Ann C. Hanson, age 71, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011 at her home in Bellingham. She was born Dec. 4, 1939 in Bellingham to Earl and Dorothy Cilley, and grew up on the South Hill, attending Campus School, Lowell Elementary, and Fairhaven Middle School. She spent her sophomore year of high school at the Shipley School in Pennsylvania and graduated from Annie Wright in Tacoma before attending Stanford University. At Stanford, Ann pursued her interests in the humanities and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in English and History in 1962. She traveled to Germany for her junior year and later returned there on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship, studying in the graduate school at Eberhardt Karls University in Tübingen. She married Paul Hanson in 1965 and they settled in their native Bellingham, where Ann earned a teaching certificate at Western Washington University and became an active community member, particularly enjoying her long association with the Monday Club. Ann shared her enthusiasm for words and language with generations of students, first at Bellingham High School and then as a founding faculty member at Sehome High School, where she stayed from its opening in 1967 until her retirement in 1992. Over that time she taught German, English, and Social Studies.
Retirement allowed Ann to spend more time at her favorite place in the world, the family cabin in the Shorewood neighborhood near Doe Bay. (Her association with Orcas Island began far earlier, however, with childhood visits to her grandfather Rezeau Brown’s Arcady Farm at Deer Harbor.) On Orcas, Ann developed a wonderful garden and devoted herself to painting, helping to organize the Orcas Island Artworks Cooperative, where she sold her work for nearly thirty years. Ann loved the natural world and she wrote and illustrated a children’s book, Flicker’s Round Trip, as a fundraiser for the Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. She also enjoyed traveling, reading, and boating, and was often known to out-fish her husband, sons, and pretty much everyone else in the neighborhood. Ann considered her family and her loving marriage to be the crowning achievements of her life. She lived with kindness, grace, and humor, giving always of herself to those around her – family, students, and the many wonderful friends whose love and support have been so appreciated. She will be greatly missed, and always remembered.
Ann is survived by her husband Paul, son and daughter-in-law Max and Jessica Hanson of Shoreline and their children Ingrid and Oskar, son and daughter-in-law Thor Hanson and Eliza Habegger of San Juan Island and their son Noah, brother Earl Cilley, nephew Pete Cilley, aunt Barbara Brown, and many loving relatives and friends. Memorials may be made to the San Juan Preservation Trust – Vendovi Island Fund (PO Box 327, Lopez, WA 98261), The Ann and Paul Hanson Fund for the Environment (c/o Whatcom Community Foundation, 119 Grand Ave., Suite A, Bellingham, WA 98225), The Arthritis Foundation (809 E. Chestnut St., Bellingham, WA 98225) or Whatcom Hospice Foundation (2901 Squalicum Parkway, Bellingham, WA 98225).
A celebration of Ann’s life will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11 at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Avenue in Bellingham. You may share memories with the family at www.westfordfuneralhome.com.