Elizabeth Thomson

Elizabeth Jean Thomson, age 64, died peacefully in her Jefferson home in the early morning hours of July 14, 2015. Funeral services were held at the First United Methodist Church in Jefferson Monday, July 20 with a private interment.
Elizabeth was born October 4, 1950 near Waukon to Lester “Bill” and Ann Laurayne (Guider) Thomson. June 12, 1983, Elizabeth married James William Hanson. They lived in Coralville for many years, where their beloved daughter, Jennifer, was born, and they helped raise James’ children, Catherine, John, and David.
Elizabeth had an extraordinary and rewarding career that took her from being a nurse specializing in labor and delivery; to becoming a genetic counselor, eventually founding an international group for nurses in genetics; to two decades as a program director for the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research Division.
Elizabeth completed her nursing training at St. Luke’s Hospital and her undergraduate degree in nursing from Coe College in Cedar Rapids. She earned a Master’s in Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health from the University of Iowa and a Doctorate of Nursing Science from Johns Hopkins University. She was highly regarded as a pioneer in her field, with many publications that included seminal works in nursing genetics and public health. During her tenure she received numerous awards and distinctions for her outstanding work and service.  Elizabeth was a mentor to many aspiring professionals, and was acknowledged for her inspiration and support to colleagues.
Family and friends remember Elizabeth for her generosity, humor and style.  Always ready to laugh, bake bread, put a puzzle together, play a game of cards, talk about roses, or listen to any story, she made each person feel special, loved, understood and well-fed.  Elizabeth’s love for people and all things good were the basis of countless family gatherings and regular parties, as she welcomed people from all walks of life and all parts of the world into her home.
Elizabeth is survived by her husband, James W. Hanson; their daughter, Jennifer (Cody) Schebel and their daughter, Katelyn Elizabeth; her stepdaughter, Catherine (Lee) Balthazar and their sons, Ryan, Ian and William; her stepson, John Hanson and his children, Emma and James, and their mother, Shay Dinata Hanson; her stepson, David Hanson and his wife, Jennifer Kavka, and their children, Benjamin and Sasha.
Other survivors include her siblings: Thomas (Lynn) Thomson, Carolyn Thomson (Gene Mauer), Kathy (Loren) Taylor and Kris Tyree; and many nieces and nephews, including Jill, Jason and Mark Taylor, and Todd Meyer and his daughters, Chelsey and Courtney.
Elizabeth was preceded in death by her mother and father; her dear niece, Lori Meyer; and her brother-in-law, Thomas Tyree.
Elizabeth’s family wishes to recognize the extraordinary kindness, love and generosity of their friends, especially long-time family friend, Betty Johnson, John and Alice Hamilton, Denise O-Brien Van, and the JCHS Class of 1961; the many friends and relatives from Jefferson, Greene County and the state of Iowa; and the caregivers who welcomed her to Jefferson and made it possible for her to live and die at home. Susan and Duane Forkner, Billie Jo and Jon Hovick, Danene Peña, Denise Moranville, and the staff of St. Jude Hospice, you have made an indelible mark on our hearts.


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