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BE Legion’s newest member is a young 102 years old

By Staff | Jun 15, 2014

Most people, if they would live to be over 100 years old, would think about winding down a little.

Many would not be interested in joining an organization.

But, Harold Lea Verne “Stub” Hanson did exactly that at the ripe old age of 102.

Hanson, now of Blue Earth, joined the American Legion Post 89 in Blue Earth recently.

“Stub,” as his fellow Legionnaires love to call him, was pretty excited to join the group. And, they likewise were excited to have a new member. They think he might be the oldest person to ever join any American Legion Club.

Last Monday night, “Stub” Hanson was formally inducted into the Legion. On hand were dignitaries from the state Legion organization as well as the national American Legion.

They presented him with certificates of membership and appreciation of his service to his country, as well as commemorative Legion coins and pins.

And, a brand new Legion hat.

Several persons wondered how “Stub” Hanson came to live in Blue Earth, and how come he had never joined an American Legion post before.

Here is his story.

Hanson was born on Nov. 25, 1911 in Dodge County, Wisconsin. He moved to Renville with his family when he was young.

He lived there with his family of seven brothers and one sister, working as a carpenter with his father. He never married and lived alone most of his life.

His military career involved joining the U.S. Navy in January of 1942, during World War II and being assigned to the Merchant Fleet. He served on several ships, mainly cargo vessels.

While in the service, Hanson says he basically sailed everywhere in the world, including many passages through the Panama Canal. He was in the Philippines, Calcutta, Persia, Iran and Iraq. Also Australia, New Guinea and Cape Town, Africa, just to name a few places.

His most interesting Navy story is how his ship was sunk during the war and he was one of the few survivors. That is because he had become sick with sand flea fever and had been taken to a British hospital.

His ship was torpedoed in the Caribbean while he was recovering. He says it had a full load of ore and went down like a rock.

Later in life, in 1979, Hanson moved to Baudette, after having visited there and building a cabin for a friend of his.

He ended up building his own cabin next to the Rapid River near Clemenson where he lived alone, even after passing the century mark in age.

His two nieces, Jacqui Dikken and Dr. Terry Hanson, both live in Blue Earth. The two decided to move their uncle from Baudette to Blue Earth so he would not have to go into a nursing home.

He has been living with his niece, Dr. Hanson, since moving here last year.

“He has been a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for many, many years,” Dikken says. “He wanted to continue that, but the VFW does not meet in Blue Earth.”

So, “Stub” Hanson decided he would join the veterans group in Blue Earth which does meet here American Legion Post 89.

On hand to congratulate him on his Legion membership were Gene Olswold, American Legion Second District commander and Jennifer Kafka, Second District vice commander and commander elect.

Also here was Marland Ronning, Alternate National Executive Committeeman of Minnesota, from Maple Grove.

The Legion officials welcomed “Stub” Hanson into membership and thanked him on behalf of his fellow veterans and the citizens of the United States for his military service.

As for himself, Hanson said he was just doing his patriotic duty, and really did not want all of this fanfare.

“I am not really somebody special,” he said. “Just an ordinary man.”

A 102-year-old ordinary man. And now proud member of the American Legion.