Janel Fae Van Tassel, 75, formerly of Benson, died on Saturday, November 26, at her home on Pelican Lake, near Pelican Rapids, Minnesota. Visitation will be held from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm., on Thursday, December 1, 2022, at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church in Benson, and will continue Friday, December 2, 2022, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm, followed by the funeral service at 1:00 pm. Interment will be at a later date in the Benson City Cemetery. Zniewski Funeral Home of Benson is assisting the family with the arrangements.
Janel was born in Fargo, North Dakota on October 2, 1947, to LaRayne (Rieland) and Oran W. Lord. Janel grew up in Breckenridge, MN. She was baptized in 1961 at the First Baptist Church and graduated from Breckenridge High School in 1965. After earning an Associates of Arts degree from NDSSS (North Dakota State School of Science), Janel went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree at Moorhead State University in 1969 in physical education. After moving to Benson Janel met Kenneth Hanson and was united in marriage in 1972. In that union two children were born, Ryan Andrew 1980 and Jennifer LaRayne 1983. Janel was very proud of her children.
Janel took pride in her 40 year teaching career at Benson High School and boasted about teaching three generations of students in the same gymnasium. She loved the innocence of the 7th graders and sense of humor and creativity of the older students. In 1972, Janel became Benson’s first female coach, assisting students in track and field and later in gymnastics. She became the first gymnastics coach in 1976 and never stopped supporting both organizations. She was proud to say, “I never missed a home meet in 45 years.”
Janel enjoyed the outdoors and the peacefulness of country living. She referred to Hassel View Acres as her “piece of heaven.” She was comfortable handling a wide variety of tools and driving her tractor. Janel took pride in her flower and vegetable gardens and enjoyed quilting. Over the years, she finished approximately 50 quilts for many special people in her life.
In October of 2006, Janel met John Van Tassel and the two were married on June 22, 2018. They made their home together on Pelican Lake and enjoyed their trips around the lake in the boat. John and Janel also enjoyed their winters in Meza, Arizona where Janel spent many hours at the silversmith shop and in the swimming pool.
In her spare time, Janel enjoyed Bunco, teacher Tuesdays, and get-togethers with her “potluck” friends from high school. Janel’s most favorite pastime was spending as much time as possible with her three amazing grandchildren.
Janel is survived by her husband, John of Detroit Lakes; her son Ryan (Sara Linow) Hanson of Benson, her daughter Jennifer Hanson (Cody Jorgenson) of Watertown, SD; grandchildren Charlie and Brady Hanson and Zoe Jorgenson; brother Philip (Midge) Lord of Belgrade, MN; sisters Cheryl Melby of Sioux Falls, SD, Jeri (Jeff) Krueger of Breckenridge, MN; brother-in-law Bob (Angie) Van Tassel of Savage, MN; and many nieces, nephews, and special friends.