February 12, 1924 ~ April 15, 2019
Verna Hanish, 95, was born Veronica E. VanSlyck in Grafton, North Dakota. She was the daughter of Harry A. and Zeita (Merrigan) VanSlyck. The VanSlycks were descendants of Dutch colonists and settled near Walhalla, North Dakota, by way of Ontario, when Verna’s father was a child. The Merrigans arrived in the upper Midwest from Ireland in the last half of the 1800’s. Verna’s mother met Verna’s father when she moved to North Dakota to teach school. Verna’s parents farmed and raised their children two miles southeast of Walhalla. Verna graduated from Walhalla High School in 1942. Verna’s memories of childhood included summer visits with cousins, with whom she maintained a lifelong kinship, the seasonal activities of their farm, on which her father’s brothers William and Martin also lived, the fortitude of her parents, her younger brother Louis, the rolling topography of the Pembina River Gorge, and the fields of yellow and green.
Verna attended the College of St. Scholastica and studied Home Economics at the then North Dakota Agricultural College. At “the AC”, she met Robert (Bob) Hanish, a returning veteran, and they were married in The Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo on June 14, 1947. Verna and Bob made their home and raised seven children in north Fargo. They were Charter members of Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Verna enjoyed attending her children’s school and sports events and family vacations to the lakes. Verna and Bob were close to their siblings and Verna enjoyed visits with her brother Louis and Bob’s brothers and sisters and their families. Verna and Bob regularly attended Knights of Columbus and American Legion dinners and dances. She especially loved conversation with family and friends. Verna appreciated the fellowship of other families in the community and the church, and warmly remembered the years in which she and Bob were raising a large, young family alongside their contemporaries who were doing the same.
In her fifties with all her children grown, Verna worked as a bookkeeper at the Fargo American Legion and continued there until her retirement. Verna and Bob had a long and happy retirement. They traveled through Canada to Alaska, and to Florida, Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Arkansas and New York. They attended Verna’s high school reunions in Walhalla. There were baptisms, weddings, and family gatherings for their 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries, along with the blessing of many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Verna was preceded in death by her husband, her brother and a sister, Elizabeth, who died in infancy. She is survived by six sons, one daughter, and their spouses: Charles (Kathleen), Katherine (Rod), Sidney (Marilyn), Frank (Carole), Frederick (Lori), Lynn (Kerry) and John (Margaret), and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Verna’s family is grateful for the wonderful care she received at Bethany nursing home and Ethos Hospice. Memorials may be sent to the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Fargo.