandchildren, and one brother James (Shauna Lee) Hansen of Orem, Utah.
The family extends heartfelt gratitude for the professional and loving care provided by Countryside Care and Rehab during the last five years of his life, where in his mind he was always on vacation and staying in a grand hotel.
We, as a family, can hear him telling us today, “If you can’t get a steak, take a sandwich.” At our family’s request there will be no public viewing due to the concerns of spreading the COVID -19 virus. A private funeral for family members will be Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at Hansen Mortuary, Rupert, Idaho, preceded by a family-only viewing. Interment will be in the Rupert Cemetery. The family expresses gratitude to all who have reached out to send love and condolences. It breaks our heart that we can’t have all of you with us at this time, but a grand celebration is anticipated when circumstances will allow it. We will get our steak, yet!
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