New Richmond:
(715) 243-5252  |  
River Falls:
(715) 425-8788

Joan Hansen 06/27/2023

Joan Clare Kuechler Hansen, 84, passed away peacefully on June 27, 2023 at home in River Falls with her family by her side.
Joan was born in Herbster, WI to William and Myrtle Kuechler on November 2, 1938. She graduated from South Shore High School in Port Wing, WI, and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 1961, with degrees in Art and Elementary Education. She later earned her Master of Science Degree in Education.
During her time at UWRF, Joan met William Hansen, and they were married August 8, 1964. Bill and Joan had two children, William and Bethany.
Joan began her teaching career in White Bear Lake, MN. After the family moved back to River Falls, she started a 22-year career teaching third grade at St. Bridget Catholic School. She also taught “Art for Elementary Teachers” at UWRF. Joan loved teaching and her students, and each year’s class was her “favorite”.
Joan loved being a wife, mom, grandmother, and aunt and was deeply loved in return. Her family will miss her patience, her beautiful smile, her kindness, her intelligence, her creativity, and her positive and supportive nature.
Joan is survived by her loving husband of 58 years, Bill, their children Bill (Karen) of River Falls and Bethany of Minneapolis, grandchildren Ryan Lee, Kaitlin (Mike) Pavlich, Chloe (Kyle) Heinecke, and Derick (fiancée Sydney Cernohous) Hansen, great-grandchildren Mataya, Mya, Rylee, Ayla, Olivia, and Amelia, and great-great grandchild, Elijah. Joan is also survived by siblings Dorothy Kaiser, Don (Jan) Kuechler, and Ken (Diane) Kuechler, her many nieces and nephews, and hundreds of her former students.
Joan is preceded in death by her parents, sisters Ruth (Frank) Friebe and Jean Kuechler, brother Bill (Roberta) Kuechler, and great-grandson Brody Pavlich.
Mass of Christian Burial was held Friday, July 7, 2023 at 11 am at St. Bridget Catholic Church, 211 E Division Street, River Falls, WI and can be watched through the link just below this obituary. Visitation was on Thursday, July 6, 2023 from 4-8 pm with a prayer and memory sharing service at 7:30 pm at Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services, 805 E Division Street, River Falls, WI and on Friday from 10-11 am at the church. Interment will be at a later date in St. Anne’s Cemetery in Turtle Lake, WI.  Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.


Click here to watch the recording of Joan’s service



  • Mark Posted June 29, 2023 8:08 pm

    I remember Aunt Joan’s art work hanging in the hallway of our first house out in the country in the hallway and I have one of them of a circus at night.

    She was always so sweet and I deeply appreciate her prayers for me during my cancer treatment.

    • Bethany Hansen Posted June 30, 2023 6:21 pm

      Thank you, Mark. Yes, you were the focus of many a Rosary 💕.

  • Bill Hansen (son) Posted July 1, 2023 9:06 am

    Mom Fun Fact: My Mom was a life-long baseball fan. As a child she would listen to the Milwaukee Braves (Hank Aaron era) on the radio and chart/scorekeep the baseball games in a notebook. Later Mom and Dad had Minnesota Twins season tickets and they attended the 1987 and 1991 World Series games. Instead of watching baseball on TV, she and Dad would rather take a drive in the car and listen to games on the radio.Locally they enjoyed attending River Falls Fighting Fish games.

  • Bill Hansen (son) Posted July 1, 2023 11:22 am

    Art was also a huge part of my Mom’s life. As a college student she would sell a portion of her meal plan vouchers to buy extra art supplies. Later, while working for a small parochial school with a limited budget for “extras”, she would drive up to St. Paul Book and Stationary to use her own money to buy art supplies for her classroom. She felt very strongly that every student needed to have the chance to try different art forms and maybe discover a passion of their own. At home Beth and I definitely had the big 64-count boxes of crayons!

    • Bethany Hansen Posted July 1, 2023 8:30 pm

      So true! No child in her class or her family lacked for art supplies. And, she would designate certain walls in the house as “canvases” for our creative works. We were the only kids I knew who were encouraged to draw and paint on the walls! 🙂

  • Fred & Yvonne Benson Posted July 2, 2023 9:21 pm

    Joan was such a loving and caring person. She had a heart of gold. She was such a wonderful teacher and my kids all loved and respected her. She was soft spoken and always took time for her students. Her passion of teaching showed in everything she did. She cared about everyone. She and Bill were such a wonderful, kind and living couple. We will miss her! Sending you our love, prayers and hugs. Gid bless you all and may she rest in peace.

