1915 – 2015

AUBURN — Rowena B. Hansen of 460 Minot Ave., Auburn, died at the Hospice House on Tuesday, April 14.

She was born at Lisbon Falls on Aug. 13, 1915, to Blanche (Lombard) and Osborne Bailey. The family moved to Wakefield, Mass., when she was three years old. She attended Wakefield schools, and graduated from Wakefield High School in 1933. Rowena worked for the Standard Accident Insurance Co. Later, she was employed by the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. for more than a decade.

In 1945, she was selected to sing with the Phil Spitalny All-Girl Orchestra, but chose to marry Arnold Hansen and start a family. In 1947, they moved to Connecticut, where Arnold had been hired to teach at the University of Connecticut at Hartford. In 1950, they moved on to Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. At WCSU, Rowena served in several capacities, including switchboard operator, student commons food service assistant and mailroom manager.

Rowena was very involved with church music and youth ministry. She sang in the Central Christian Church Choir in Danbury, and with community ensembles, and directed youth group dramatic presentations. She was the director of the New England Baptist Youth Conference’s Camp Hasseltine at Ocean Park for 18 summers.

In 1975, Rowena and Arnold retired from WCSU and moved to Maine. While Arnold completed his ministerial studies and became an ordained American Baptist pastor, Rowena earned her lay preaching certification. Together, they served churches in Canton and Mount Vernon prior to retiring once more.


On her birthday in 1986, they joined the Court Street Baptist Church of Auburn, where Rowena directed plays, sang in the choir, led a women’s group and was a member of the Diaconate. At the time of her death, she was the oldest member of the congregation.

She is survived by son, Robert (Lorna) of Auburn; grandsons, David (Devin) of Cambridge, Mass., Richard (Stephanie) of Poland Spring, and Neil (Christine) of Burbank, Calif.; great-grandchildren, Andrew, Ella, Benjamin and Anna Hansen of Poland Spring; sister-in-law, Virginia Hansen of Oakland, Ore.; foster son, Errol (Terry) Groff of Preston, Conn.; and several nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her husband, Arnold, in 2007; sister, Elaine Wallace; and brother-in-law, Robert (Bob) Hansen.

The family is grateful to the staff, including the volunteers of the Hospice House, for their care and consideration during Rowena’s weeklong stay there.

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