By Marianne Mueller


Todd Hansmeier was a son, brother, Uncle and friend to all who knew him. Hansmeier tragically lost his life on June 30, 2014.

Todd was known to have had a contagious smile which is one of the characteristics shared by friends at a July 3, 2014 vigil. This remembrance honored someone who made an enormous impact on many.

Hansmeier graduated from Hononegah High School in 1995. In high school Todd was involved in sports and music from an early age. He played club soccer through the Hononegah Lions and participated in track and soccer. He was involved in many musicals throughout High School and College.

He continued his education at Rock Valley College, where he performed in jazz and show choirs. Hansmeier advanced to Eastern Illinois University where he was a Dean’s List student and received a degree in finance in 2000.

He was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma honors society. “He graduated college with a Finance degree.  “He was always good with numbers and loved to help people, so Finance seemed to be a natural fit for him,” said Brian.

“Todd spent many years growing his career as an insurance representative. He worked at a couple different finance and insurance agencies before his last job, which was his favorite and most rewarding.

He worked at Apple Insurance Agency and was expanding his client-base, in preparation to eventually be in charge of that agency – which was his ultimate goal, said Todd’s brother, Brian.

Hansmeier returned to the Rockford area and joined the IGNITE group (for young professionals). He met many great friends through IGNITE and volunteered for lots of activities with them as well.

He always played in the charity kickball tournament, played on a team for Mud Volleyball, and played in the charity Dodgeball tournament – all in the local area to support local charities.

Todd loved playing many different sports; volleyball, soccer, bags, ping pong, kickball, snowmobiling  with his brother, golfing, and playing tag with his niece and nephew. He also enjoyed watching sports, especially the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cubs. He also took on challenges while playing poker, video games, fantasy football, and trivia with friends as well as cruising on his motorcycle.

“He loved playing beer pong with his friends – even competing in tournaments. He was always on at least a couple sand volleyball teams during the summer months. He never missed out on the opportunity to live life the fullest and enjoy the people he loved the most,” shared Brian.

“Todd made friends with everyone he met; his outgoing personality drew people to him. He had a big heart and went to any and all lengths to help friends in need, even when it created hardship for himself. He was kind, always happy, honest, and will be remembered for his “Todd-isms” and infectious smile,” reflects Brian.

“I wanted to do something that would help my brother’s legacy live on; something that would benefit the community and his Alma Mater,”said Brian.

One weekend after Todd’s passing, Brian was up in Minocqua, WI visiting friends and there was a beer festival going on, which Todd always went to.

All of his local friends were up there celebrating in Todd’s honor. They invited Brian to the festival in place of Todd that year. Brian then decided that would be the perfect way to honor Todd’s memory.

“Todd liked beer, liked to have fun with his friends, and never missed out on an opportunity to support the local festivals or events. That is where the idea of putting together the Hanz Brew Fest came about.”

Brian knew that this event would be something that his brother would attend and be honored to have his name-sake attached to a great event that helps to raise money for a scholarship. Todd affectionately knew to some of his friends as “Hanz” – hence the name. It was even a part of Todd’s email address.

Last year marked the first annual Hanz Brew Fest. On Saturday, July 16 friends, family and the community will come together once again to raise a toast to Todd at Settlers Park.

Over 100 beers will be featured from noon until 6 p.m. The cost to take part in Hanz Brew Fest is $30 per person and all must be 21 years or older to have beer.

Five extra samples may also be purchased at a cost of $5. Listen to live music from Gary the Band, and The Stevee Nix. Jumbo Jenga, Jumbo Beer Pong, and Bags add even more opportunities to have a great time. Rookie’s Bar & Grill, Veebo’s Pizza, and Fybabies will offer a nice selection of foods.

The festival is planned, and sponsored, by three local business men, Brian Hansmeier (Executive Lawn Service), Ryan Asta (Rookie’s Pub & Grill), and Ryan Rydell (RyCOM Creative Corp).

After a successful Hanz Brew Fest in 2015, they raised enough money to present a $2500 Scholarship to Allison Limke, a graduating senior at Hononegah High School. The group hopes to continue this scholarship by using the Hanz Brew Fest as the sole funding source every year.

Tickets may be purchased at or at the door.

All are invited for a day of fun in the name of someone who placed a high value on education.

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