History of the Hansen-Spear Funeral Home
For over 90 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 eventually became partners in ownership and leading the family business into the 21st century. In 2007, they were joined in the business by their son, William “Will” Spear. In 2016, Will Spear and long time Hansen-Spear funeral director, Brian Durante, joined as partners at Hansen-Spear to lead the firm into the future.
Today, the example set by Walter and Helene stretches across four generations of family and staff inspiring a continued commitment to providing excellence in bereavement care services on behalf of Quincy and the surrounding communities.
The Heritage of Hansen-Spear
Helene A. Hansen
Helene A. Hansen, 87, of 12 Wilmar Drive, died at 1 p.m. Monday, May 8, 1988 in Blessing Hospital.
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.
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.
George H. Spear
George Harry Spear, age 85, of 617 Garden Court, died Wednesday (June 19, 2013) at 11:29 p.m. in Blessing Hospital.
He was born November 5, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois the son of Harry G. and Suzanne Strban Spear. On August 25, 1951 he married Charlotte Hansen in St. James Lutheran Church. She preceded him in death on Nov. 2, 2007.
After high school graduation, George served in the U. S. Army during World War II. In 1953 he graduated from Valparaiso University and worked for U. S. Steel Corporation in Management training until he enrolled in St. Louis College of Mortuary Science. He graduated in 1955 and came to Quincy where he became a partner in the Hansen-Spear Funeral Home in 1962.
In his early years in Quincy, George was actively involved in many Jaycee projects and received the Distinguished Service Award in 1962. He also was very active with the Y.M.C.A. in membership campaigns and building campaigns. He was a member of St. James Lutheran Church where he had served on the church council and was head usher for many years. He was an active member of the Quincy Rotary Club where he was a Paul Harris Fellow and a Rotary Benefactor, and was a member of the Quincy Country Club. He was a member of Quincy Blue Devil Sports Hall of Fame and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. He had been chairman of the trustees of Quincy Athletic Development Association and was an avid QHS Blue Devil basketball fan, having been a long time member and former chair of the Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament Committee.
George was a former member of the Quincy School Board, the Salvation Army Advisory Board and was the First Chairman of the Salvation Army Home Town Endowment Campaign. He served six years on the Blessing Hospital Board, the facility that took such wonderful care of him last week at the E.R., the ICU and the Cardiovascular Unit. He was also a former member of South Side Commercial Club, the Adams County Chapter of the American Cancer Society where he chaired the Crusade in 1962. He was also actively involved with the United Way and served on the Board of Directors. He was on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and was vice-president of GREDF. In 2004, George and Charlotte received the Mississippi Valley Council of Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award, and he was honored by the Girls Scouts in 2010 for community service. If some organization needed funds, George would either give it or get it. His big heart finally gave out.
George and Charlotte enjoyed traveling to Chicago to see his beloved Chicago Cubs, although dinner at Gibsons afterwards, where he was considered a ‘local’ was just as special. Dinner out anywhere was the norm for George and Charlotte, and they dearly loved all of the waiters and waitresses who took such good care of them.
George and Charlotte also enjoyed the winter months in Bonita Springs, Florida where they vacationed, first for short periods and more recently during November and the three winter months. George was a “Rotary Regular” at the Rotary Club of Bonita Springs, regularly attended services and volunteered folding bulletins at Hope Lutheran Church, and spent countless hours soaking up the warm Florida sunshine on Bonita Beach.
Survivors include 3 sons; John D. (Lisa) Spear of Bonita Springs, FL, Dr. Robert M. (Jan) Spear of Coronado, CA, and Jeffrey G. (Theresa) Spear of Quincy; 4 grandsons, William A. (Dr. Kristin) Spear of Quincy, Capt. Nicholas J. (Sarah) Spear of Sacramento, CA, Nicholas R. Spear and Matthew G. Spear of Coronado, CA; 1 step granddaughter, Jessica Eaton of Chicago, IL; 2 step grandsons, Zachary Eaton and Joshua (Casey) Eaton, all of Bonita Springs, FL; 2 step great grandchildren, Kylie and Madison Eaton, both of Bonita Springs, FL; 3 brothers, Clarence (Carol) Spear, John (Sherry) Spear, and Louis Spear, all of LaPorte, IN; 2 sisters, Anne (Bob) Salay of Cadillac, MI, and Mary Jane (Jim) Goad of Fort Worth, TX, and his special friend, Monica Wickliffe of Bonita Springs, FL. He was also preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Capt. William Spear and James Spear, and a sister Sue Brown.
Services: Monday (July 1, 2013) at 11 a.m.St. James Lutheran Church with the Rev. Marlin Rempfer and Rev. Mike Fieberkorn officiating.
Burial will be in Greenmount Cemetery.
Visitation: Sunday (June 30, 2013) from 1 until 5 pm at the Hansen-Spear Funeral Home.
Memorials: The Community Foundation of the Quincy Area
Hansen-Spear Funeral Directors are in charge of arrangements.