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`She was a mentor'

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SNOQUALMIE — To many, Jeanne Hansen was Snoqualmie.

She was the city's former mayor, and during her 10-year

tenure, she led Snoqualmie out of the lean years of the 1980s. She

hired the city's first full-time administrator, giving up her salary to

do so, and she helped spur efforts to limit flood damage by

raising houses and widening the Snoqualmie River.

But to those who knew her, she was more than that. They

call her a sister, a friend and a mentor.

"She was definitely a role model — absolutely, no

doubt about that," said Fritz Ribary, former mayor of North Bend.

"She was a mom, she was a mentor, she was a sister, she was always

there as an example."

Hansen suffered a brain aneurysm in her home last

Wednesday, Jan. 3. She was taken to Overlake Hospital Medical Center

in Bellevue, where she died later that night. She was 69 years old.

The Rev. Mary Brown, former pastor of the Snoqualmie

United Methodist Church, where Hansen had been a member for 38

years, said that throughout her life — both in and out of politics

— Hansen was always willing to lend a helping hand.

"She was always very gracious, I think, in her relations

with other people," Brown said of Hansen, who served as lay

leader of the church for 15 years. "She didn't say anything bad

about anybody and was always willing to try to reach an

understanding with people.

"Her faith was just evident in her everyday life in the sense

that [she] needed to give back to the community."

Hansen was born Aug. 4, 1931, in Medford, Mass.

She moved to Ellensburg in 1951 and married Leo Hansen in 1960

before settling in Snoqualmie in 1961. Her husband died in 1973.

She worked for the Weyerhaeuser Co. mill in Snoqualmie as its

human-resource manager, retiring in 1995. A City Council member for two

years, Hansen was elected mayor of Snoqualmie in 1987.

Three years later, current North Bend Mayor Joan

Simpson witnessed Hansen's gift for creating consensus among groups

with differing opinions.

"In the aftermath of the flood of 1990, there was a

community meeting where the citizens were understandably upset and

were very angry that nothing had been done," Simpson said. "She ran

the meeting with great sincerity … She was firm, yet gracious to

everyone. I admired her ability to handle a tough situation."

On Saturday mornings, Hansen would open up City

Hall to residents, ready to hear whatever concerns they had, said

Dave Battey, who served on the city's Planning Commission and is

also a member of Snoqualmie United Methodist Church.

"She was the type of individual the folks would go to

if they had a problem or a frustration. You could see that on

Saturday mornings, when she had the open house at City Hall," he said.

And then there were the various organizations, boards

and committees she served on. She was a member and past

president of Mount Si Business and Professional Women. She sat on

the board of the Mount Si Senior Center, was instrumental in

creating the Snoqualmie Valley Youth Hub and was a King County

Public Hospital District 4 commissioner for 10 years, as well as being

involved with numerous other groups.

"I think she's an inspiration to younger women in their

30s and 40s, to see how much you can do," said Brown. "I think she

was a trailblazer for this Valley, and she was involved with so

many aspects of the community, from youth to seniors."

"She's probably been affiliated with just about every

organization, every group in the community," Ribary said. "She

has touched a lot of peoples' lives, that's for sure."

Snoqualmie Mayor Randy "Fuzzy" Fletcher, who

defeated Hansen in the 1997 mayoral election, said flags would be flown

at half-staff until her memorial service.

"She did a lot of good things for the city, and gave a lot of

herself to the city," he said. "She worked hard to improve the

city in ways that she thought would be best. She always

remained cheerful, even when times were tough."

Survivors include her son, Robert E. Hansen, of

Snoqualmie; a brother, Robert Mayo, of Athol, Mass.; and two sisters,

Edith Hancock, of Mount Pleasant, S.C., and Thelma Haron, of

Medford, Ore. A memorial service for Hansen will be held at 10:30

a.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Snoqualmie Ridge Golf Club.

Arrangements are being made by Flintoft's Issaquah Funeral Home.

A donation account has been created at all Sno Falls

Credit Union locations under Hansen's name.

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