Victor H Hanson II, 91, died Friday January 7, 2022, in his sleep after a short illness. Hanson was a third generation Publisher of The Birmingham News, whose editorial staff was awarded the paper’s first Pulitzer Prize under his leadership.
Born August 17, 1930, he had a rich youth traveling the country with his parents, Air Force Major Clarence and Elizabeth Hanson, during World War II. The family returned to Birmingham when Clarence Hanson was named Publisher of The News following the death of his uncle, Victor Hanson. After public school, Hanson graduated from the Choate School in Wallingford CT, attended The University of Virginia, and graduated from The University of Alabama where he was a member of The Kappa Alpha Order.
While at Alabama, he met Elizabeth Stallworth of Evergreen, Alabama, the love of his life and wife of 68 years. A Captain in the United States Air Force, Hanson returned to Birmingham in 1959, to work at The News in advertising sales. Hanson worked in every area of the newspaper and at WAPI television station, which The News owned. Named Vice President and General Manager in 1961 and President in 1980, he became Publisher in 1983, following the death of his father. He was proud that no employee was laid off as a result of automation or business downturn during his tenure. In 1991 The News’ editorial staff was awarded The Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing for their series analyzing Alabama’s tax structure inequities and urging reform.
Family, next to his love for Christ, was his top priority. He and Betty had five children and loved nothing more than having them all together.