Hononegah Class of 91 alumni came out in support of classmate Brian Hansmeier of the Hanz Brew Fest and Todd Hansmeier’s brother.

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 during his lifetime.
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,” Todd’s brother Brian said.
“Todd spent many years growing his career as an insurance representative. He worked at a couple of 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, “Brian said.
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 to 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,” Brian shares.
Brian adds, “I wanted to do something that would help my brother’s legacy live on; something that would benefit the community and his Alma Mater.” One weekend after Todd’s passing, Brian was up in Minocqua, Wis. 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 was known to some of his friends as “Hanz,” hence the events name. “It was even a part of Todd’s email address,” Brian says.
Todd’s family and friends will come together once again to honor his good works, kindness, and his role as a strong supporter of education. On Saturday, Sept. 28 friends, family and the community came together once again to raise a toast to Todd at Settler’s Park. Over 100 beers were featured from noon until 6 p.m. Guests listened to live music provided by “Dirty Heathens and No Dice.” Play Jumbo Jenga, Jumbo Beer Pong, or Bags. Enjoy food from local vendors.
The festival was planned, and sponsored, by local business men, Brian Hansmeier (Executive Lawn Service), Ryan Asta (Rookie’s Pub & Grill), and Ryan Rydell (RyCOM Creative Corp).
After a successful first Hanz Brew Fest in 2015, enough money was raised to present the first ever Todd

Hanzmeier Scholarship to Allison Limke, a graduating senior at Hononegah High School. Alex Maldonado was the 2017 recipient. The 2018 Scholarship winner was Haley Fritts in addition to two more scholarships, which were awarded to Mark Limke and Kameron Ali. In 2019 Kyle Wallace was awarded with a Scholarship in the amount of $2,500, matching equal amounts of each recipient.

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