David Jon Hanson, 81, of Mission, TX, formerly of Fall Creek, passed away on May 30, 2021at his home in hospice care.
Dave was born and raised in Washburn, WI, the son of Valdemar T. and Betty(Sgarlata) Hanson. Dave was raised in Washburn where he helped his parents operate the Tip Top Café and worked at the Washburn Foundry. After graduating from Washburn High School, Dave went on to Ashland County Teacher’s College and began his career as a teacher and later, Audio-visual Director in Wisconsin schools at Prairie Farm, Chippewa Falls, Fall Creek and Eleva-Strum. Dave’s one-room country school, Sunny Valley, can still be seen and visited in Irvine Park at Chippewa Falls, WI. Dave held a Master’s Degree in Audio/Visual Communications from the UW Stout in Menomonie, WI, and was also a graduate from UW in Eau Claire, WI. In 1968 Dave moved to Fall Creek to live. He retired in 1990 and moved to Mission, Texas, but returned every summer to Wisconsin where he had a cottage near Washburn.
An avid birdwatcher for many years, Dave’s love of birds took him to almost every State of the Union including Hawaii and many countries including Africa, Mexico, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and China. In 2001 he took up butterfly photography and his photos have been reproduced over a million times in print and have appeared on the covers of two national magazines. He was a member of the American Birding Association and the North American Butterfly Association. Dave owned and operated Cyber-Tex Imaging, a nature photography company that produced and sold his photos.
Dave has been a devoted Ham-Radio operator since 1960 and has spent many happy days on the radio talking to the dozens of friends he met along the way. His call-sign was K9ZVZ and his radio nickname was “Zed-Victor-Zed”. He was a member of several local radio clubs in Wisconsin as well as Texas. He will be missed by the many hams who knew him. Also an avid flyer, Dave held a private pilot’s license and has been a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association for almost 50 years.
In his later years, when heart surgery grounded him, he took up radio/control flying. He was a member and flight instructor for the Indianhead R/C Flyers Inc. in Wisconsin, and the Rio Grande Valley R/C Flyers in Texas. In 2014, Dave took up the sport of Geocaching with his brother-in-law Bob, his best friend Dave Bratley, and many Texas and Wisconsin friends. Dave hiked many miles in the woods, on trails and city streets to find over 3000 of the elusive hidden treasures. Dave’s many other hobbies included astronomy, metal-detecting, pleasure boating, photography and computer science.
Dave was a single man and was preceded in death by his parents and a sister who died at birth. Although many are now gone, Dave had dozens of cousins and their children and grandchildren lived in Green Bay-Manitowoc-Milwaukee area of Wisconsin. After Dave’s mom and dad passed away Dave was fortunate to have had the wonderful Zich surrogate family that he had been with since moving to Fall Creek in 1968.
He was preceded in death by Olga E. Zich he called mom and his sister, Marlys Stabenow. He will be dearly missed by brother Kenneth (Gloria) Zich of Augusta; brother-in-law Bob Stabenow of Eau Claire; several nieces and nephews.
Dave loved dogs and in his retirement years rescued over 20 abandoned and lost pups. His home was a refuge for Nani, Snow, Tika, Daisy, Sniki and Brownie. He will be sadly missed.
A memorial graveside service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, 2021, at Rest Haven Cemetery in Eau Claire.
Donations in Dave’s name may be sent to the Beaver Creek Reserve, Fall Creek, WI, the Valley Nature Center, Weslaco TX, or the Northern American Butterfly Association (NABA) in Morristown, NJ. The family is assisted by Anderson Funeral Home in Augusta, WI. Online condolences can be left at www.andersonfhaugusta.com