Services for Alex Junior Hanschu, 85, Ramona, who passed away Dec. 13 at Hillsboro Community Hospital, were Monday.
He was born Feb. 5, 1937, on the family farm in rural Ramona, to Alexander and Susanna (Riffel) Hanschu.
He was baptized March 7, 1937, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ramona and confirmed April 2, 1950.
Trinity Church also is where Junior married the love of his life, Jeanetta Utech, on Aug. 23, 1964.
Farming, family, and faith were at the center of his life. Junior was born, raised, and lived on the originally settled Alexander Hanschu farmstead his entire life.
Junior was a self-employed farmer/rancher his entire life. He raised wheat, milo, corn, and beans and was extremely proud of his herds of Hereford cattle.
Junior graduated in 1954 from Ramona High School, where he played baseball, softball, and basketball. The stories told of how he and his brother Harold were ornery on and off the court were quite fascinating. He continued to play fast-pitch softball as an adult, and the stories told of his and Harold’s antics on the diamond were legendary.
Family was extremely important to Junior. The love and support he gave his children and grandchildren go beyond comparison.
Family gatherings for holidays were something Junior looked forward to and cherished year after year. Whatever the occasion or activity, often a ball game, Junior was there to support and cheer on his children and grandchildren.
Junior — or Grandpa H, as he is fondly referred to by many — became a constant presence in the Centre, Hillsboro, Little River, and Southeast of Saline communities. Grandpa’s love of family and sports, combined with his “I never met a stranger” personality, endeared him to many. Wherever he was going that evening, Junior made sure his attire was the correct color to show his avid support. He also enjoyed watching the Royals. If you called Grandpa during a Royals game, you would often get a play-by-play of the game during your conversation.
Junior also spent countless hours promoting, supporting, and attending community events around Ramona and Marion County. If there was something going on, you could count on Junior being there.
Participating for years in the Ramona Redneck Run on the Fourth of July was one of many things he enjoyed. He served on the Lewis Cemetery Board for many years and was on the Ramona High School Alumni Committee.
He was an iconic member of the Ramona community. Junior served Trinity Church in various capacities for decades. Church mattered to Junior, and he was a shining example of Christ-like service for all to follow.
Junior also was known for his quick wit and humor. When you lost something, he would always say, “I bet you found it in the last place you looked.” It was rare that you visited with Junior and didn’t laugh or grin at something he said.
He also had a large collection of hats. You name it, he had the hat. He was a competitive Pitch player and often was the life of the party with his uncanny ability to make his bid on nothing but an ace and jack.
Junior also spent hours reading all his newspapers from cover to cover each week. “Did you see that in the paper?” was often a common conversation starter for him.
One can only imagine how many chicken-fried steaks Grandpa ate, as that was his go-to meal almost every time. He also took pride in keeping a clean house, as that is what he said mom would have wanted.
Junior was a man of faith, which he relied on to get him through many things, none more so than when he became a widower Jan. 30, 2010.
Junior again leaned on his faith as a two-time cancer survivor. The example he gave to his children and grandchildren as a Christian was extremely meaningful to his loved ones.
In his final hours on earth, one of his final actions was to find the strength to fold his hands as the family surrounding him said the Lord’s Prayer.
He is survived by children Jayson (and wife Jan) Hanschu of Hillsboro, Jennifer (and husband Jeff) Braden of Windom, and Jolene Albrecht of Salina; grandchildren Jakob (and wife Kaylee) Hanschu, Jorge (and fiancé Maddy) Hanschu, Jaxxon Hanschu, Josh Braden, Kallie Albrecht, Morgan Albrecht, and Landon Albrecht; and sister-in-law Burma Hanschu.
His parents; wife; son-in-law Neil Albrecht; brothers Harry, Daniel, Arthur, Wilber, Paul, and Harold; and sister Velma Krause preceded him in death.
Memorials have been established with Lutheran Hour Ministries in care of Trinity Lutheran Church, Ramona, and Marion County Relay for Life.
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32.
Dad, Grandpa, friend — you will be dearly missed and always loved, but never forgotten.