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Hans Lloyd Hansen (1894-1954) and Estella Mary Mahoney (1895-1967)
The Beginnings for Hans (who was always called Lloyd)
Hans Lloyd Hansen was born in Minden, Kearney County, Nebraska, on 6 Nov 1894. He was the son of Hans Thomsen Hansen and Katherine Nissen. He graduated from Minden [Nebraska] High School in 1912, but attended one semester at Lake Forest Academy in Chicago, Illinois, in the fall of 1911.
Minden, Nebraska was a small town surrounded by farm country. Lloyd’s father had a successful farm implement business and the family lived in the town, not on a farm outside it.
Kearney County, established in 1860, is located in the south central part of the state, just one county north of the southern border with the state of Kansas. Minden is its county seat and was named for a city in Germany. Hans Lloyd’s father, Hans Thomsen Hansen, had emigrated from Denmark to the United States in 1889. Thus, Hans Lloyd was the first generation Hansen to be born on American soil. He had a younger brother, Everett Thomas.
Marriage to Stella Mahoney
Hans Lloyd Hansen married Estella Mary Mahoney on 10 Nov 1915 in Heartwell, Kearney County, Nebraska, most likely at her parents’ home. Stella had been born on 12 Feb 1895, in Heartwell, Nebraska. She was the daughter of Michael James Mahoney and Josephine Amanda Porter.
Stella had grown up on her parents’ farm, surrounded by six siblings, a sister and five brothers. She had met her future husband in high school when she went to Minden to live with her aunt and finish her education. Stella’s father, Michael, was the first generation American in his family; his parents had emigrated from Ireland to the United States before 1868.
To prevent confusion with his father’s name, Hans Lloyd went by his middle name, Lloyd. Estella went by the shortened version of her name, Stella. Despite the fact that they were both second-generation Americans, their Danish and Irish ancestries had given them very different childhoods.
A Life in Hastings, Nebraska
Two years after they were married, in 1917, Lloyd and Stella moved to Hastings, Nebraska. From 1917 to 1922, Lloyd was a bookkeeper for Polenske Brothers, Scheilak and Company, in Hastings, Nebraska. In 1947, he began his own business, Hansen Building Specialties, Inc., and was president and manager of that company at his death.
During his lifetime, Lloyd was an active member of numerous organizations including:
- The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (in 1925, he was the Exalted Ruler)
- The Hastings Masonic Lodge No. 50, (a potentate of Tehama Temple of the Shrine, and a knight commander of the Court of Honor of the Scottish Rite) In the photograph at the left, Hans is wearing his Tehama potentate fez.
- Hastings Chamber of Commerce
- Travellers Protective Association
- Board of Public Works
Some family members say Lloyd was probably a member of the Ku Klux Klan, though due to the secrecy of that organization, this cannot be proven. According to Dorothy Weyer Creigh’s book, Adams County: The Story 1872-1972, there was a “large and active chapter” of the KKK in Hastings for a few years in the 1920’s. Ms. Creigh says: “Many of the town’s most prominent citizens were on its rolls.” There are local newspaper stories of Klan meetings and in 1926 a large parade, with more than 500 persons in it, marched through downtown Hastings. It is not known if Lloyd participated in that parade, but it can probably be safely said that Lloyd was a member of organizations in which he saw a personal purpose, either financially for himself or for his business.
Lloyd was a member of the Presbyterian Church and a Republican in politics. In the early 1950's, he met and and campaigned for Dwight David Eisenhower, who was campaigning for (and later became) president of the United States. There was a photograph of him and Eisenhower together (as well as Fred Seaton, who later became Secretary of the Interior during Eisenhower's administration) which always hung in the house.
Stella’s active social life
Stella was a generous grandmother, sending many gifts to her grandchildren at birthdays, Christmas, and special events. She travelled a great deal after Lloyd died. Her younger photographs show her to be a laughing, friendly person, often smiling, and apparently very close to her sister, Freda. As a teenager, as mentioned before, she went to live with her Aunt Mary in Minden, Nebraska, and attend high school. She graduated from Minden High School in 1912. Her teenage diary of her high school years reveals a happy, excited young girl who loved the social activities of school. She was also a good student.
Since they did not marry for another three years after graduation, Stella went on to do some teacher training. It was apparently at Kearney State, but this has not been verified, and it is assumed that she did not gain certification. What Lloyd did during these three years is not entirely known, but since he became a bookkeeper it is possible that he attended Hastings Business College. It’s believed that he may have worked for his father’s business in Minden for a short time as well.
Like Lloyd, Stella was heavily involved in service activities. She was an active and involved member of The Daughter of the Nile, the female arm of the Masons. She also joined PEO, which stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization. It was founded in 1899 by a group of women who were in college at a time when few women went to college. They give scholarships, loan money, and promote international scholars coming to the U.S. They also own a two-year junior college in Missouri. Socially, it promotes fellowship in meetings, but its primary function is permitting education for women. Stella was also a regent of the Niobrara Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and historian of the Nebraska DAR. At one time she served as president of the Soroptimist Club and was matron of the Acacia Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.
Family Life and a Home
Lloyd and Stella had three children:
- Josephine Marie b. 21 Jun 1917 in Hastings, Adams, Nebraska 2
- William Lloyd b. 1919 in Hastings, Adams, Nebraska
- James Thomsen b. 1929 in Hastings, Adams, Nebraska
In the mid-1920s, Lloyd and Stella built a large brick home at 1010 N. Burlington in Hastings. It was their home for the next 40 years, and Lloyd would die there. The photograph shows what it looked like the day they moved in. On the steps are Jo and Bill with Stella at the right.
End of Life
Hans Lloyd Hansen died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 59 on 23 Mar 1954. He came home from work, feeling tired and unwell, and laid down on the couch to rest. He remained restless all night, while Stella stayed beside him. He died in the early hours of the morning. He is buried at Parkview Cemetery in Hastings, Nebraska.
Stella lived as a widow for thirteen years. She travelled frequently during those years and enjoyed her social and financial status. She headed the business for a few years, but eventually retired, leaving the business for her youngest son, James, to run.
Stella, like Lloyd, did not realize at first that she was ill. One evening she decided not to go play bridge with her friends and her son became concerned and took her to the doctor. She died of leukemia, after a month's illness, on 7 Oct 1967, in Hastings, Nebraska. She is buried beside her husband in Parkview Cemetery in Hastings, Nebraska.
[This page researched and written by Susan Overturf Ingraham, a granddaugher of Lloyd and Stella. This page updated January 4, 2016.]