With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Dr. David Edward Hansen on October 25, 2023 at his home in Tacoma Washington. He leaves behind a loving family: his wife, Kathleen Hansen; son, Dr. Stephen (Carly) Hansen; daughter, Kaitlin (Jared) Linke; his two cherished grandchildren, Laken and Noah Hansen; and his sister Carla (Gene) LeMay.
Dr. David Edward Hansen was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on May 6, 1950, to Dr. Ralph Herman Hansen and Clarice Elaine (Gorder) Hansen. His life began as his father, Ralph, graduated from the University of Nebraska School of Dentistry on the GI Bill, leading to the family's early travels across Nebraska and South Dakota before eventually settling in Modesto, California, in 1960 when David was ten years old.
During his formative years, the Hansen family frequently ventured to Yosemite National Park for Sunday afternoon picnics and waterfall hikes after church. David's childhood was filled with little league baseball and neighborhood friends, and he later attended Downey High School where his exceptional talents shone brightly. He excelled academically, served as a student-body officer, showcased his musical abilities as first-chair trumpet in the band, led on the basketball court as a starting guard, and displayed his endurance as a cross-country runner. His life was enriched by a close-knit group of friends.
In the realm of athletics, David was a lifeguard and springboard diving enthusiast at the Sportsmen of Stanislaus Athletic Club (SOS) in Modesto. His passion for diving led him to become a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) diving champion while attending Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in Parkland, Washington.
It was at PLU where David met the love of his life, Kathleen (Johnsen) Hansen, whom he married in 1975. He continued his academic journey, graduating from PLU and going on to the University of Washington School of Dentistry, where he received his dental degree in 1978.
Throughout his life, David remained a man of faith, humility, and grace. He had a playful sense of humor and an uncanny ability to turn conversations into moments of genuine laughter. He found joy in various athletic pursuits, including golf, tennis, and skiing, but his true love was dentistry.
David opened the doors of his dental practice in 1986, embarking on a journey that would span over three decades. Throughout his career, he dedicated himself to the art of dentistry, driven by an innate desire to provide exceptional care and warmth to every patient who walked through his practice's doors.
For David, being a dentist was not just a profession; it was his calling. He found joy in working with his hands and the artistry of replicating God’s creation, often bringing tears of happiness to his patients when they looked in the mirror. He was equally devoted to alleviating the suffering of those in pain, considering it his sacred obligation to his patients.
David faced some challenging health issues that ultimately led to his retirement from active dental practice in 2018. However, his connection to dentistry never wavered. He continued to serve as an expert consultant to the practice, sharing his wealth of knowledge and wisdom with the next generation of dentists. Affectionately known as "Professor" by the team, he found joy in teaching and remained deeply engaged in the well-being of patients and the success of the practice. His beautifully captured landscape photographs, which adorned the office walls, turned the workspace into his personal art gallery.
David recently shared that he missed dentistry immensely, but even more so he missed the love he had for his patients and their love for him. He treasured each one of his patients and considered it a privilege to care for them. Those fortunate enough to be under his care found solace in his expert hands and warm heart.
Above all, David was a devoted and loving husband and father. He had a tender heart, was slow to anger and quick to forgive. He was a patient teacher who instilled in his children a sense of curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. He always made it abundantly clear that his love for his family was unwavering and unconditional. David lived his faith with a profound devotion, and he loved the Lord with all his heart. He shared his faith with his family and led by example through a life of grace, kindness, and compassion. His legacy will forever inspire us to carry forward his teachings of love, patience, and faith.
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Dr. David E. Hansen will be held at University Place Presbyterian Church in University Place, WA on November 16, 2023, at 3:30 pm. All who knew and loved him are welcome to join us in honoring his memory.