John Robert Hansen

John Robert Hansen

Dec. 26, 1924 – July 7, 2020

John Robert Hansen, 95, passed away quietly in his sleep on July 7, 2020, surrounded by family.

John was born on Dec. 26, 1924 in Boston to Emma and John T. Hansen, the second of six children.

John’s father served in WWI and was an avid patriot, a trait passed along to John. When he got a little older, John wanted to join WWII before it ended. He volunteered, but after not hearing back, went to the enlistment office and said he was ready to go. They took him immediately, such that he wasn’t able to say goodbye to his parents. He joined the Navy with his friend Herb. While Herb wanted to fly planes, John was assigned to the submarine USS Pomfret.

The first time John was in Alaska was in the Aleutians on patrol in the Navy, but didn’t return immediately upon discharge. John started in San Francisco, hitchhiked to the East Coast, ending up back in Seattle. He told many stories of the kindness and appreciation shown by people he met on his travels, honoring him and his service to our country.

After a stint in the Merchant Marines, John was looking for something different. While in Seattle, he noticed an advertisement about working in Fairbanks as a miner. After noticing how hot it was and how ferocious the mosquitos were, and having heard the winters were brutally cold, he decided to go to Anchorage. While there, John went to the land office to apply for a homestead. The only requirements were to build a house and occupy it for nine months. He chose a spot on Stariski Creek and landed on the beach in 1948. John always said he was just passing through, even after almost 72 years on the peninsula.

John was a hard-working man and devout Catholic. Between fishing, construction and land development, John stayed busy. He married his bride, Viola, adopted her sons Rodney and Scott, but found he needed to build a larger house with the arrival of their third son, Torvald. Viola was his biggest supporter, and John took on a lot of jobs to support their family — the size of which continued to expand.

John was preceded in death by his wife Viola; his children, Rocky (Rodney) Hansen, Scott Hansen; and his grandson Neil Jensen.

John was always proud of his kids. Surviving him today are Torvald Hansen, Emma Allen, Shelly Jensen, Lisa Pullen, and Heidi Bond. His sister Barb Hansen resides in Maine and his twelve grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and many other members of the family find residence all over the world.

Friends, family and neighbors always received the same answer when asking John how he was doing. “Fantastic!” he would say. Dad was also known to say, “If I felt any better, I’d be dead.”

He must be doing real well at this point.

The family will have a celebration of life for John next year and if you choose, feel free to send donations to a veteran’s charity in John’s name.