FAIRMONT - The woman behind one of Fairmont's favorite summertime places passed away Thursday.
Marcia Hanson, 61, was diagnosed with a rare but aggressive cancer last month. As word spread across town about her death, many remember the woman who loved her teen workers at the Dairy Freeze like they were her own.
"My daughter began working there four years ago," said Mayor Randy Quiring. "She loved her job. Marcia was awesome with the kids. You could tell she was concerned for them and it was sincere - she took care of them."
Destiny Rainville was one of those employees in the summer of 2009.
"She was my first employer, and she was always super-nice," she said. "Even years after I wasn't there, she was always very friendly to me. She was very friendly and sweet, and a hard worker. She was always at the Dairy Freeze when it was open."
Now working at Fareway in Fairmont, Rainville realizes how much she gained from working with Hanson.
"She taught me about responsibility, since that was my first job," she said. "She took me under her wing. I feel now that I'm a good worker and reliable. She was an awesome first boss. ... We always had a good time while we worked there. We had free ice creams and whatever the special of the day was. She always took good care of us."
"I never met anyone who didn't like her," said Robin Scheff, manager at Curves in Fairmont, where Hanson worked during the winter when she wasn't operating the Dairy Freeze. "You couldn't ask for a better worker. Even with all of her problems, she would ask how you were doing; she never complained."
Hanson's health took a turn for the worse in February when she was originally diagnosed with pneumonia.
"She took a week off, and then she went back to find out why the medication wasn't working," Scheff said. "That was when they discovered a mass on her lungs. Even as they were rushing her off to Rochester, she had someone call here to let us know she was going to be missing work. That's how dedicated she was."
Hanson was eventually diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, but the damage was already done.
"They found it in her lymph nodes and spine," Scheff said. "By the time it's in the lymph nodes, it's usually at stage three."
With spring around the corner, it is not yet known what will happen with the Dairy Freeze this season, although family members have worked there with Hanson in the past.
"She is going to be missed," Scheff said. "She loved the kids. Those end-of-the-school-year trips, when the classes would come down there for their picnic. She was so generous."
"She was one of those people who took care of my kids and others' kids," Quiring said. "She was a good all-around person."