Hope McCulloch Hansel
West Winfield, New York
Hope McCulloch Hansel, 75 years old, passed October 21, 2021, at home, just one year after
her husband of 49 years, Sheldon Hansel passed. Born February 3, 1946, in Oxford, NE, the
third of five children to Bruce and Lucile McCulloch, Hope moved to Whitney Point, NY, in 1950,
and was raised on a horse-powered dairy farm.
Hope loved life and people. She was a born entertainer and planner, from her school days as
Student Council President and Dairy Princess clear through to her grand retirement trips around
the country with the “Biker Babes” and family. Hope was Whitney Point High School’s first
exchange student, spending several months in Ecuador. She attended St. Lawrence University
and received a degree in English in 1967 followed by a master’s from Cortland in 1972.
In 1971, Hope married dairy farmer Sheldon and threw herself into being a farm wife and
mother. With boundless energy, she ran their three children to swimming, ski races, music
lessons, Boy Scouts, sports, Sunday school, and play dates by day while eagerly anticipating
Saturday night dance dates with Sheldon and friends. The family enjoyed winter weekends
skiing while Sheldon ski patrolled and summer days visiting with friends on the lake. An old
farmhouse in Vermont provided a base for fall foliage hikes and skiing the “blue ice”. Hope
renovated several houses on the farm into apartments. She credited Grandpa Gupton and
mother Lucile for her investment initiatives outside of farming.
Once Hope had her children off to school, she put her master’s in education to use substituting
and then teaching French and Spanish at Mt. Markham until retirement in 2008. She took her
foreign language students on trips to NYC and Quebec and stayed physically active with
jogging, aerobics, kayaking, skiing, tennis, biking, and planting flowers and trees. Hope was
happiest when joined by friends and family on any outing!
Hope kept the Postal Service in business by mailing special boxes to her grandchildren for each
holiday and taking the grandchildren on trips across the country. Hope took great pride
babysitting her grandchildren and taking them kayaking, biking, swimming, and on outings with
Sheldon. She also created a chart of every birthday and anniversary in the Hansel and
McCulloch families and sent hundreds of cards annually for each occasion.
Her attention to detail included extensive yard flowers and a bedroom full of coordinated
wardrobes and jewelry. She memorized every phone number she ever dialed from Napa Auto
to some third-cousin-once-removed-in-California. She embodied the motto, “The show must go
on” and loved to host large family gatherings where all were welcome. Hope hosted dozens of
exchange students, foreign relatives, and anyone who needed a room. Hope’s animated
storytelling often had the crowd laughing and toasting.
Hope was predeceased by her parents, mother-in-law Eunice, niece Lisa McCulloch, brother
Hugh, grandson Cutlar Lohof, and husband Sheldon. Hope joked that, “We have our standards.
They may be low, but we have our standards.” Daughter Christy and Patrick Lohof with sons
Hans and Reavis, son Grant and Rachel Ksenyak with daughters Lena and Maren, daughter
Shelley Hansel with son Mitchell and daughter Keegan, and bonus daughter Heidi Plumb shall
endeavor to carry on Hope’s standards. Hope is survived by sister-in-law Marie McCulloch,
siblings Mark McCulloch (Cheryl Barnhart), Bert and Carole McCulloch, and Edna and Fred
Oakley. Hope was also very fond of all her numerous nieces and nephews, who often spent time on the farm.
The family wishes to thank the ENTIRE family and community for all their support through the
years of Hope’s cancer. Special thanks to Dawn Hutchings, care team head nurse. We are
forever grateful that we had such a wonderful individual join our family in these challenging
years. Aides Janet and Diane provided exceptional care, comfort, and entertainment. “Biker
Babes” offered cheer and merriment regularly. Neighbors Bob and Sue Martin have been there
to fill any need at all hours of the day and night, including casket construction.
Hope and her family's care has been placed in the trust of Mohawk Valley Funerals and Cremations, 7507 State Route 5, Little Falls, 315-508-5131. Calling hours are at the Hansel Farm, 1605 US Hwy 20, West Winfield, NY, Sunday, October 24, 1-3pm and 5-7pm. Funeral services will be at the Federated Church in West Winfield, Monday, October 25, 10 am followed by burial at the East Winfield Cemetery and a Celebration of Life at Scenic View. Please consider wearing Hope’s favorite color, RED, because the show must go on.