LA CROSSE/RED MOUND — Melvin “Mel” E. Hanson, 80, of La Crosse and formerly of Red Mound died Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, at his home.

He was born in rural Vernon County, Aug. 1, 1937, to John and Irene (Hunter) Hanson. Melvin married Eileen (Fjelstad), daughter of Clifford and Vernie Fjelstad, Aug. 23, 1958, at the Southwest Prairie Lutheran Church.

He was baptized in Viroqua and confirmed at West Prairie Hauge Lutheran Church. He was a graduate of De Soto High School in 1955.

Melvin began working for the Red Mound Cheese Factory in 1954, hauling canned milk and bulk milk. He managed the cheese factory from 1974-1978. From 1978-1993, he worked for Safeway Cheese in La Crosse, moving his family to La Crosse in 1979. In 1993, he retired after suffering a brain aneurysm. Melvin and Eileen were members of Hauge Lutheran Church until 1981, when they joined Bethel Lutheran Church.

Melvin loved his family, the Packers, telling just one more joke, puzzles, good food, and conversation. He was known as “the keychain guy from the north-side” and “the north-side mayor.” Also dear to him was his church family and special friend and pew partner, Jan Anderson.

He is survived by his children, Michael (Lynn) Hanson, Curtis (Roxanne) Hanson, Shelby, Bryan, and Kevin Hanson; grandchildren, Dana Hanson (Cameron), Darcy (Kenk) Yang, Stacey Hanson, Jayme Hanson (Blake), Billie (Doug) Caley, Dean Hanson, Amy Hanson, and Emily Hanson, and Peter Peterson; great-grandchildren, Isabella, Layla, Hannah, Cameron, Evangelina, Kailee, Aniyah, Bob, and Adam; as well as many nieces and nephews; sisters-in-law, Arlene (Gordon) Hanson and Lois (Clayton) Hanson, Janet (Frank) Neumann, Elaine (David) Hofslein; brothers-in-law, Carold (Andrea) Fjelstad, Larry (Carol) Fjelstad, Dan (Julie) Fjelstad, and John Thompson (Linda).

He is preceded in death by his wife, Eileen (Fjelstad) Hanson; his parents, John (Irene Hunter) Hanson; in-laws, Clifford and Vernie (McEntee) Fjelstad; two brothers, Gordon (Arlene) and Clayton (Lois) Hanson; sisters-in-law, Beverly (Fjelstad) Shilling and Linda (Fjelstad) Thompson (John); brothers-in-law, Bill Shilling and Thomas Fjelstad.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 20, at Bethel Lutheran Church, 1931 Loomis St., La Crosse. Pastor Anne Hokenstad will officiate. Burial at 2 p.m. will follow in Walnut Mound Cemetery, Retreat. Friends may call on the family from 10 a.m. until the time of services Monday morning at the church.

The Schumacher-Kish Funeral & Cremation Services of La Crosse are in charge of arrangements. Online guest book may be signed at


the life of: Melvin 'Mel' E. Hanson
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