Family was more important than anything for Jean Hanson, and Saturday morning, her many friends and family gathered at St. Peter's United Church to remember the impact she had on all their lives.
Hanson died on at Maison Vale Hospice on Feb. 3, after a decade-long battle with cancer. She was 63.
Her husband, Bob Hanson, could not hold back his tears when he thought back at their 41-year relationship.
He said he approached marriage as a learning opportunity, and Hanson decided it would be a wonderful teaching opportunity.
Hanson's sister Rosemary said she was born to be a teacher. And that was what she did.
She had a 40-year career in education, which culminated with a six-year stint as the Rainbow District School Board's director of education. She had also been a teacher, special education consultant, principal and superintendent.
Hanson's friend Elaine, who had known her since elementary school, spoke about her generosity and caring personality.
“Jean never forgot her roots,” Elaine said.
When she became ill, Hanson never complained and continued to be optimistic, her friends and family said.
After her retirement she continued to be involved with the community and raised money for the United Way Sudbury and Nipissing Districts.
Hanson was vice-chair of the organization's campaign in 2012, and was set to lead the campaign in 2013, but had to bow out due to illness.
She received many accolades for her contributions, including the 2011 Community Builders Award for Education, presented by Northern Life.
But Hanson's sister-in-law, Colleen Hanson, said in her eulogy that hard work and dedication to the causes of children's education were their own reward for Hanson. The awards she had been given throughout her career were tucked away, out of sight, in her home.
Hanson's son, Russell Hanson read one of his mother's favourite poems, Rudyard Kipling's “If”, during the service.
The poem describes Kipling's views on the true measure of a man, and how qualities like humility and stoicism are more important than wealth and power.