William Cook Hanson
He was born in Jefferson, Iowa, to Willis and Pearl (Cook) Hanson. He received a B.A. from the University of Iowa in 1933 and a J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1935. He married M. Ruth Hastings at Jefferson in 1938. She was also a University of Iowa graduate and a member of Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society. Hanson was in private practice in Jefferson from 1935 to 1955. During this time, he was also County attorney of Greene County, Iowa, from 1939 to 1947. From 1955 to 1962, Hanson served as a judge on the Iowa District Court for the 16th Judicial District.
In 1962, Hanson became a federal judge in a new judgeship shared by the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa. Although a Republican, Hanson was recommended by U.S. Deputy Attorney General (and later Supreme Court Justice) Byron White and nominated by President John F. Kennedy on June 23, 1962, to a new seat created by 75 Stat. 80. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 13, 1962, and received his commission on July 23, 1962. He served as chief judge of the Southern District from 1971 to 1977. He assumed senior status on August 15, 1977. Hanson's service continued until his death on June 6, 1995.
In his memory, his wife, Ruth Hanson (1915-2011) and children formed the Judge William C. Hanson Pediatric Orthopaedic Research Fund. His youngest son, Robert Hanson, is a state court judge in Iowa, and won nation-wide attention with his controversial 2007 ruling in the case of Varnum v. Brien which was subsequently upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court.