History of Hansen-Spear Funeral Home
For more than 80 years the Hansen-Spear Funeral Home has served the families of Quincy and its surrounding communities. Founded in 1929 by Walter D. and Helene H. Hansen, the original Hansen Funeral Chapel was located at Eighth and Jefferson where the couple set out to support families in times of loss.
Both were licensed funeral directors who understood that their role in the community was larger than the gentle services they provided. They were lifelong members of St. James Lutheran Church serving in roles such as Sunday School Superintendent (Walter), the Altar Guild, St. James Ladies Aid and the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (Helene). Their community service stretched across organizations to include Walter’s long-time participation in the Quincy Noon Kiwanis Club where he served as president in 1944 and district lieutenant governor in 1977-78. He also served on the Visiting Nurses Board, was past president of the South Side Commercial Club and the Good Samaritan Home. Walter had served as president of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association and visited every funeral home in the state of Illinois (outside of Chicago), while he was president.
Helene was also a member of the Women’s City Club, Valparaiso University Guild, a lifetime member of the Good Samaritan Home and a charter member of the Quincy Chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons. Volunteering and service were essential aspects of Walter and Helene’s lives.
Their son-in-law, George H. Spear, joined the business in 1955 becoming a full partner in 1962. At that time the company name was changed to Hansen-Spear Funeral Home. By 1965 their daughter Charlotte was actively involved in the management of the funeral home. George and Charlotte’s son Jeff and his wife Theresa Powers Spear joined the corporation in 1979 and now own the firm.
In 2007, they were joined in the business by their son William.
Today, the example set by Walter and Helene stretches across four generations inspiring a continued commitment to providing excellence in bereavement care services on behalf of Quincy and the surrounding communities.
Helene A. Hansen
Mrs. Hansen was born July 3, 1900, in Quincy, a daughter of Peter and Fredericka Siebrasse Bruenger. She married Walter D. Hansen in Quincy, June 8, 1928. He survives.
Mrs. Hansen attended St. James Lutheran School. She was a licensed funeral director with Hansen-Spear Funeral Home which opened March 1, 1929 as Hansen Funeral Home at Eighth and Jefferson. She retired in 1965.
Mrs. Hansen was a member of St. James Lutheran Church, Altar Guild and the St. James Ladies Aid, and the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League which she had served as president. She was also a member of Women’s City Club and Valparaiso University Guild, a life member of Good Samaritan Home and a charter member of Quincy Chapter of American Association of Retired Persons. She was a former member of the Blessing Hospital Guild and had previously volunteered at Good Samaritan home.
Survivors also include a son, Robert D. Hansen of Midland, MI; two daughters; Mrs. George H. (Charlotte) Spear of Quincy, and Mrs. James R. (Rosemary) Tobias of Crestwood, MO; nine grandchildren, John Spear of Bonita Springs, FL, Tom Tobias of St. Louis, Mo, Dr. Robert Spear of Baltimore, MD, Jeffrey Spear of Quincy, MRs. Kirk (Peggy) Gerstacker, Robert Hansen Jr., and Jane Hansen, all of Midland, MI and Mark and Jana Tobias, both of Crestwood, MO; and 10 great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Hansen was preceded in death by four brothers, Walter, Hugo, Elmer and Ray Bruenger; four sisters, Edith Bruenger, Ella Buxman, Esther Hempleman and Norma Heckenkamp, and two infant siblings.
Services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Friday in St. James Lutheran Church by Dr. Hugo Kaeding. Burial will be in Greenmount Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday in the Hansen-Spear Funeral Home.
Walter D. Hansen
Walter Douglass was born April 16, 1900 in St. Louis, Missouri. He was put in an orphanage and adopted at the age of 3 by Mr. & Mrs. Fred Hansen of Freeport, Illinois. He came to Quincy as a young boy and attended St. James Grade School. In March 1990, he received the first Distinguished Alumnus Award at St. James Lutheran School where the fourth generation of his family was in attendance. He went to work in a stove foundry and at the age of 17 moved to Detroit, Mi. to live with his sister. He went to Worsham School of Mortuary Science in Chicago and graduated in 1927. He then returned to Quincy and married his grade school sweetheart, Helen Bruenger, June 8, 1928.
