Michael (Mick/Mickey/Opa) Albert Hansen, 71, was released from his 12-year battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease on Sunday, January 16. His passing was ushered by his wife and soulmate of 49 years, his devoted younger sister, and the heroic staff at Bright Star Senior Living Waunakee (memory care) and Agrace Hospice Care.
Born on December 23rd of 1950, Mick was the third of four children of Albert and Lorraine (Fonk) Hansen of Racine. A 1969 graduate of J.I. Case High School, he later obtained bachelor’s degrees from UW River Falls (Science Education), Marquette University (Physical Therapy), and a master’s from Cardinal Stritch University (Health Administration). He was recognized in the community for his athletics: playing football, basketball, & baseball, and coaching his sons’ community basketball and baseball teams. Mick also championed the physical therapy vocation, and his lifetime of patients, with ownership and partnership of two Racine/Kenosha agencies (Racine Physical Therapy & Southport Rehab Associates Inc.).
Away from work Mick loved coaching, traveling (especially to Germany after he had taught himself to speak fluent German and with his penchant for WWII history), outdoor adventures in a kayak, on a bike, or on skis (especially in Door County), and anything that involved his family. His infectious and witty sense of humor was a hallmark of his personality and enriched (most of) his relationships. Home improvements and tasks involving a toolbox, however, were notoriously far from his abilities and patience a source of many hilarious and treasured “Clark Griswold-like” moments.
Mick faced his terminal illness with strength, courage, grace, and even levity. Not once did he complain or indulge in self-pity. Instead, for years he volunteered in clinical trials, cognitive testing, and medical procedures with the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center so that a cure or treatment would be available for future generations. Serious conversations were replaced with jokes, ping-pong, dancing, The Greatest Showman on continuous loop, and long walks. Mick never stopped rooting for the Green Bay Packers and the Milwaukee Bucks, or fist-pumping/air-drumming to his favorites of Pitbull (yes, you read that correctly) and Willie Nelson.
Mick is survived by his high school sweetheart who he met in math class, Karla (Kolls); two sons, Wes (David) & Kevin (Gina); two grandchildren (Emma & Michael); and three siblings, Sandra, James (Donna), & Mary. In place of a traditional funeral his life will be honored in an intimate and immediate family celebration surrounded by nature and love. Contributions honoring/in memory of Mick can be made to Agrace Hospice Care at agrace.org/donate or via check to the Agrace Foundation, 5395 E. Cheryl Parkway, Madison, WI 53711.
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Published by Winn-Cress Funeral & Cremation Services – Waunakee on Jan. 20, 2022.