Emmy Lou Marlene Gunderson Hanson
Emmy Lou Marlene Gunderson Hanson, 87, passed away on July 28, 2020.
Emmy Lou was born April 13, 1933 in Minneota to Emma Luvisa (Bakken) and George Gunderson; the fourth of five children.
Her grandparents, Karine and Knut Garlibakken, and their seven children were early settlers in Lyon County. They are buried in Hope Lutheran Cemetery with the headstone reading: BAKKEN ... PIONEER 1876.
Emmy Lou graduated from Minneota High School in 1951. She met her husband Richard at her first job in Minneapolis. They were married in 1952 and had three children; Jackie in 1953, Jenny in 1956 and Eric in 1959. After residing in Richfield, they moved in 1962 to their home of over 50 years in Hopkins before moving to retirement communities.
As her children got older, Emmy Lou found employment at West Jr. High and Eisenhower High in Hopkins; arranged the grand opening of “Total Sports”, and finished her working career at Hennepin County.
Emmy Lou was proud of her Norwegian heritage and a thrill of her life was to visit Norway and Fagernes where her grandfather Knut was born, with sisters Phyllis and Korrine, and nieces Karon, Kimmy, Janet and Lois.
Emmy Lou enjoyed dressing in her bunad with her silver solje to share her heritage whenever the occasion presented itself. Norwegian delicacies graced the table at Christmas and her daughters continue the tradition, making lefse, rice pudding and krumkake.
Emmy Lou was an energetic and enthusiastic person with many interests. She was active in the Lutheran Church and both local and national politics. But her all-encompassed passion was flowers. Her gardens were wonderful places of both activity and for respite.
She was a member of several garden clubs where she displayed numerous arrangements and times gladiola blooms at annual flower shows. She won several ribbons for her flowers, including Best in Show one year. Her children recall her stopping the car abruptly along roadsides to collect “docken”, cattails or other unusual things which caught her fancy, to use in her arrangements.
Emmy Lou also had a passion for baseball, from bleaching in the stands to watch the Twins at old Met Stadium to enjoying the heights in the Metrodome with family and friends in the LaTroy Hawkins Fan Club. She had her husband were also avid fans of the Minnesota Lynx.
Of course, we can’t forget her Department 56 collecting of the Beanie babies she surrounded herself and others with.
In 1972, Emmy Lou and Dick bought lake property in Vining, MN on East Battle Lake to be with her sisters and brothers during the summer. The kids and grandkids enjoyed the lake for many years.
Ten years ago, a traumatic brain injury changed her and her family’s lives forever, yet she still found joy and solace in her gardens, and later in her many walks around the retirement community collecting things in nature.
Emmy Lou was preceded in death by her parents, Emma and George Gunderson, sisters Phyllis (Kern) Donaldson, Korrine (Clinton) Rasmusson; brother George Gunderson; in-laws Clarence and Edna Hanson, sister-in-law Dorothy Hanson, brother Ken (Betty) Hanson and daughter Heidi Sue Hanson.
She is survived by her husband Richard; daughters Jackie (Jim) Hutchins, Jenny (Geo) Gruber’ son Eric (Joni) Hanson; grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Christin (Carlos) Curran, Lyric and Story; Caitlin (Victor) Salas, Cora; Stephanie (Joe) Beedle, Emmy Lou Olive; Anaya (Brad) Walker, Torin and Anders Ole; Katrina, Connor, Sam and Estefani Hanson; brother Jon (Darlene) Gunderson, sister-in-law Dorothy Gunderson; brother Don (Janet) Hanson; and many nieces and nephews.
Her ashes will be interred at Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Mahtomedi. We mourn for ourselves, yet rejoice for our beloved Emmy Lou.