February 9, 1939 - October 17, 2014
A career nurse who was a leader in developing progressive care techniques for dialysis patients and who helped to establish the first intensive care units at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans, Patricia “Patty” Hanson believed laughter was a key component of any health care routine. Writing about her own battle with cancer, Hanson said laughter “is the mighty sword that slays the sleeping snake. I think of cancer as a vicious poisonous snake.” Cancer was something she fought for four years, using what she called her arsenal of angels: faith, laughter, hope, meditation, courage, and her friends and family. “I never prayed to be cured. I left that up to God,” she wrote. “I asked for courage and strength.” Hanson, who was 75, died Oct. 17 at Wellmont Hospice in Bristol, Tennessee. Her husband of 47 years, John T. Hanson Jr., was at her side. A funeral Mass and internment will be held Saturday, Oct. 25, at St. Anne Catholic Church in Bristol, Virginia. Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m., with the Mass beginning at 11 a.m. Interment in the church cemetery will follow the Mass. The Rev. Kevin Segerblom will be officiating. Family and friends said Hanson’s laughter and faith were just part of her nature. “She was so … childlike, in everything,” said her son, John Hanson III. “She was a very smart woman but always expressed this childlike excitement about everything. She would just light up when she was learning and experiencing new things.” She also loved watching movies - particularly scary ones, her son said - spending time with family and friends and playing with her grandchildren. And she was active for a time in Toastmasters, winning a first-place award in 1985 for “Humorous Speech.” Father and son agreed: Hanson’s favorite place to go was Disneyworld. Yet on every trip the family took, she would persistently point with joy at the new sights and wonders they encountered. She always wanted to learn something new, her son said. And she always had a smile for everyone she met. Those traits made his mother a really sharp nurse, John Hanson III said. “And then, on this other side, this kid,” full of joy and wonder. Hanson, who was born Feb. 9, 1939, entered nursing school at the Touro Infirmary School of Nursing in New Orleans right out of high school. She grew up in the heart of the Crescent City and took the entrance exam for nursing school because her friend was doing so. When the school offered her a full-ride scholarship for the three-year, post high school program, she said she couldn’t refuse. “After about a year as an RN, and going to night school, I knew I would never leave nursing,” Hanson wrote in her manuscript about battling cancer. “Over the years I took many classes and earned certifications in many specialties. It just seemed that I never tired of learning how to give the best care to my patients.” Hanson spent most of her nursing career working for Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans, retiring in 2002. She earned several awards from the hospital, including an Ochsner’s Finest honor. During that time she worked on developing procedures and writing manuals on medical devices for home use by dialysis patients. She also worked for a time at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, the Veterans Administration Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, and at Prestonsburg General Hospital in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. During different periods in her career she specialized in intensive care nursing, cardiology, dialysis treatment, nursing education and pediatrics. She also worked with a number of cancer patients. She and her husband moved to Bristol, Virginia, in 2006, after Hurricane Katrina ravaged their hometown, but mostly to be closer to their son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren who live in Fredericksburg, Virginia. A small crystal bluebird sits on the window sill in the Hanson kitchen, a gift from one of her patients. “When I feel a little down, I look at my bluebird and smile, and it lifts me up,” Hanson wrote, explaining that much of her courage was drawn from the inspiration provided by the patients she served over the years. In addition to her husband, John T. Hanson Jr., and son, John T. Hanson III, she is survived by her daughter-in-law, Janine, and granddaughters, Madeline, 11, Lauren, 9, Catherine, 6, and Josey, 4, all from Fredericksburg, Virginia; her sister, Sharon Callegan of Picayune, Mississippi; and her sisters-in-law, Anne Angell of New Orleans and Patricia Oster of Covington, Louisiana. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Patty Hanson’s favorite charity, St. La Salle Auxiliary in care of Brother Louis Welker, FSC, 917 S. Jahncke Ave., Covington, LA 70433.
A career nurse who was a leader in developing progressive care techniques for dialysis patients and who helped to establish the first intensive care units at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans, Patricia “Patty” Hanson believed laughter... View Obituary & Service Information
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