Remembering Orson Hansen
The memorial will be held 1-4 p.m. Sunday, at the Nevada City Elks Lodge on Highway 49. Additional parking and a shuttle service will be available at the Rood Center.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the following organizations Orson Hansen supported:
— The Susan Harrigan Bennallack Scholarship, 21837 Junebug Road, Grass Valley, CA 95949
— Nevada County 4H, 255 South Auburn St., Grass Valley, CA 95945
— Bear River/Nevada Union FFA, 11130 Magnolia Road, Grass Valley, CA 95949.
Anyone who ever met Orson Hansen could see his affinity for Hansen Bros. Enterprises, the business his father founded more than 60 years ago.
Through his hard work and dedication, his family’s business has thrived in Nevada County, contributing jobs, construction, and community philanthropy that has affected local residents in positive ways throughout the years. Hansen passed away the morning of Nov. 1 at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, from numerous health complications. Jeff Hansen said he was present for his father’s last words.
“He just said, ‘Continue on without me, that’s what I want done,’” Jeff Hansen recalls. “That’s truly what he wanted, the company, his family, his friends, to just continue on. And he didn’t want anybody to just lay around in sorrow, his wishes were that things just continued on. And I’m not just talking about the business.
“He was very honest, hard working, devoted to both family and business with a good balance,” he added. “Our work ethic, our integrity, our quality of work comes from him.”
Orson Hansen was born Aug. 17, 1940, and raised in Grass Valley, the son of Arlie Hansen and Sibley Bennallack Hansen. Orson Hansen attended Sierra College and Oregon State University, where he received a degree in business and forestry.
While working a summer in Honolulu, he met the love of his life, Helen Hansen, whom he would eventually marry on Nov. 1, 1969. The couple moved to Grass Valley to work for the family business. Jeff Hansen remembers his father putting a large stake in the surrounding community.
“He was very involved in the youth of the community,” Jeff Hansen said. “In everything from 4-H to FFA to the Little League and football programs, everything from Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Eagle Scouts, I mean the list just goes on and on.”
When Orson Hansen’s father, Arlie Hansen, decided to step back from the company in the mid 1980s, Orson Hansen took over the business along with his sister, Sue Peterson, and a myriad of other family members who still work for the company to this day.
As the leader of the company, Orson Hansen, in all respects, was its foundation.
“He was totally devoted to his family and his grandchildren and children,” Jeff Hansen said. “Totally devoted to all of us growing up with our sporting events and whatever club or organization we were in at the time, he always made time to support us in growing up.”
Jeff Hansen said his father also brought those family values to his business.
“Even though we’re a larger employer in the area, we provide a family atmosphere to the business,” Jeff Hansen said. “Dad’s doors are always open. You can walk right in sit down and talk about work, family and whatever that may be. My dad and mom and grandparents have created a great family atmosphere that we want to continue on.”
As a fifth-generation Nevada County resident, Jeff Hansen, 41, will take over as president and general operations manager of Hansen Bros. He said he hopes to continue his father’s legacy, instilling the values of caring, honesty, integrity and hard work.
“Just making sure that no matter whether we’re doing a $50 job for somebody or a $5 million job for somebody, that it has to be done correctly, safely, and done with pride,” he said.
When asked what he will miss most about his father, Jeff Hansen said, “every day.”
“There’s not just one thing to say that I’m going to miss, it’s everything. Not having him see his grandkids grow up, or him not walking into work, and family events, There’s not just one thing I can say I’m going to miss the most, it’s everything.”
To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.
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