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'He just loved making music with his friends': Friends remember Christopher Hanson

Christopher Hanson passed away in the early morning hours on November 20.

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Christopher Hanson with friends. He passed away November 20.
Contributed by Ed Schwind
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The FM Kicks performance at the Tak Music Venue in Dilworth Saturday, November 19 began on a somber note.

"If the band feels a little bit off tonight, we are," FM Kicks Band Executive Director Tim Johnson told the crowd. "We lost one of our musicians on Wednesday night."

Johnson is talking about Christopher Hanson, who suffered a massive stroke on Wednesday night. He passed away early Sunday morning. He was 45 years old.

Chris was a highly respected and prolific musician, and a man of faith. He directed the music at Faith United Methodist church in Fargo and served in the national guard for 22 years, before retiring in 2017.

It's a devastating loss for his friends and family, and for the entire musician community in Fargo-Moorhead.

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"Chris was really a servant in every aspect of his life," said Ed Schwind, one of Hanson's many friends. "His military service, his service to his church, his service to his bandmates."

Schwind was the best man at his wedding, and they collaborated musically in a number of bands. Hanson even helped reintroduce Ed to his wife.

"When I lived with Chris in college, and when he was going to drill, I said, 'Hey, tell that cute girl up there that that I said hi," Schwind remembered, smiling. "And she ultimately became my wife."

Schwind describes Hanson as a remarkably talented musician and an even better friend.

Everybody just loves Chris," he said. "I don't think you could find somebody that says 'No, I didn't really like him.'"

James Landman met Hanson in college, and they've been friends ever since. He says he was a natural leader among musicians.

"There wasn't often a time where I performed with him where he wasn't the person that knew the music the best," Landman said. "And he was usually the glue."

Landman said those qualities weren't just found in his musicianship. They were fundamental to the kind of man he was.

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"His giant heart that he that he had in every conversation also carried over into his music," he said.

It's been a challenging few days for Hanson's friends and family members.

A small consolation, is a final, generous act from Hanson. A chance of life for others.

"Everybody's been saying how this last act, of his being an organ donor, is totally consistent with who he is as a person and who he was in his life," Schwind said. "He's the same in his death, in giving."

At the FM Kicks concert, Ed took the stage to say a few words before the second half of their performance, and bid farewell to his friend. In just a few hours, he was scheduled for his organ donation surgery.

"Later tonight, I'll be walking down the operating room with his wife, to say goodbye to my friend," said Schwind, fighting back tears.

An unimaginable loss. But what better way to pay tribute to a man who lived a life full of friendship, fun, and music.

Schwind is raising money via venmo to help Hanson's wife Sarah with funeral and healthcare expenses. They've raised over $20,000 so far.

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If you want to make a donation, you can find the account on venmo, on @Edward-Schwind.

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