Bio: Hansen, Hazel (Donation Public Library - 2006)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Hansen, Wetzel

----Source: The Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 27 Dec 2006

Teacher wills $270,000 to local library

Where there’s a will, there’s a way to help your local library

A Neillsville High School graduate, who went on to a life-time of teaching before her recent death, has demonstrated that notion in no uncertain terms. Before she died, Hazel Hansen named the Neillsville Public Library as a major beneficiary in her will, bequeathing more than a quarter-million dollars to be used as needed. The Neillsville Public Library Board last week gratefully accepted the $270,614 from Hansen’s estate. Hansen died last year in her home state of Washington.

Hansen graduated from the Neillsville High School in 1938 and was a school teacher at several schools in Wisconsin before moving to Washington, Library Board President Walter Wetzel said after the Board’s Dec. 21st meeting. During that meeting, Board members formally accepted the gift and voted to place the funds in the Mid-Wisconsin Bank in Neillsville until a decision is made as to how the funds will be spent.

Hansen never married and taught schools in Madison and Fond du Lac before moving to Washington where she continued teaching until her retirement, according to Wetzel.

Before Hansen died, she willed 30% of her estate to the Neillsville Public Library, Wetzel said, with most of the balance going to libraries in Madison and Fond du Lac. He surmised that her motivation for the substantial gift to the local library was her ties to Neillsville, including likely visits to the library as she was growing up in Neillsville.

It was made clear in Hansen’s will, however, that the Library Board could use the funds as they saw fit. “It was a wide-open gift,” Wetzel said. “There are no strings attached.”

Wetzel said that the Library Board has, for the past year, been talking about having a retaining wall constructed in the area of the steep grassy knoll on the library’s west side along Hewett Street.

He has some ideas of his own as to what library projects would be most beneficial to the community, and he will be talking about those at a later time, said Wetzel, adding that the Board would be open to input from the community.

The Library Board will be meeting Feb. 6th for discussion, and possible action, for the potential uses of the funds. Community comment would be welcomed.

“This is excellent for the whole community of Neillsville. Everyone should be thankful for the gift,” said Wetzel.

Hazel Hansen, in her 1938 Neillsville High School graduation picture













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