Obituary Record

Ethan Laurits Hansen
Died on 7/15/2015

Posted on line: Thursday, July 30, 2015; Published in The Enterprise, Friday, July 31, 2015

(Photo) (Veteran)

Ethan Laurits Hansen, 89

Ethan Laurits Hansen, of Atascadero, California, passed away on July 15, 2015, in his home with his family by his side. Ethan was born in Shennington, Wisconsin, on December 7, 1925, to Rev. Laurits and Mrs. Agatha Hansen. He was the middle of their five children, having two brothers and two sisters.

His early years were spent in Kenmare, North Dakota, about 50 miles from the Canadian border. He shared many stories of his childhood in the Great Depression, his Lutheran minister father often receiving offerings of food from his three congregations. Life was harsh in a modest home with no electricity and a hand pump for water. His grandfather and namesake uncle were also Lutheran ministers.

Ethan completed high school in Dannebrog, Nebraska, and then enrolled in Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. He fought forest fires in Idaho with the Forestry Service as a young adult. While recuperating from a burn injury, he submitted an application to a government-subsidized nursing school at St. Elizabeths Federal Psychiatric Hospital in Washington, D.C., intrigued by the idea of becoming a male nurse and not believing that males would actually be accepted into the program.

He was accepted and started as a student nurse in 1947. It was during this time that he also joined the National Guard. He trained as a student nurse at St. Elizabeths Federal Psychiatric Hospital and the affiliated Gallenger Hospital where he met another student nurse, Patricia Herman, from Newmarket New Hampshire.

In April, 1950, after about a year of dating, Patricia was diagnosed with TB and was to be hospitalized for many months. On the Wednesday prior to the Monday of her scheduled admission to the hospital, Ethan asked the famous rhetorical question, “Shall we get married?” The next Saturday, Patricia and Ethan borrowed a car, put a down payment on wedding rings, and went to Arlington, VA, where they applied for a marriage license. They were joined by their witnesses, two friends Kathryn Scarpine and Lee Davidson. Officiating in his own home was a Lutheran minister who was also a Navy chaplain, echoing Ethan’s Lutheran background and Patricia’s family affiliation with the Navy. By 1:00 p.m. that April 29th, they were married, and thus began a 65 year marriage.

Following nursing school and working in registered nurse positions in Washington, D.C., the couple relocated to Denver, Colorado where they managed a service station. Their first child, Karen Mae Hansen, was born in Denver in 1956 but passed away shortly after her premature birth. The couple then moved to Los Angeles, California, where Ethan first found employment at LA County General Hospital and then Camarillo State Hospital. They added two daughters to the family, Judith Ann (born in Alhambra) and Carol Joyce (born in Oxnard). Ethan said that if Patricia would only work for 6 months (at Camarillo State Hospital), they could put a down payment on a home. They bought their first home in Camarillo. However, the 6 months for Patricia became 32 years (and 33+ for Ethan) in the California State Hospital system. Their subsequent moves were due to promotions they received in that system.

In 1962 Ethan and his family settled in Atascadero. Their son, Laurence Ethan, was born in Atascadero in 1963. The family relocated to the San Joaquin valley for 4 1/2 years while Ethan and Patricia worked at Stockton and Modesto State Hospitals. They returned to Atascadero in 1973, both retiring from the state hospital in December 1991.

In his youth, Ethan played football and basketball. Basketball was a family tradition. His father was a team captain at Dana College and his son, Laurence, played during high school. Ethan also liked to fish and loved horseback riding with his daughters. He once rode in a Paso Robles parade at the same time as the future California governor and U.S. president, Ronald Reagan. He loved playing tennis well into his 70’s, playing doubles with his daughter, Judy, and enjoying a healthy competition with his son, Laurence.

Ethan loved to help people, and was a very active volunteer in the community. He and Patricia were charter members of Hope Lutheran Church in Atascadero. Ethan poured much of his time and talent into numerous other organizations including CASA, ECHO, the Grand Jury (2 years), Salvation Army, Loaves and Fishes, and Boys Town. He was also a contributor to the Danish Immigrant Archives in Blair.

Ethan is survived by his wife of 65 years, Patricia, and his three children: Judith Ann Hansen Lamas, Dr. Carol Hansen Maggi (John), and Laurence Hansen (Sherri). He also leaves 10 grandchildren; Patricia Ana and Fernando Enrique Lamas; Philip, Dr. Elaine, Paul (Christine), and Karen Maggi; Ethan, Dash, John “Jay”, and Griffin Hansen. Ethan is survived by one sister, Sara Anne of Blair, Nebraska.

He also leaves numerous nieces and nephews and friends that he made during his life.

The family had a private interment at Atascadero Cemetery where Ethan was laid to rest. A larger celebration of his life will take place Saturday, August 22, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. at Hope Lutheran Church in Atascadero. We warmly suggest donations to CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Salvation Army, DaVita (kidney dialysis units), Central Coast Hospice, Hope Lutheran Church in Atascadero or the charitable organization of your choice.

~~~ Obituary courtesy of the Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair Public Library at Blair, Nebraska.~~~ Find A Grave Memorial 150392638

Printed in the Washington County Enterprise on 7/31/2015