James “Jim” or “Jimmie” Hanson led a life of service to Minnesotans with disabilities. Hanson died in September due to respiratory failure. He was 74 and lived in the Twin Cities.
Hanson became quadriplegic at a young age. He graduated from Robbinsdale High School in 1966 and then went on to what is now Southwest State University in Marshall. During his college years he worked for disability rights and world peace.
While earning his master’s degree at the University Minnesota, Hanson co-founded Unicorn, a student and faculty committee formed to ensure equal educational opportunity for all, regardless of physical ability.
Hanson served as a social worker at Sister Kenny Institute for 40 years. For 15 years he concurrently worked at the University of Minnesota School of Public health as an educator in the field of sexuality and disability.
He was an ardent advocate for disabled people recovering from chemical dependency.
Hanson was a gifted musician, poet and artist. He was noted for his droll humor, but was serious about his devotion to the family and friends.
He is survived by his wife Michele, stepson Troy McDonald and grandson Zachary McDonald. Services have been held.