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Article updated: 11/4/2013 10:11 PM

South Elgin board pays tribute to Jim Hansen

Village President Jim Hansen was remembered during a village board meeting in South Elgin on Monday night. Hansen died over the weekend after a battle with cancer. A gavel and nameplate accompanied Hansenís vacant seat.

Village President Jim Hansen was remembered during a village board meeting in South Elgin on Monday night. Hansen died over the weekend after a battle with cancer. A gavel and nameplate accompanied Hansen's vacant seat.

 

Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

Jim Hansen, longtime village president of South Elgin.

Jim Hansen, longtime village president of South Elgin.

 
Village President Jim Hansen was remembered during a village board meeting in South Elgin on Monday night. Here, acting President for Monday nightís meeting Trustee John Sweet looks past Hansenís vacant chair.

Village President Jim Hansen was remembered during a village board meeting in South Elgin on Monday night. Here, acting President for Monday night's meeting Trustee John Sweet looks past Hansen's vacant chair.

 

Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

Village President Jim Hansen was remembered during a village board meeting in South Elgin on Monday night. Hansen passed away over the weekend after a battle with cancer. Here, trustee Steve Ward enters village hall for the meeting.

Village President Jim Hansen was remembered during a village board meeting in South Elgin on Monday night. Hansen passed away over the weekend after a battle with cancer. Here, trustee Steve Ward enters village hall for the meeting.

 

Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

Village Clerk Margo Gray pauses a moment to look at Hansenís vacant chair after she called his name during roll call.

Village Clerk Margo Gray pauses a moment to look at Hansen's vacant chair after she called his name during roll call.

 

Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

Trustee Mike Kolodziej remembers Village President Jim Hansen at the village board meeting in South Elgin on Monday night.

Trustee Mike Kolodziej remembers Village President Jim Hansen at the village board meeting in South Elgin on Monday night.

 

Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

Police Chief Christopher Merritt said police personnel will wear a black band on their badges in Hansenís honor this week.

Police Chief Christopher Merritt said police personnel will wear a black band on their badges in Hansen's honor this week.

 

Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

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Silence spoke volumes as the South Elgin village board met Monday, three days after longtime Village President Jim Hansen died after a nearly five-month battle with lung cancer.

Village Clerk Margo Gray's voice cracked as she called for the president during roll call, and then acting President and Trustee John Sweet asked that a moment of silence be observed after the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Trustee Lisa Guess offered hugs to several people before the meeting, and Hansen's name and character were invoked during discussion of various topics ranging from parking lot improvements to tax levies and abatements.

"We all considered him a friend," Police Chief Christopher Merritt, who's worked 23 years for the village, said Saturday. "He's a pretty important guy for all our lives. He's going to be missed. We're all devastated by the loss."

Merritt and other officers will wear a black band over their badges this week in Hansen's honor.

Hansen, 53, was serving his fourth term as village president. He was elected trustee in 1991 and became president in 2001.

Village Trustee Mark Kolodziej said Hansen met with trustees after receiving his diagnosis in June.

"He was very open about it and said he was going to put up the fight of his life," Kolodziej said Saturday. "We appreciated the fact that he was honest with us. That was the kind of guy he was."

Kolodziej said Hansen never missed a village board meeting, so when he missed the last two the board knew his condition was growing serious.

Election of a candidate to complete the remainder of Hansen's term -- which runs through 2017 -- will occur in the April 2015 consolidated election. It is expected the board will act much sooner than that to nominate a candidate in closed session and seek the board's approval in open session to vote for an interim president.

Of course, replacing Hansen is impossible.

Kolodziej remembered Hansen as a good leader who led by example.

"He led quietly, and he led with respect," he said. "He really put people before politics."

Hansen is survived by his wife, Teri, to whom he was married for 32 years; three children; four grandchildren; his mother, brother and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Laird Funeral Home, 310 S. State St., Elgin. Funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home, followed by a burial at Bluff City Cemetery in Elgin.

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