Oliver M. & Edna Elizabeth Hansen Endowed Scholarship Fund
In September 1997, Daniel and Peggy Campbell established the Oliver M. & Edna Elizabeth Hansen Endowed Scholarship Fund as a tribute to the memory of Peggy’s grandparents. To reflect the lives and legacy of both Oliver and Edna, the scholarship award will be alternated between a UVU student in the Culinary Arts program and a student in the Fine Arts program.
On a bright autumn Sunday morning in 1920, Oliver Hansen arrived in Provo, Utah, to be with his family, which had moved there earlier that summer from Idaho. His father, a painter, had plenty of work and was in need of some help. One Sunday morning Oliver decided to accompany the family to church. After the meeting, Oliver’s caught site of the most beautiful young woman with sparkling brown eyes, long black hair and a fair complexion. Without a doubt, he knew she was to be his future wife. Only days before, friends had asked why he was moving to Provo. “Well,” he replied, “because that’s where my future wife is.”
Edna Miller Whitman had noticed the stranger sitting in the back row in Sunday School. Later that afternoon Oliver extended an invitation to Edna, through his sister Lucille, to go track walking (strolling along the railroad tracks) with them. According to Oliver, that was all it took, and by Christmas, the two were engaged. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on May 18, 1921.
Oliver supported his new family using the painting trade he had learned from his father. On Thanksgiving Day in 1928, the family moved to a house on five acres of land, which included an orchard with fruit trees, an alfalfa field, a barn and a chicken coop. A cow, horse, pigs, and chickens were soon added.
As the Great Depression came and many people lost their homes and jobs, Oliver and Edna had to work very hard to survive and keep their home and land. But the farm proved to be a blessing, as it provided food for the growing family. Oliver worked long hours both at his job and at keeping the farm running, while Edna was the heart of the home. The home was a gathering place for their relatives and friends. The only disadvantage of the farm was its location, far away from church, school, town and relatives in west Provo.
In 1944, the family moved into Provo, and twenty years later, after selling that property to BYU for the new football stadium, they moved to a new home four blocks east.
Oliver always had a great passion for art, but with the pressure of earning a living for a growing family, art brushes were traded in for house-painting brushes. After retiring as paint foreman at BYU, Oliver built an art studio and began painting in earnest. He was appointed a member of the Provo Art Board. In 1976, 43 paintings he had spent ten years working on were displayed at a one-man art show at Ricks College, where he was presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award. The art show was then moved to Utah Technical College where he received a citation for his work.
Edna was an expert homemaker and seamstress, having made dozens of beautiful pieced-work quilts. She loved to cook and was always happy to share the products of her kitchen with others. In 1951, after her family was nearly raised, she went to work for BYU Food Services as a cook. She worked for fourteen years, retiring at age seventy-one.
Oliver and Edna spent a lifetime together in love and devotion to each other and their seven children. Just a few months after celebrating their 67th wedding anniversary, Edna died peacefully in her sleep. Thirty-one days later, Oliver died of a heart attack.