David Hansen, 89, Fergus Falls, (formerly of Elbow Lake) died Saturday, Jan. 31, at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Fergus Falls. Funeral services for David Hansen will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, at the Bethlehem/West Elbow Lake Lutheran Church in Elbow Lake with the Rev. Wes Moir and Pastor Scott Ruud officiating. Burial will be in the West Elbow Lake Lutheran Cemetery. Visitation will be held at the Erickson-Smith Funeral Home in Elbow Lake on Tuesday from 5-7 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. Visitation will resume one hour before services at the church.
David Clifton was born on July 9, 1919, at the Hansen farm in Elbow Lake Township of Grant County, Minnesota, the son of Henrik "Henry" Thorwald and Tillie (Burtness) Hansen of Norwegian heritage. He attended Pleasant Hill School District #10 through the eighth grade. He continued to work on the family farm.
On May 23, 1942, he entered the U.S. Army and served during W.W.II. During his tenure he received the following decorations and citations: American Theatre Ribbon, W.W.II Victory Medal, and Good Conduct Medal. He was an airplane and engine mechanic and attained the rank of Corporal.
David operated a machine shop and a small foundry and equipment for doing foundry work in his machine shop, which was located at his home place, the Hansen farm. He made many of his own tools and machines such as a heavy duty, fifty-ton hydraulic press; and automatic circle cutter, to cut perfect circles in plate steel; and an automatic machine made from an old lathe chuck and electrical speed reducing motors which were used to build up worn shafts with the wire welder. All this saved time and money for the farmers and implement dealers in an area of approximately seventy-mile radius.
He was a member of the Lake Region Pioneer Threshermen's Association of Dalton where he started a blacksmith shop, had a shingle machine, Rumley tractor and small gas engines. When Dalton Threshermen could not buy the needed parts for the antique tractors anywhere, David melted aluminum to make castings. By using special operations: the castings were turned in one of the three metal turning lathes or shaped in the milling machine or in cutting key ways depending upon which operation was needed to make the part. He made pistons, piston rings, valves, hardened wrist pins, and many other parts for the threshermen.
David's knowledge, skill with machinery, and the hardening and tempering of steel made it possible to make parts for the machinery that broke down for the farmers. He made special splines on shafts such as power take-offs and other complicated pieces.
When a combine company gave orderes to the repairmen to replace bent shafts, because the shafts would break in a short time, David straightened the shafts. All the shafts he straightened were in use for a long time and the machines were in good running order. One spring he helped a farmer remodel a 16-row corn planter to a combination 32-row soybean and 16-row corn planter. He made special tapered threads for well drillers in their drilling operation.
Although David did not register any inventions, he provided Cosmos International Inc. with a special automatic machine, which was used eight hours per day and worked well. He also made special tools and machines for Cosmos Enterprises. For Amundson Equipment he made a special tool for removing and installing the large bearings on the 4-wheel drive tractor.
David's favorite expression was, "If you don't try to do something, you won't learn anything."
On June 5, 1951, he married Laura Bah. He later married Inga Blechl at the West Elbow Lake Lutheran Church by Reverend Paul Petersen.
He was a member of Bethlehem/West Elbow Lake Lutheran Church and also a member of the American Legion Post #321 of Elbow Lake.
His hobbies included machinist work and also welding and creating various metal projects in the foundry, photography, and wood carving.
He entered the Minnesota Veterans Home of Fergus Falls on March 3, 1999.
Preceding him in death were his parents; his wife, Laura on April 29, 1979; and wife, Inga on November 5, 2001; a sister, Blanche Hansen on January 9, 2001, brothers Raymond on August 2, 2003, Phillip on November 16, 2006, and sisters-in-law Lucille and Harriet.
His family includes a sister, Irene J. Hansen of Elbow Lake; and a brother, Thorwald (Jenny) of Elbow Lake; a niece, Gail (Glen) Bjornstad and two nephews, Jay (Janice) Hansen and Ralph (Denise) Hansen along with a host of friends.
Arrangements are with the Erickson-Smith Funeral Home in Elbow Lake.