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Nels Peter Hansen, age 59, of Greenville, passed away Friday, April 30, 2021 at Mercy Health – St. Mary’s in Grand Rapids.  The son of Duane & Elaine (Robinson) Hansen, he was born on March 18, 1962 in Greenville and was a 1980 graduate of Greenville High School.  He then attended Ferris State University before beginning a 36 year career with Federal-Mogul Corporation, retiring in June of 2017.

On May 19, 1984, at Faith Baptist Church in Greenville, he married his high school sweetheart, Lori Sue Northam, and together they raised eight children and enjoyed nearly 37 years of marriage.

Nels was blessed with multiple God given talents and skills and will long be remembered for his gifts of music and song.  He had served as music director at Faith Baptist Church in Greenville for many years, and from 2011 until present as worship accompanist at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Greenville, as well playing and singing anywhere and everywhere he was asked.

Immensely proud of his Danish heritage, Nels helped to establish and was the current president of the Danish Cultural Center of Greenville, as well as serving as president of the Amble Memorial Sanctuary (the former Dannebrog Lutheran Church) at South Sidney, where he’d play the pump organ  —  often accompanied by his children  —  at the annual Memorial Day service.  Always a promoter and supporter of Greenville’s annual Danish Festival, Nels is probably the only man able to claim two Danish Festival queens as daughters.

He was a member of the Danish Brotherhood Society, volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Montcalm County, had been a member of the Washington Club, enjoyed farming and raising livestock, and traveling…  especially his trips to Denmark.  Never one to sit idle, in retirement Nels first worked at Tractor Supply Company (TSC) in Greenville, until joining the Christiansen family as a funeral care associate in 2018 to present.

Surviving are his wife, Lori Hansen of Greenville;  their children, Kristen & David Kohn, Anna & Jason Townsend, Peter & Katie Hansen, Eric & Kayla Hansen, Danny Hansen, Julia & Kevin Bradley, Lena & Kenny Wood, and Ditte Hansen;  eight grandchildren, Noah Kohn, Charlotte Kohn, Isla Townsend, Anders Townsend, Luken Townsend, Heather Hansen, Anabelle Hansen, and Nora Bradley;  his parents, Duane “Duke” & Elaine Hansen;  his sisters and brothers, Mary Jane & Steve Swayze, Fred Hansen, Chris & Dottie Hansen, Carrie & Derek Syrjala, and Simeon Hansen;  his mother-in-law, Ginny Northam;  a grandmother-in-law, Juanita Wells;  siblings-in-law, LeRoy Northam, Lisa & Bill Wernet, and Leslie Garrison;  a great aunt, Bette Houle;  several nieces, nephews, and cousins;  and many dear friends.  He was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Jerry Lee Northam on September 3, 2001.

Visitation is from 3-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, under the temporary tent outside of Greenville Community Church, 6596 Vining Road, Greenville.  Honoring Nels’ wishes, committal services will take place privately at South Sidney Cemetery.  A service of celebration of Nels’ earthly life and praising his new Heavenly life will be held at 1:00 p.m.. on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Greenville Community Church,  6596 Vining Road, Greenville.  Those attending any events are respectfully asked to mask and practice social distancing.  For those unable to attend, a live stream of Nels’ celebration will be available on the church’s website:

Instead of flowers, Nels would have appreciated contributions in his memory to either the Danish Cultural Center of Greenville ( or to Have Mercy (

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Nels’ online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:  Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Christiansen’s Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Greenville, (616) 754-5638.



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104 Condolences

  1. Ann Smith on May 6, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Our condolences to the Family. Nels was a GREAT guy. Very talented and everyone Loved him. My children went to school with Nels children and they were very well-mannered children, very kind and polite. Nels and Lori did a great job raising their children. He will be missed by our community! Take care, Tom & Ann Smith and the Turk Lake Restaurant Staff

  2. Tom and BJ Christensen, Mark and Kris Christensen, Phil Christensen on May 6, 2021 at 2:38 pm

    Our prayers and condolences for your whole family. Nels’s graciousness to our mother Elvira was awesome. Nels would visit her at the Masonic Home in Alma and take her to the piano room and play and sing. The doors would open down all the hallways and he had a huge, happy audience. Nels also recorded Ivory Palaces to be played at Elvira’s funeral. Thank you. From the Christensen Family: Tom and BJ, Mark and Kris, Phil

  3. Alice Jensen on May 7, 2021 at 7:34 am

    He will be so missed , so sorry we never got to get together and
    catch up on our family. Prayer go out to Lori and her family.

  4. Earl Anthony Mertz on September 29, 2021 at 4:52 am

    it was a shock to hear of the passing of my wonderful cousin Nels — I first connected with Nels after my Mother Evelyn Anna Hansen Fix died of cancer in 2001 — she talked about family for months before her death, so after she died I deceided to fly back to Michigan and meet everybody — I went to Viola Walkers house –who my mother and Viola used to make mud pies together as children in the yard of my Grandmother Anna Karen Christine Hansens brother Fred Hansen’s house. When I was visiting Viola — Nels came to visit with his childten all having musical Instruments and played music for us — Helene was there also — that was the first time I met Nels — later Nels came out to visit me in Santa Monica, California where I live — and I gave Nels an Original painting that was a wedding present to Christian and Marie of their house in Denmark that they brought over in the boat and 1874 when they came to America — I also gave him my grandmothers wedding dress and wedding ring and my mothers piano and accordion to keep in the family because I didn’t have any children and he could keep them and pass them down — Viola was my mothers first cousin and I also connected with Gladys Higgins Bernice Sweet in Battle Creek were also my mothers first cousins — and became close to them —- I kept in contact with Nels and he invited me to the Danish festival so I flew to Michigan to attend — and I saw Nels daughter Anna Play In Concert with the Centerville band — Nels shared his time and knowledge about our family with me and was an wonderful great human being — see you in heaven Dear Cousin — Love you —

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