David “Dave” Hansen
September 8, 1940 – December 15, 2023
West Battle Lake
David Harold Hansen, 83, of Battle Lake passed away peacefully in his sleep on December 15, 2023, at Good Samaritan in Battle Lake. Dave suffered a stroke in May 2023, losing mobility on his right side. Being the strong and determined man he was, he worked incredibly hard to regain his quality of life, but his body did not cooperate.
Dave, AKA …. Swede, Big Dave, Papa, Grandpa, Great Grandpa, Unc, Brother, Son and lastly, lifelong volunteer, which began as a school safety patrolman. In his adult working life, he gave back to community of Clarissa, MN as a Volunteer Fireman for 32 years, over a decade as the Fire Chief.
After his retirement in 2004, he continued his volunteering ways at Glendalough State Park near his home on Battle Lake. He did various projects such as building benches, fixing wooden projects in the park, working on the new Yurts, and hiding the Geocache within the park. Dave was VERY committed to his time at Glendalough and would schedule time away and appointments around his Tuesday “work” schedule at the Park. In 2018, the Glendalough Park Partners honored Dave for faithfully donating his time and talent. He was so proud of that recognition.
He also added to his volunteering resume by driving Otter Tail County residents, who were unable to drive, to their appointments. It is hard to imagine the thousands of miles Dave drove for Productive Alternatives. Dave may never have been in danger of receiving a speeding ticket, but that gave him time to really get to know many of the “regulars” he drove over the years.
Dave lived on West Battle Lake in his retirement years. When he had free time from volunteering, he enjoyed fishing, taking his pontoon out for a drive, ice fishing, checking and tracking his investments/stocks daily on his iPad, Sudokus, mowing his lawns, and sitting on his deck visiting with friends and family while having a cold one!
Dave was a gentle giant, literally! He was 6’ 8” and not a petite guy. Under that huge frame was a heart of gold. Don’t let him fool you though; he had his Scandinavian stubborn and impatient side, just ask his kids! But, he was a softie at his core.
He truly came into his soft side after losing the love of his life, Mary Lou, in 1996. Mary Lou had rescued a small white dog several years earlier. The family did not have pets over the years but Dave thought it was okay to keep “Stranger”, as Mary Lou had named her, if she didn’t bark. Stranger must have known how spoiled she would be and not one bark ever came out of her mouth. It was an aahhh moment to see this big guy taking a little, fluffy white dog everywhere he went. Dave continued setting up Mary Lou’s elaborate Christmas display of Department 56 village scenes (is anyone interested in these collectibles). He also mastered making Mary Lou’s famous sweet roll recipe. Every holiday, Dave had the big green Tupperware container full of delicious frosted sweet rolls which were aptly named, Papa’s rolls.
David Harold Hansen was born on September 8, 1940 to Harold and Elvia (Engelsen) Hansen in Duluth, MN; the third of four children. Dave grew up in Duluth and spent most of his younger years living in a home on London Road that was always welcoming their North Shore relatives as well as acting like today’s Airbnb to other visitors