Donald W. Hanson

Donald W. Hanson

  • Funeral Date: 4/03/16
  • Funeral Time: Visitation from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM with a Masonic Service beginning at 4:30 PM
  • Date of Birth: 1/04/29
  • Date of Death: 3/14/16
  • Funeral Location: Bierman Funeral Home

St. Jude Heart Valve Inventor Dies

Donald W. Hanson, age 87, of Northfield died Monday, March 14, 2016, at Three Links Care Center, Northfield.

Donald was born January 4, 1929, in Mora, Minnesota the son of Clifford Hanson and Delphine Peterson. He graduated from Mora High School in 1948.  He then attended Bethel University and the University of Minnesota.  He was united in marriage to Beverly Angstman on November 18th 1950.  The couple made their home in Northfield in 1957.  He was a longtime member of the Masonic Lodge, the Lions Club and Northfield Golf Club. 

Donald was one of the original employees of GT Schjeldahl Company as an Engineer, now Multec in Northfield. Later he worked for the Northfield Foundry and Machine Co and Lake Region Manufacturing Co as well as ATS Medical.  He loved solving technical problems and making things work.

In 1976 Donald was hired to invent a heart valve that would last. He did so in his garage at 1201 South Washington Street. His efforts resulted in the formation of St. Jude Medical Inc. To date more than two million of these heart valves have been implanted worldwide.  Few among us have made a contribution of such magnitude to humanity.

He is survived by his wife Beverly Hanson of Northfield; three sons David (and Barbara) Hanson of Stockholm, WI; Richard Hanson of Northfield; Jeff (and Cathy) Hanson of Maplewood; four grandchildren and two great granddaughters. 

He was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter-in-law Debra Hanson (2007); sister Rosemary (1951).

Visitation for Don will be held Sunday, April 3, 2016 from 2 PM to 5 PM at Bierman Funeral Home, Northfield with a Masonic Service beginning at 4:30 PM in the funeral home.

One comment

  1. Kathy Stewart

    What an interesting and bright man your father was! Lucky you to have had him for your dad!

    I am sorry you had to lose him.

    Kathy Stewart