Charles Hansen

May 23, 1926October 14, 2018

Charles Hansen passed away peacefully October 14, 2018 at home in Clayton, Missouri.

He was born May 23, 1926 in Jersey City, New Jersey, to Charles and Katherine Hansen and was raised in Westfield, New Jersey where he graduated Westfield Senior High School when he just turned 16. He was Valedictorian and compiled an academic record unsurpassed for decades. He won the prestigious Westinghouse Prize, and was awarded scholarships to a number of universities. Because of the war, he enrolled instead in the U.S. Navy’s V-12 program for promising math and science students. The Navy sent him first to MIT, and then to the University of Michigan, from which he graduated with honors in 1946, at age 19. He then served on active duty as an Ensign (later Lieutenant, Junior Grade) with the Navy on board the cruiser USS Columbia. Following his honorable discharge, he worked as an Engineer for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh, where he developed flow meters and was awarded a U.S. Patent for his invention. He continued his education, under the GI Bill, at his beloved University of Michigan, this time in the Law School. To help support his studies, he taught Engineering at Michigan to undergraduates, many of whom were veterans years older than him.

Following his graduation from the Law School in 1950 (Law Review, Order of the Coif), he took up a position as an associate attorney at the Mudge, Stern, Williams, and Tucker firm in New York. After several years of private practice, he decided to enter the corporate world, first as labor counsel to Sylvania Electric Products. In that job he traveled the east coast, trying labor cases in front of arbitrators. He never lost a case. In 1961 he was recruited to the Trane Company in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as Assistant General Counsel. At Trane he rose to General Counsel and then to Executive Vice-President, International. As much as he loved the law, his passion was business, and he relished the challenge of turning around companies that were not achieving good results. He made Trane’s international business a great success, with profitable subsidiaries and joint ventures around the world. In 1972 he left Trane, and a year later took on another set of challenges at Cutler-Hammer, International, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Cutler-Hammer, like Trane, had an underperforming international business. Traveling the world tirelessly, building and motivating his team, he quickly turned the business around. In recognition of his achievements he was made one of three members of the Office of Chief Executive at Cutler-Hammer. In 1979 Cutler-Hammer was acquired by Eaton International, and he returned to the law as Vice-President and General Counsel of Emerson Electric Company, in St Louis, Missouri. He transformed Emerson’s Law Department, introduced dramatic changes to the way Emerson evaluated and litigated cases, and became active in bar activities in order to bring about significant changes in corporate law and governance. In this as in everything else he did, he was energetic, focused and highly successful.

After retiring from Emerson in 1989, he joined the firm of Bryan, Cave, McPheeters and McRoberts, in St Louis, as a partner. He practiced with Bryan Cave for almost 30 years, representing clients around the country on corporate issues, and published (with his partner Don G. Lents) the leading treatise on Missouri Corporate law, which he faithfully improved and updated through 11 editions.

In 1953 he married Carolyn Patricia Smith, and they had more than 60 years of great happiness together, until her death in 2014. Their children Mark and Melissa were born in 1956 and 1959 respectively.

Charles Hansen was far more than the sum of his resume. His talents were remarkable and varied. From the German he spoke fluently and polished diligently, to the fine furniture he crafted from the cherry wood of his favorite place, Door County, Wisconsin; to the prodigious reading of books in all fields; to his avid golf and tennis, his sunfish sailing (singlehandedly launching and captaining the boat from the Lake Michigan shore well into his 70s); to his full throated singing at church; to his ability to solve almost any problem; he was a force of nature whose like will not be seen again soon.

Charles is survived by children Mark of Washington, D.C., and Melissa of Espanola, New Mexico, and grandchildren Elisabeth Hansen of San Francisco, California, Caroline Hansen of New York, New York, and Charles Hansen of Lewiston, Maine.

There will be a Memorial Service at The First Congregational Church of St. Louis, 6501 Wydown Blvd., Clayton, MO 63105 on Saturday, November 24 at 1:00 pm; reception to follow at the church. The Memorial Service will be live streamed at: Anyone wishing to send gifts of remembrance should send them to Lydia’s House, P.O. Box 2722. Saint Louis, MO 63116.

Please visit for more information, or to leave a message of condolence or a favorite memory for the family to cherish.


24 November

Memorial Service

1:00 pm

First Congregational Church of Saint Louis

6501 Wydown Boulevard
Clayton, Missouri 63105


Charles Hansen

have a memory or condolence to add?

Darci Madden

October 26, 2018

It was always a great feeling to have Chuck in your corner. I was moderator of our church during a particularly tumultuous time in the life of the organization. Chuck was a great supporter and sounding board during that difficult time. Even when we disagreed about how something should be handled, he always made sure to let me know that he was behind me and appreciated all I was doing, and it meant a great deal. He had such a big heart. We will miss him.

Karen Kirk

October 23, 2018

I will always cherish getting to know Mr. Hansen. "Chuck" as we lovingly called him had given so very much to the women and children of Lydia's House who were victims of domestic violence. From the beginning of Lydia's House he was always there to help. He was accepting of everyone no matter what their stories were. He was truly concerned about helping these women and their children get back on their feet and felt the true pain of their stories. I would occasionally go by and see him at home as he sat so stoic in his library. He was so proud of his accomplishments but mostly shared stories with me of how proud he was of his children. He shared stories of his life and his children's life and I truly saw his heart. He would call the office and we would talk about all of the books he read and just life. He always had the greatest insight into many things and we got tickled together many times laughing in the middle of my serious day. I truly felt he knew I needed him to call. Mr. Hansen always asked how I was doing but he really wanted to know how "I" was doing. He was proud of me and I felt it. I always shared with him what he had done for our women and the organization, but mostly the children and how their lives were changing because of him. I will miss his voice and miss the never expected phone calls that always surprised me in the middle of the day. Chuck sent me his memoirs and inside he had signed and written me a message. I will hold onto that dearly as it revisited many stories he had shared with me. I send my heartfelt prayers to his children and grandchildren and extended family and friends. What a wonderful, amazing soul we have all been given in knowing him. Rest in Peace Mr. Hansen. I will miss you. The women and children of Lydia's House will always hold you in their hearts and know there was someone there to help them in their darkest hours. "Chuck" has made a difference in the lives of so many who were victims and now survivor's of domestic violence.

Marcia Green

October 22, 2018

I've worked with Mr. Hansen for the past 25 years at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. Mr. Hansen was the most intelligent, nicest attorney I've ever had the pleasure of working with. He never failed to impress with his many talents, from writing books and articles to painting beautiful pictures. I loved to listen to his many stories of his life. I'll miss those stories but most of all I'll miss his laugh. Even into his 90's he kept up with CLE courses to maintain his law license. I'll miss those calls asking me to find courses and help get him signed up. Rest in peace Mr. Hansen. Condolences to his son, daughter and grandchildren, he was a special person.