Mourning the loss of Charles Hansen

Charles Hansen

MAY 23, 1926 – OCTOBER 14, 2018

Charles Hansen passed away peacefully October 14, 2018 at home in Clayton, Missouri.

He was born May 23, 1926 in Jersey City, New Jersey, to Charles and Katherine Hansen and was raised in Westfield, New Jersey where he graduated Westfield Senior High School when he just turned 16. He was Valedictorian and compiled an academic record unsurpassed for decades. He won the prestigious Westinghouse Prize, and was awarded scholarships to a number of universities. Because of the war, he enrolled instead in the U.S. Navy’s V-12 program for promising math and science students. The Navy sent him first to MIT, and then to the University of Michigan, from which he graduated with honors in 1946, at age 19. He then served on active duty as an Ensign (later Lieutenant, Junior Grade) with the Navy on board the cruiser USS Columbia. Following his honorable discharge, he worked as an Engineer for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh, where he developed flow meters and was awarded a U.S. Patent for his invention. He continued his education, under the GI Bill, at his beloved University of Michigan, this time in the Law School. To help support his studies, he taught Engineering at Michigan to undergraduates, many of whom were veterans years older than him. Following his graduation from the Law School in 1950 (Law Review, Order of the Coif), he took up a position as an associate attorney at the Mudge, Stern, Williams, and Tucker firm in New York. After several years of private practice, he decided to enter the corporate world, first as labor counsel to Sylvania Electric Products. In that job he traveled the east coast, trying labor cases in front of arbitrators. He never lost a case. In 1961 he was recruited to the Trane Company in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as Assistant General Counsel. At Trane he rose to General Counsel and then to Executive Vice-President, International. As much as he loved the law, his passion was business, and he relished the challenge of turning around companies that were not achieving good results. He made Trane’s international business a great success, with profitable subsidiaries and joint ventures around the world. In 1972 he left Trane, and a year later took on another set of challenges at Cutler-Hammer, International, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Cutler-Hammer, like Trane, had an underperforming international business. Traveling the world tirelessly, building and motivating his team, he quickly turned the business around. In recognition of his achievements he was made one of three members of the Office of Chief Executive at Cutler-Hammer. In 1979 Cutler-Hammer was acquired by Eaton International, and he returned to the law as Vice-President and General Counsel of Emerson Electric Company, in St Louis, Missouri. He transformed Emerson’s Law Department, introduced dramatic changes to the way Emerson evaluated and litigated cases, and became active in bar activities in order to bring about significant changes in corporate law and governance. In this as in everything else he did, he was energetic, focused and highly successful. After retiring from Emerson in 1989, he joined the firm of Bryan, Cave, McPheeters and McRoberts, in St Louis, as a partner. He practiced with Bryan Cave for almost 30 years, representing clients around the country on corporate issues, and published (with his partner Don G. Lents) the leading treatise on Missouri Corporate law, which he faithfully improved and updated through 11 editions.

In 1953 he married Carolyn Patricia Smith, and they had more than 60 years of great happiness together, until her death in 2014. Their children Mark and Melissa were born in 1956 and 1959 respectively.

Charles Hansen was far more than the sum of his resume. His talents were remarkable and varied. From the German he spoke fluently and polished diligently, to the fine furniture he crafted from the cherry wood of his favorite place, Door County, Wisconsin; to the prodigious reading of books in all fields; to his avid golf and tennis, his sunfish sailing (singlehandedly launching and captaining the boat from the Lake Michigan shore well into his 70s); to his full throated singing at church; to his ability to solve almost any problem; he was a force of nature whose like will not be seen again soon.

Charles is survived by children Mark of Washington, D.C., and Melissa of Espanola, New Mexico, and grandchildren Elisabeth Hansen of San Francisco, California, Caroline Hansen of New York, New York, and Charles Hansen of Lewiston, Maine.

There will be a Memorial Service at The First Congregational Church of St. Louis, 6501 Wydown Blvd., Clayton, MO 63105 on Saturday, November 24 at 1:00 pm; reception to follow at the church. The Memorial Service will be live streamed at: Anyone wishing to send gifts of remembrance should send them to Lydia’s House, P.O. Box 2722. Saint Louis, MO 63116.

Please leave a message of condolence or a favorite memory for the family to cherish at the “Share a Memory” link below.

Annual Golf Tournament

Join us
Monday, June 11, 2018
at Missouri Bluffs Golf Course
to once again honor Whitley Ray Russo and support the mission of Lydia’s House.

2017 Whitley Ray-Russo Memorial Golf Tournament raised $34K for Lydia’s House! Thank you to Ashley Russo and Diana Loewe’s tremendous efforts in making this such a successful tournament! The funds raised through their efforts will be used to provide quality services for the women and children residing at Lydia’s House.

For more information,check out the Tournament Brochure!

For more questions, contact Ellie at

Helping The Helpers

For nearly 23 years Lydia’s House has helped women and children move out of abusive relationships and into safety and self reliance. They have inspired countless numbers of women to invest in themselves and countless numbers of organizations to invest in the mission.

Many wonderful organizations, seeing the good work Lydia’s House does, are inspired to help them help others. Organizations aid Lydia’s House by organizing donations, food and clothing drives, auctions, etc.  But equally important, they lend their reputation and membership to the cause of Lydia’s House. They increase awareness of domestic violence by committing to put their entire company’s support behind our mission.

Lydia’s House exists because sometimes people need help helping themselves but we too rely on the support and help of others. The time, talents and treasures of various groups are invaluable in aiding Lydia’s House to provide life saving assistance to women every day.

Thank you to all volunteers, groups, organizations, individuals and businesses that have shown Lydia’s House support. With you, we are able to sustain and stand strong against adversity.


A Poem for Winter

I’m a falling snowflake,
so tiny and so small.

I don’t seem to matter,
but to those who see me fall.

Some say we all just look alike
and groups us all as snow,

And some will see we change.
the farther on we go.

We’re hurried with the wind,
and brushed aside by some,

While others stop to see
the wonderment we’ve done.

And all too soon our journey,
it comes to an end,

But we’ve touched along the way,
loved ones, foes and friends.

I’ve seen tears and I’ve seen smiles,
heard laughter and heard pain,

And though not many noticed me,
I was there, just the same.

So when next you see a snowflake,
take time to look and smile,

Remember, each one of us a miracle,
each one of us worthwhile.

I could be an autumn breeze
or bird against the sky

But, I am just a snowflake,
… Or am I?

Written by a Former Resident of Lydia’s House