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Obituary of June Hansen
June Hansen passed away at her home on April 3, 2023, surrounded by her family, friends, and caregivers. Always prepared, she had started her own obituary some years ago. Her rough draft forms the framework for this history of her life. Quotes are her words.
June was born at home in Chicago, Illinois, on July 19, 1925, on the family’s move-in day. She attended school in Chicago and its suburbs. Her father died unexpectedly in 1929, and Western Electric, her father’s employer, offered her mother a job. The Great Depression arrived and June’s mother decided to move them back to be near her family in Denmark.
After a couple of years in Denmark, June and her mother returned to the Chicago area and June’s mother married Edward Licht soon thereafter. June’s younger brother Ralph was born in 1936. She finished school in the Chicago area. Upon graduation from high school she left for Los Angeles, California, with friends and “she spent four years working and playing there until after the end of World War II.”
During June’s time in California, her mother, stepfather, and brother moved from the Chicago area to a farm in Allegan, Michigan, for her stepfather’s health. June moved to Michigan from California in 1947 because she thought too many people had moved into California and it had changed for the worse after WWII. She married Henry Hansen in 1955 and they lived at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska for three years while Henry was serving in the Air Force. In 1958, the family moved to Seattle, Washington, so Henry could study engineering at the University of Washington. June’s daughter, Audrey, was born during the family’s time in Nebraska and sons, Arne and Carl, were born in Washington. The family moved to Olympia, Washington, in 1964 so that Henry could take a job with the State of Washington Highway Department.
As June said, she was a late bloomer. She “learned to drive at 26, had her first child at 30, and graduated from The Evergreen State College at 63.”
June had many friends in the neighborhood and was generous with her time. In the summers, she would load her children and a bunch of neighborhood kids into the family car and take them all to the lake. They would swim while she read a book.
June was interested in civic affairs and involved in community activities such as PTA, League of Women Voters, and AAUW. Her children have fond memories of the mimeograph machine running monthly in the office of their home and being roped into stuffing envelopes for campaigns and some of the community groups their mother belonged to. June met many of her longtime friends while doing her community volunteer work.
She worked for the Washington State Women’s Council during the height of the Equal Rights Amendment debate, followed by employment with the State House of Representatives until her retirement in 1990. For many years, she was secretary for Dennis Heck.
In her early years in Olympia, she belonged to an informal bridge group, and “after Retirement, she found recreation in a Scrabble group, book club and a brunch bunch with a group of staunch friends.” She supported the local arts and belonged to an investment group. She loved books, music, gardening, home decorating, exploring the internet, and doing investment research.
June was preceded in death by her parents and brother. She is survived by her daughter, Audrey Wiggins; sons, Arne and Carl Hansen; and in-laws, Ron Wiggins, Young Hansen and Judith Hansen. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Matthew Wiggins, Mark “Buzz” Wiggins, Margaret Wiggins and Julie Hansen; and three great-granddaughters. She is survived by her Danish family, Eva Gram and Eva’s children and grandchildren, some great neighbors, and in her words, “a number of longtime friends and allies who have been a sustaining force though troubled times and provided fun and companionship in happier times.”
June’s celebration of life service will be held Saturday May 6, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. at South Sound Manor, 455 North St. SE, Tumwater, WA 98501.
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