Dick Hansen passed away on Saturday, February 4th, 2012, at his home in Bellingham, Washington, with his wife Cathy, son Ryan, and longtime family friend Lana Worley, at his bedside. He was 64.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents Frederick and Isobel (Ruth) Hansen, sister Carolyn (Jean), and brother Don.
He is survived by his brother Steve (Karolyn) Hansen, sister Kathleen (Paul) Armstrong, cousins Sandra, Joanne, and Phyllis, nephews Bill Hansen (Ali), Bill Armstrong, Brian Haselton (Beca), Jeff Haselton, nieces Kerri Hansen, Jennifer (Larry) Fransson, Theresa (Ted) Mayer, and Susan (Stan) Lovetro. Dick also leaves behind many friends who miss him dearly.
Dick was born on April 10, 1947 in Seattle, Washington. He was the youngest of five children, and (by the stories he told on himself) probably a bit of a rascal. From early on he was a practical joker, much like his father. And his sister Kathleen reports that he was a constant tease. Growing up, Dick lived in Lakeridge, overlooking Lake Washington. According to his own accounts, he had a great childhood. There was much happy time spent with family including, but not limited to; picnics, days at the beach, basketball in the yard with his older brothers and sisters, camping, extended family gatherings, visits with cousins, and summer trips to Kalaloch. Dick also enjoyed attending school, and adventuring in the woods and lake with two very special friends, Steve and Eddie. (Oh, the great and hysterical tales we have heard—Cub Scouts, altar boys, grade-school talent shows, rocket-launching, boat-building, all-day boating expeditions to Fisherman’s Grotto for burgers, stowaways in brother Don’s car, just to name a few). Then too, there was the family dog Mort, with his special grin.
Dick attended Renton High School where he enjoyed his involvement in basketball, art club, intramural sports, and time spent with CRRR buddies. Here, also, were the beginnings of many friendships that would last his lifetime. Again so many more tales he shared—water-skiing, The Northwest Surfer, Bottle Beach, “Dead End Drags”, working at Sterling Oil, and much more.
After graduating in 1965, (no doubt, inspired by his father’s whimsical carved caricatures, concrete bowls, masks, and statues, and his Aunt Luella’s gifted and exquisite jewelry-making skills) Dick pursued further education and his passion for art, attending Burnley School of Art, and Highline Community College. He served in the US Air Force 1967-73. When he returned home he moved to Lake Samish (near Bellingham) where he lived with former high-school friends and continued to cultivate his creative talents taking classes in the Skagit Valley. He began spending more time with oils and acrylics, doing surrealistic paintings. He also began to expand his talents in jewelry-making. It was during this time that those friends introduced him to the girl who was to become his soul mate and life partner. Thinking back to the “lake house” there are so many memories—music, merriment, parties (after all we were in our early 20’s), parents day, going into Fairhaven to play pool (Dick with his own cue, which earned him the nickname “Stick”), moonlit walks down Roy Road, everything covered in snow, Trout and Geezer (the resident dog and cat).
In 1974 Dick began his boat-building career at Uniflite, working on Valiant sailboats, quickly developing carpentry skills. That year also brought a move to a house with forty acres near Everson. There Dick began vegetable gardening and honed his skills as a gentleman farmer, raising and “wrangling” cattle with his long-time friend (and then next-door neighbor) Bob Worley, and experimenting with the’ “one-month-wonder” leghorn chickens, who grew so fast and had deformed feet. Here, dog Kateri, and cat Slinker joined the menagerie. There were the Leo parties each summer and in July of 1977 Dick and Cathy were married on the “farm”—hay bales and Dick’s newly constructed wood bench swing for seating, a salmon/halibut barbeque, volleyball, and Swift Current playing for the dancing pleasure of family and friends.
Next, was the move to Wickersham, where Dick and Cathy bought their first home (a funky old farm house), again living next-door to best friends Lana and Bob. Here the annual Tacky Christmas parties began (Dick always having the best tacky outfit). In 1980 son Ryan was born, and Dick and Cathy entered a new phase of life—parenthood. Dick was as loving, devoted, and proud as a father could be. He was becoming an excellent wood-worker and built a beautiful crib for his new baby boy—complete with an incredible hand-carved Mother Goose and the cow jumping over the moon. Two years later Rita came along to proud parents Lana and Bob next-door. Those early years in Wickersham were filled with wonder, laughter, and joy as the children grew. Home and family became the focus--soccer games, basketball, bicycling, picnics, camping trips, and yearly summer treks to the Oregon Coast. After the loss of Kateri, Daisy dog joined the household, and when Lana, Bob, and Rita moved to Bellingham their barn cat Sadie came to stay. Eventually, the funky old house was transformed with his artist’s vision, varied skills, the help of 2 expert builders, pick-up crew (Ryan and Cathy), and eight months of “camping-out” on the living room couches. Dick had hundreds of hours into the beautiful finish carpentry. Over the years there were many good times and new friends. Daisy, Slinker, and Sadie passed on, and cat Squeak came. When Ryan made the high-school varsity golf team in his freshman year, Dick decided to pick up the clubs too, and the golf bug hooked him big time. From then on he rarely missed an opportunity to enjoy the game, traveling in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, and even to Canada and Mexico with his clubs.
After Cathy retired in 2005 it was time to downsize. Dick and Cathy found themselves back at Lake Samish, and although he had said “never again”, Dick found himself beginning to transform another house into a home with the reflection of his artist’s eye. Here again, this time with the help of his son, he planted a beautiful organic garden with vegetables and berries. In addition to the interests already mentioned, Dick enjoyed entertaining family, friends, and neighbors—always the congenial host. He also enjoyed watching Husky games, Gonzaga basketball, and golf, conferring with brother Steve (his fellow armchair sports critic) after nearly every event. Dick retired from his position as a production manager at Nordic Tug in 2009 as he began his 2 year 8 and one-half month cancer journey. He lived that journey with strength, courage, hope, and humor.
Throughout his life Dick valued his family and enjoyed time with them golfing, vacationing, and celebrating the holidays, taking great pleasure in family visits. He will always be lovingly remembered at these occasions.
In addition to being a loving and devoted husband, father, brother, and uncle, he was a cherished friend, practical joker, tremendous tease, avid golfer, imaginative artist, talented craftsman, ever consummate host and lover of nature, music, and art. We will hold him in our hearts with his art and wonderful memories of his wit, unique sense of humor, passion for life, sensitivity, generosity, and enormous loving heart.
In tribute to his love for the game, a golf tournament and celebration of his life are planned for August 27th. If you wish to be included you may leave a note at this website or contact the family. An e-mail will be sent to family and friends later in the spring with more details. Ryan and I also encourage you to share your favorite stories and memories in the guestbook.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Whatcom Hospice.
A huge thank you to Dr. William Hall, Dr. William Rubin, the wonderful nurses, techs, and staff at PeaceHealth Cancer Center—Radiation Therapy, PeaceHeath Infusion, and Whatcom Hospice for your superb care and generous support. Thank you also to Dick's caring and compassionate family physician Dr. Daniel Austin, and the other doctors, nurses, and staff at North Sound Family Medicine for your wonderful care over the years, and throughout his cancer journey. We wish to extend an enormous and very heart-felt thank you to our dear friend Lana for seeing us though the last five weeks. We send many hugs and much love to all of the family and many friends who have surrounded us with their loving support.