Mr. Hansen was a member of St. James Lutheran Church since childhood and served many years as Sunday School Superintendent. He was a former member of the Church Board and Church Council. He joined the Quincy Noon Kiwanis Club in November 1929, 9 years after it had been organized in Quincy. He had 65 years perfect attendance. He served as President in 1944 and district lieutenant governor in 1977-78. He had long been active in the club’s “Travel & Adventure” series and also in recruiting new members. In June 1992 the Noon Kiwanis established the Walt Hansen Scholarship Fund in his honor. This scholarship goes to a graduating senior. He also served many years on the visiting nurses Board. He was also a past president of the South Side Commercial Club and of the Good Samaritan Home where he also served as a board member. He was also a graduate of Gem City Business College.
Mr. Hansen opened Hansen Funeral Home on March 1, 1929 at 8th & Jefferson. The business was later moved to 835 State and then to 16th & State. His son-in-law joined the firm in 1955 and became a partner in 1962 when the business was changed to Hansen-Spear Funeral Home. In 1957 he was selected State President of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association (IFDA) where he was always active.
Mr. Hansen died January 14, 1999 at the age of 98. He was Quincy’s oldest funeral director.
Charlotte H. Spear
Charlotte Hansen Spear, of 617 Garden Court, Quincy died Friday, November 2, 2007 at 11:30 pm in Blessing Hospital.
She was born February 12, 1931 in Quincy, Illinois, the daughter of Walter Douglass and Helene Bruenger Hansen. She is survived by her husband, George H. Spear whom she married on August 25, 1951 in Quincy, IL.
Charlotte was a 1948 graduate of Quincy High School and a 1952 graduate of Valparaiso University. She was actively involved with the Quincy High School Alumni Association. She taught English for 1 year at Chesterton High School in Chesterton, Indiana. She later taught Spanish for 1 year at Quincy High School. Since 1965, Charlotte was actively involved in the management of Hansen-Spear Funeral Home which her parents founded in 1929. Her husband has been with the funeral home since 1955, her son, Jeffrey and his wife Theresa Powers Spear since 1979, and her grandson William Spear just joined the firm. Charlotte was a member of St. James Lutheran Church and formerly an active member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society, the Sunday School and the Parent Teachers League of St. James School where she held numerous offices. She was a member of the American Association of Universitiy Women, Women’s City Club where she was a past president of the board, Chapter EC, P.E.O., and the Quincy Country Club. She was a former member of the Board of Directors of the Quincy Public Library, Altrusa Club of Quincy, and the Board of Directors of the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. In 2004, George and Charlotte received the Mississippi Valley Conference of Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award.
Survivors in addition to her husband are 3 sons, John Spear and his wife Lisa, Bonita Springs, FL; Dr. Robert Spear and his wife Jan, Coronado, CA; Jeffrey Spear and his wife Theresa, Quincy; 4 grandsons, William Spear, Quincy; Lt. Nicholas J. Spear and his wife Sarah, Corpus Christi, TX; Nicholas R. Spear, and Matthew Spear, both Coronado, CA; a step granddaughter, Jessica Eaton, Chicago, IL; 2 step grandsons, Zachary Eaton and his wife Cassy, and Joshua Eaton, all of Bonita Springs, FL; a step great granddaughter, Kylie Eaton, Bonita Springs, FL; a brother, Dr. Robert Hansen and his wife Eleanor, Midland, MI; a sister, Rosemary Tobias and her husband James, St. Louis, MO; and numerous cousins, nieces & nephews.
She was preceded in death by her mother in 1988 and her father in 1999.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, November 6, 2007 at 10:00 am in the St. James Lutheran Church, 17th and Jefferson. Visitation will be Monday evening from 3-7pm at Hansen-Spear Funeral Home. Burial will be in Greenmount Cemetery. Memorials may be given to the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area. Hansen-Spear Funeral Directors are in charge of arrangements.