Robert L. Hanson, CDR, USN (Ret.), Wolfeboro NH
America lost another member of its Greatest Generation on Easter Morning.
Robert L. Hanson, or Bobby as he was known to his friends, passed away on Sunday April 12, 2020 at the age of 96.
He was born August 15, 1923 in Cambridge Mass. He was one of 6 children born to Arthur and Marjorie Hanson. He was predeceased by his parents and 4 of his siblings.
Bob initially attended Middlebury and Dartmouth Colleges, but subsequently transferred to the University of New Hampshire. The change of colleges was so he could continue to pursue his love of skiing at the collegiate level and join a Navy officer training program. The Navy was willing to let him stay in college and keep skiing (which Bobby thought was a bit strange for an ocean based branch of the service) while they found a way for him to enter World War II. This struck Bob as a fair exchange which he cheerfully embraced.
As the War progressed Bob ended up in the Pacific theater as Skipper of PT 182, Squadron 11 where he saw plenty of combat. The stories he told were most often about the brave men he knew, loved and fought with. However, at times there was the occasional story that a listener could agree the Navy brass was better off not knowing about. One of his most cherished experiences was being the Aide to Vice Admiral Charles Wellborn. They became lifelong friends.
Bob’s Navy experience stayed with him all his life. He was recalled to active duty in connection with the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Viet Nam Conflict and remained in the Navy Reserves until he retired in 1983.
Bob became a recognized advocate at the local, state and national levels for veteran’s rights. In his later years, Bob derived great pleasure in participating in 2 military Honor Flights as it allowed him the opportunity to be with men and women of all ages with shared experiences and values.
During War II, Bob met Nancy Stenglein of Saginaw, Michigan. They married in 1946 and had 3 daughters: Deborah W. Hanson (Charlie Day), AuGres, MI; Nancy W. Webb, Bay City, MI; and Lori H. Kennelly (David) of AuGres, MI. Nancy died in 2012 but their daughters survive him.
Eventually Bob returned to his New Hampshire roots and married Patricia Carpenter. That marriage instantly expanded Bobby’s family as he became the adoptive father to 3 children: Jon Hanson, Esq. (Lorraine) of Wolfeboro, NH; Elizabeth LaFranchise (Greg) of West Harwich, MA; and Michael (Laurie) of Ossipee,NH. Patricia and his adoptive children survive him.
He is also survived by many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Bob’s dear friend, William ‘Bill’ Hinton (ET1SS), was his technical guru, his sounding board and a great source of emotional support. Their common Navy roots immediately sealed their friendship.
Bobby’s time in Wolfeboro increasingly allowed him to ardently focus his attention on many community, Veteran and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) issues that deeply concerned him. He would be proud to be remembered as passionate, patriotic and deeply concerned with issues that for one reason or another were just not being addressed.
According to Bob’s wishes, cremation has taken place and interment will occur with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
The family wishes to express their deepest gratitude to the tireless attention provided over the last several weeks to Central New Hampshire Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, the office of Dr. Stephen Fleet, the Veterans Administration, and the caregivers from Home Instead.
The family suggests that any memorials be directed to Honor Flight New England, P.O.Box 16287, Hookset, NH 03106.
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