Obituary: DONALD PAUL “SWEDE” HANSEN
SWEDE” HANSEN, 91
May 29, 1929 – August 29, 2020
Donald Paul “Swede” Hansen was born May 29, 1929 in Alamosa, Colorado to Mabel Fern Hutchinson Hansen and Sophus Paul Hansen. He went home to our Lord at his home in Yoder, Colorado, on July 29, 2020.
He was six years old when his dad died, about 10 when he started work at the sale barn in Alamosa for Hank Wiscamp. When he went to get his check Hank asked his name. He said Donald Hansen. Hank said, “just another Swede” and he was called that most of his life, even though he was Danish, not Swedish.
Swede was a cowboy most of his life, cowboying for Governor Adams when he was young. He attended high school in Alamosa and was drafted into the
National Guard in 1950, but a bull riding injury meant he spent his time in the Guard peeling potatoes instead of seeing active combat. Most of the company he was assigned to did not come back, and Swede’s military records were lost in a fire.
Swede married Laura Cowan on June 11, 1950. They had two babies in their first two years of marriage, Sharon and Charlotte. Twelve years later they adopted a son, Donald “Pete” Hansen.
When Swede was about 25 he started his career as a rodeo clown and bullfighter. He clowned for Paul Long of Alden, Kansas, and Bob Burns of Cherokee, Iowa. Swede, with his wife and two daughters, traveled all over the Midwest rodeoing. He rode saddle broncs, steer wrestled and roped calves, as well as clowning. He also filled in as a pick-up man occasionally, in his longhandles, because his clown pants would not fit over the saddle. He showed and broke horses to supplement their income.
Around 1960 he built his own arena in Alamosa and started his career as a rodeo producer and stock contractor. In 1962 he and his family moved to Colorado Springs to the Reed Ranch, which was part of the Flying W, and produced rodeos for two years there. Then they moved to Templeton Gap, where he built another arena, and introduced many young men to their first bull or horse. He did a lot of Little Britches rodeos. On the Fourth of July he would always have a fireworks show after the rodeo.
He spent 15 years of winters in Nevada, putting on rodeos, returning to Colorado to put on rodeos in the summer. Through the years he won many awards, and many buckles. He won highest priced saddle bronc in the NFR in 2010, and received a beautiful buckle.
Swede was raised in the First Baptist Church in Alamosa and was a faithful church-goer no matter where he was. The Fellowship of Christian Cowboys had services at most of his rodeos. He was faithful also to take his wife, kids and grandchildren to church.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Laura, and two daughters, Sharon Crandall of Ordway, Colorado, and Charlotte Thopson of Battle Mountain, Nevada. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren that include P.J. Galavis, who was special to him and in these later years took on the job of helping him.
Swede was preceded in death by his son, Donald “Pete” Hansen, two grandchildren, Laura Beth Galaviz, and Slade Paul Thompson, and two sons-in-law, Dave Thompson and Charles Crandall.
His death is the beginning of an end of an era of real cowboys, good Christian men who were great husbands, fathers and grandfathers.
Contributions can be made in his memory to the church of your choosing.