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Ethel Reed Hansen Sams

December 20, 1925 - December 23, 2014

Burial Date: December 27, 2014

Obituary Viewed 3960 times

Ethel Reed Hansen passed away at her home on December 23, 2014 with family at her side.

She was the daughter of Ernest and May Sams, born December 20, 1925 in Crosby, North Dakota. The family moved in 1931 to a homestead on the Wyoming/Montana border, 60 miles northeast of Gillette, Wyoming.

Ethel received a Normal Training certificate in 1946 while a senior at Campbell County High School in Gillette. She was allowed to teach school for one year before more training was required. Ethel took correspondence classes, extension classes, challenged courses, summer schools, and one full year at
Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, earning a BA in education.

On April 6, 1946 Ethel married Louis C. Reed, Jr. They ranched near Recluse,Wyoming and had two sons, Robert and Ralph. In addition to ranching Ethel taught in rural schools in Recluse, Spotted Horse, Rocky Point and Wildcat for 15 years. Ethel and Junior divorced in 1963 and she and the boys
moved to Sheridan. There she continued teaching for 3 years at the Story School and 21 years at Coffeen Elementary School.

Ethel married Tom Hansen on March 16, 1972, thus acquiring two more sons, Doug and Jeff. She continued teaching until her retirement in 1987. Ethel taught for a total of 39 and a half years and we believe her philosophy was this. “Please remember each child is unique and deserves to be treated as such. Perhaps somewhere along the way, some teacher will connect with every child and give him or her a feeling of self-worth.” This, she believed, would solve a lot of problems in today’s society.

Since retirement, she made significant contributions in the field of education at local, state, and national levels. Ethel served 6 years (1980-1986) on the Heritage Towers board, delivered Meals on Wheels, and worked with the election board of Sheridan County. Her work with Literacy Volunteers of America included teaching reading to Vietnam Veterans at Fort McKenzie, Wyoming, and preparing individuals at the Sheridan County Jail for their GED. She was president of the local retired teachers group from 1989-90. In 1993, she was elected to a four year term as President of Wyoming Retired Teachers Association, and in 1997 received the Wyoming Retired Educator of the year award. Ethel served four
years on the Silver Haired Legislature, writing a bill asking for a cost of living increase for retired teachers and school employees. That bill did pass. She was AARP recruiter Specialist for the State of Wyoming, traveling to many conferences to promote the well being of senior citizens and in 1994 received the Community Service Award from AARP for her work and dedication.

Retirement also allowed Ethel more time for her avocation … buying and selling antiques. She had various booths in Sheridan and Buffalo, and participated in antique shows in Sheridan, Buffalo, Gillette, Casper, Billings, Rapid City and Scotts Bluff. She enjoyed this hobby for over 30 years and became an expert at finding treasures.

Ethel’s spiritual passion was with the First Christian Church becoming a member when she was 18 years old. Her involvement included moderator, elder, deacon, and chairperson for various committees. She worked alongside many church members including her good friend and pastor, Doug Goodwin.

Even though she retired from teaching she continued her mentor-ship role with family, friends and acquaintances. She welcomed company into her home and was always ready to listen and give advice. Ethel felt very fortunate to have the daily support of her good neighbors Christof Deutsch, and Dick, Cindy, and Matt Sterns. We will truly miss our Mother, Aunt, Sister and Friend.


Ethel was preceded in death by her parents and husbands, her son, Robert, sister, Dorothy, and brothers Lloyd, Lee, and Calvin. Survivors include: three sons, Ralph (Karen) Reed of Wylie Texas, Jeff  (Becky) Hansen of Billings, MT, and Doug (Natalie) Hansen of Casper, WY; her daughter, Linda Cook of Sheridan; two sisters, Irene O’Daniels and Betty Ross of Sheridan; and brother Don (Phyllis) Sams of Ephrata, WA; granddaughters, Lynn Guthrie, Terra Dockus, and Natasha Williams; grandson, T J Hansen; two great granddaughters, one great grandson, and many nieces and nephews.


A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, December 27, 2014 at First Christian Church, 102 S. Connor St., Sheridan.  The family is sincerely grateful to Hospice of the Big Horns. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Robert L. Reed Memorial garden at the First Christian Church of Sheridan.