Robert Noel Hansen
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Robert Noel Hansen
  • December 25, 1929 - December 16, 2017
  • Fresno, California

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Robert Noel Hansen, age 87, passed away peacefully with family at his side, on Saturday, December 16, 2017, at Cottonwood Court Assisted Living in Fresno, CA.
Robert was born in Fresno, to Chester and Mabel (Baxter) Hansen on Christmas Day of 1929. Chester and Mabel with sons, Chet and younger brother Robert, ultimately made their home on E. Home Ave.
A 1947 graduate of Roosevelt High School, Robert "Bob" met Janice Keene in 1948, at Fresno State College where she asked him to a "Backward Dance". They shared simple pleasures of music and reading together, and made each other laugh with deft wit and wordplay. They made a handsome couple.
Aviation captivated Robert. In 1949, he enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve to become a Navy pilot. On June 19, 1951, at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola FL, he completed his two years of Naval Cadet training. Janice presented Ensign Robert N. Hansen with his wings. On June 22, Robert and Janice were married.
Bob's naval service brought him into the Korean Conflict as a carrier pilot, flying the F4U-4 Corsair from the decks of the USS Princeton. Further service included thousands of hours flying jets as a flight instructor in the Lockheed Shooting Star, and flying supersonic in the Grumman Cougar.
During his 20 year navy career from Ensign to Lieutenant Commander, Bob and Janice Hansen raised their growing family of five sons and a daughter as the Navy assigned him duty in stations from California and Texas to Hawaii and Washington D.C.
After Bob retired from the Navy in 1969, the family returned to Fresno. In 1973, Bob and his brother, Chet, opened Bob's Village Hobby in Fig Garden Village. Inside, a model train ran on an elevated track above radio controlled airplanes and Victorian style dollhouses, plastic kits and dragon kites. Bob shared his expertise as a "flight instructor" to RC modelers, holding forth on aircraft design or flying technique.
Under their motto "We take fun seriously", Chet and Bob served hobbyists and creative Fresnans for 20 years. They closed shop in 1993.
In his retirement, along with reading and solving word puzzles with Jan, Bob loved telling stories of his life: summers with his Danish grandparents in Modesto, CA, misadventures in his old neighborhood, hair raising tales of a life flying airplanes, and his wonder at the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren.
Reflecting on his own life he said, simply: "I had a good ride."
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Bob is survived by his wife, Janice Hansen; brother, Chet Hansen and wife Doris; children, Doug Hansen and wife Susan, Rob Hansen and wife Debra, Brad Hansen and wife Donna Rosetta-Hansen, Keith Hansen and wife Patricia Briceo, Craig Hansen and wife Jenny Ruhl, and Jennifer Ickes and husband Rob; grandchildren, Nathaniel, Wyeth, Gregory, Erica, Emily, Natalie, Janelle, Calder, and Neal; great-grandchildren, Jonny, Imogen, Coraline, and Leo; nephew, Richard Hansen and wife Virginia; and niece, Kelly Odell and husband Mike.
There will be a Celebration of Bob Hansen's Life at Whitehurst Sullivan Burns & Blair Funeral Home on Tuesday, December 26, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.
Memorials may be made in Bob's name to American Heart Association/American Stroke Association donatenow.heart.org; or Tree Fresno treefresno.org.