The Rev. James R. Hansen of Hanover, N.H. died August 22 after a brief period of declining health. He was 97.

He and his family were summer residents on Trinity Park in the Camp Ground in Oak Bluffs for 41 years.

Born on April 21, 1924 to Otto and Amelia Hansen, Jim grew up in Chicago. After a year of college, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served as a gunnery instructor for four years.

On his return from the service, he enrolled at DePauw University, where he met his future wife, Louise Flanders. Jim and Louise were married on August 27, 1949 in Anderson, Ind. They honeymooned at Banff National Park and Lake Louise, but their most exciting early trip was bicycling through Europe in 1951 on three-speed Schwinns. Years later, they continued to bike with friends on trips to Vermont, England and Denmark.

After three years at Garrett Seminary in Evanston, Ill. and a master’s degree from Hartford Seminary in Conn., Jim was ordained in the Congregational Church, later called the United Church of Christ. He spent 37 years as a Minister of Christian Education at churches in Lakewood, Ohio, Wilbraham, East Longmeadow, and South Windsor, Conn.

Jim’s commitment to children and youth was the hallmark of his career. He built strong church school programs and youth fellowships at all of his churches. During the 1960s and 1970s in East Longmeadow, youth fellowship and the Friday night Congo dances were the places to be.

For 30 years, he also led numerous youth bicycle trips to Vermont, Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard from both the East Longmeadow and South Windsor churches. Several generations of church school and youth fellowship members share memories of Jim performing their wedding ceremonies.

His life of service continued in retirement through 15 years of volunteering at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Jim and Louise raised their two children in Wilbraham and East Longmeadow and spent summers at their beloved Vineyard cottage. After Jim retired in 1990, he and Louise moved to Windsor, Vt. to continue their love affair with that state. They embarked on travels to Asia, Africa, Scandinavia and Alaska, and on river cruises in Europe. After 18 years in Windsor, they moved to Hanover in 2008.

Jim was predeceased by his wife Louise, after 62 years of marriage, and daughter in law Diane Hansen.

He is survived by his son David Hansen of Montague; daughter Ellen Hansen and her husband Steve Dohrmann of Hillsboro, Ore.; granddaughter Hope Forgey and her husband Kyle of Aurora, Colo.; grandsons Bruce Young and his wife Tessa of Montague, and Jeremy Young and his partner Allison Green of Ashfield; and six great-grandchildren, Cameron, Archer, Arielle, Eden, Jackson and Callum.

Private services will be held at a later date.

A donation to the helping organization of your choice would be a wonderful memorial to a long life, well lived.