Joseph Gehard Hanson, age 95, passed away peacefully Friday, July 7, 2023, at the age of 95 in Lynnwood Washington. Joe was born on August 30, 1927 to Joseph Hanson Sr. and Sarah Einarsson Hanson in Bellingham Washington. He graduated from Bellingham High School in 1945 and entered the Merchant Marines near the end of WWII. Joe’s time in the service was brief due to the end of the war, but he was still proud of serving his country. He served on the hospital ship Stafford that brought wounded soldiers home from the Philippines.
Joe worked from a young age, starting at age 8 as a paperboy for the Bellingham Herald. He worked many jobs, but his main profession was being a commercial fisherman, which was the family business. Joe had many happy years as the captain of the Ursa Major, fishing in Washington and Alaskan waters with his brothers, children, and other family members.
Joe is survived by his wife of 56 years, Dolores. When Joe and Dolores married, they created a blended family with Joe’s three children: Jodie, Steve, and Rob (deceased), and Dolores’s three children Terry (deceased), Michael and Cheryl. They then added Jennifer who made the family complete. Joe built the family home on Huron street and it was their home for over 50 years. He spent many happy hours entertaining family and watching the sunset over Bellingham Bay from the deck of that home. Joe is survived by his wife, 4 children, 11 grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren, his sister Gloria and numerous other relatives. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Arthur, Harvey, Vernon and Warren.
After Joe retired from fishing, he found joy in getting involved and giving back to his community Joe was a member of the San Juan Chapter of the Merchant Marines in Whatcom County and they enjoyed being in the Ski to Sea parade for many years with their replica of the supply ship the John Henry. Joe also served in the Honor Guard for the American Legion to provide Military Honors for veterans at their funerals and they participated in many activities honoring veterans on Memorial Day and Veteran’s day. In addition, Joe drove a van for the VA to help transport veterans from Whatcom and Skagit County down to Seattle for their appointments once a week. He and Dolores also enjoyed their water aerobics groups and time out with their friend groups attending dances and celebrations at the Elks, VFW, American Legion and Yacht Club of Bellingham and the Toastmasters.
A memorial service will be held Tuesday, July 25, 2023, 11:30 AM at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 858 West Smith Road., Bellingham, WA 98226 with Rev. Rex E. Watt officiating. Private family graveside service was held at Bayview Cemetery in Bellingham. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to a charity of your choice in Joe’s memory.