Gayle Hansen of West Des Moines


Gayle Hansen, 66, of West Des Moines and formerly of Perry passed away Monday, July 8, 2019, at her home in Arbor Springs in West Des Moines, Iowa. In hospice care for six months prior to her death, Gayle died peacefully in her sleep.

Alice Gayle Hansen was born Sept. 21, 1952, in Chicago, Ill., to James Edmund and Alice Kathleen (O’Neill) Hansen.

She moved with the family in 1966 to Perry, where the family owned and operated a Dog N Suds Drive-in restaurant.

Gayle graduated from Perry High School with the class of 1970. She continued her education at Northwest Missouri State University and graduated in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree.

Gayle worked in Human Services and decided to pursue advanced education, graduating from the University of Iowa with a master’s in social work. Gayle spent most of her career advocating for children and families in the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), retiring in 2010 as an associate deputy director of the DHS.

She was a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and was recognized in 1988 as Social Worker of the Year by the NASW. Gayle was proud that she achieved her Licensed Independent Social Worker license and worked tirelessly the children and the disadvantaged.

Gayle was an avid reader and animal lover, devoted to caring for many cats and dogs over the years, Jenny, Morgan, Kimo and Fig.

Long known as a private person, Gayle loved history, enjoyed fine dining and lively conversation. She took pride in her home and garden.

She was a lifelong Chicago Bears fan and season ticket holder.

In death she rejoins her parents, James and Alice Hansen.

Left to cherish Gayle’s memory are her siblings, Robin (James) McCauley of Perry, Dawn (Randy) Bach of Ida Grove, John (Tina) Hansen of Atlantic and Regina (Tony) Schmitt of Dubuque; and 10 nieces and nephews.

A private funeral service was held at St. Patrick’s Church in Perry for family members.


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