    • Bethany Hansen Posted July 2, 2023 10:00 pm

      Thank you for your condolences and kind (and accurate :)) remembrances of Mom, Fred and Yvonne. She did indeed have a heart of gold. Blessings to you, Bethany (Joan’s daughter)

  • Eric Amundsen Posted July 2, 2023 11:57 pm

    Mrs. Hansen was one of my favorite teachers and was also my oldest daughter Stephanie’s favorite teacher. Mrs. Hansen was such a special teacher and my wife and I were so excited to learn that she was going to be Stephanie teacher. Even at a young age I struggled with school and one thing I have always remembered was how patient and compassionate Mrs. Hansen was with me. It was her gift of teaching that helped hundreds of students over her career. Speaking of our daughter Stephanie, I remember when we first met with Mrs. Hansen when Stephanie was going to be in her class and I said, Mrs. Hansen, it is so good to see you and knowing you will be Stephanie’s teacher! She told me, Eric, you are an adult now and not in my class anymore, you can call me Joan. I looked at her and with great respect said, I may be an adult and not be in your class anymore, but I will always be your student and you will always be Mrs. Hansen to me. My life is better because Mrs. Hansen was a part of it.

    • Bethany Hansen Posted July 3, 2023 11:02 am

      Thank you for sharing your memories of Mom/Mrs. Hansen :). It’s wonderful that she got to teach both you and your daughter. She would love seeing a message from one of “her kids”, and it would mean a lot to her that you remember her patience and compassion related to struggling in school. Her perspective was: “If a student is struggling with something, that means I am not teaching it in a way that works for that student, and it is my job to figure out a way that is more helpful to them.”
      Thank you again for your kind words, Eric.

    • Bill Hansen Posted July 4, 2023 12:20 am

      Thank you Eric for your very heartfelt comments. My Mom enjoyed the fact that one of her students became the Mayor of River Falls. Nicely done!

  • June Gauvin Posted July 3, 2023 6:52 pm

    Bill and family, please accept my condolences on your loss of Joan. She was an excellent teacher. My girls, Kate and Suzanne, were fortunate to have her as their 3rd Grade teacher. We were also fortunate to have her on our faculty at St. Bridget’s. May she rest in peace!!

    • Bethany Hansen Posted July 3, 2023 10:10 pm

      Thank you so much, June. She treasured her time at St. Bridget’s and always spoke highly of you.

  • Judith DeGonda Posted July 4, 2023 3:51 pm

    Joan and I met as students at River Falls State College. Since we were both in Elementary Education, we had many classes together and became and remained friends forever. Our main contact was Christmas cards and letters throughout the years and lunches a few times after we both retired. She was a kind and gracious person who had a very calm demeanor which made her very easy to be around. And fun – we did have fun! I will miss her. Since I am no longer driving long distances and my husband has an appointment on Friday, I will be watching her service online. Condolences to all of her family.

    • William Hansen Posted July 4, 2023 5:41 pm

      Judith, Thanks for your kind thoughts and shared memories! Joan spoke of you often and enjoyed your friendship through the years! The best to you! Bill

  • Elizabeth Graf Posted July 4, 2023 8:36 pm

    Mrs. Hansen gave so much to her students and was the best of the best! I was fortunate to have her as my 3rd grade teacher and have memories of always wanting to ace my spelling test to win a candy bar from her and if she caught you sitting on your leg at your desk you would end up with a heart or smiley face on your shoe from her to name a few fun ones! I loved running into her thru the years in River Falls and catching up with her. May her family find comfort in knowing how many lives she really did touch! We are better humans for having her be part of our lives!

    • Bethany Hansen Posted July 5, 2023 5:29 pm

      Thank you for your kind words, Elizabeth. Mom would love knowing you have such fond – and fun – memories of being in her class. She loved running into “her kids” through the years, too, and getting updates on your lives. We are indeed all better for having her in our lives.

  • Julianne Posted July 5, 2023 8:59 pm

    Sending lots of love during this difficult time. I’ll always remember Joan with a smile on her face and the sweetest, softest voice. Joan and Bill were so clearly in love and I always admired that about them. What a beautiful life they created. 🩷

    She’ll be with you always and I’m sure her spirit will send you signs. Rainbows, butterflies & cardinals will appear and you’ll know she’s close by. 🩷

    • Bethany Hansen Posted July 6, 2023 9:27 am

      Thank you for your thoughtful message, Julianne. I have been thinking of you and your sisters a lot this week. Mom thought SO highly of your mom – as we all did. Mom’s smile and soft voice are among the things that I will remember most fondly, too. We will be sure to watch for signs that help to reassure us that she is still with us.

      • Julianne Posted July 6, 2023 9:54 pm

        Heaven sure gained two beautiful angels when they arrived. 🩷

  • Mark Posted July 7, 2023 12:13 pm

    Beautiful service. And even through his pain I could see my Uncle Bill’s wry and gentle humor shine through.

    My love to you all

    • Bethany Posted July 7, 2023 5:29 pm

      Thank you, Mark 💜 She loved you and all of the Kuechler cousins lots 💜

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *