Hatter Hensley, 79, of Burlington, died Wednesday. September 27, 2017.
Born February 25, 1938, in Port Arthur, TX, he was the son of Mary and Noble Hensley. In1989, he married Julie Ann Pinkerton. They were married 27 1/2 years.
He graduated from Morris High School in Morris, MN, he was a veteran of the U.S. Army, he then attended Don Martin's School of Broadcasting in Hollywood, CA. He worked as a radio personality, station owner, program director, sales manager, salesman, and concert promoter. Hatter was credited with starting the Buddy Holly Tributes in Clear Lake, IA, which continues as “The Winter Dance Party”. He was inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for pioneering the transition to FM radio. Hatter built and owned three radio stations; in Mankato, MN, Clear Lake, IA (KZEV), and in Burlington (KDWD).
Hatter and Julie enjoyed traveling to Europe, Florida, Hawaii, Washington, D.C., as well as, family visits to Minnesota and Texas. They also enjoyed camping, downhill skiing, and hiking trips to many of the National Parks. They enjoyed riding bikes; with Hatter going on 15 RAGBRAI’s and many other rides with Bike Burlington. A favorite ride was from Key Largo to Key West with good friends. Hatter was a runner for many years and competed in several half-marathons and the BIX race in the Quad Cities.
He spent many years acting in productions at Player’s Workshop - “The Little Theater on Grove Street”, receiving five noteworthy acting awards.
Hatter served as Grand Marshall for the Burlington Steamboat Days Parade. He loved playing cards with the neighbors. Hatter took great joy in gardening, and cooking for his family and friends.
He is survived by his wife; two children, Tonya Suchy of Savage, MN, and Brooks (Tammy) Hensley of Davenport, FL; two step-children, Eli (Dawn) Seeley of Oberanbach, Germany, and Katie (James) Fallen of Brinklow, MD; eight grandchildren, Daniel Lee, Rae Ann Williams, Amber Rodriguez, Juliann, Trip, and Colton Seeley, and Mia and Mac Fallen; one sister-in-law, Jan Hensley; plus several cousins, nieces, and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, one brother, Jerry Hensley, and one step-son, Mac Seeley.
There will be an opportunity to meet the family and to celebrate Hatter's life at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, on Friday, October 6, 2017 from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM at the Burlington Memorial Auditorium's downstairs banquet room. Please enter on the west side under the canopy.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for The Mad Hatter Memorial Trail near the river front.
Prugh~Thielen Funeral Home is in care of the arrangements.
A photo tribute can be viewed and condolences can be sent to the family by visiting Hatter's obituary at www.prughthielencares.com.