The pages of the Valley Record bring you sad news this
week with the passing of former Mayor Jeanne Hansen. With the sad
news comes the close of a chapter that will shape the Valley for years
I once wrote an editorial that said a person’s success could
be measured by how many people show up at your funeral. A funeral
is a true reflection of how many lives one has touched, and my guess
is, there will be a lot of people at Jeanne’s services this Saturday.
There are likely people who did not agree with her political aspirations
or her direction for Snoqualmie and the Upper Valley, but there are
also throngs of people who supported her, wholeheartedly, knowing
that her desires for the Valley were genuine and lacked selfish
motives. Whether you agreed with her or not, you knew that her heart
was guiding her and that she truly believed that anything she was
doing was for the betterment of the Valley and its residents.
Having had the chance to know Jeanne for many years, and
especially while serving as the publisher of this newspaper, I knew
I could easily talk with Jeanne about any subject, and our
discussions were typically on the record and her responses were genuine.
She was an intriguing person to talk to and had many ideas to
share, again, some of which I personally may not have agreed with,
but many that were in the best interest of the community.
Jeanne was a connection to the past, having spent many
years working for Weyerhaeuser at the Snoqualmie mill. She saw the
Valley go through the economic downturn caused by the demise in
the logging industry. She personally saw many Valley families who
were forced to leave to find work, or who stayed and were possibly
living in poverty. She saw Snoqualmie grow from a population of less
than 1,200 to the current population of more than 2,000.
She epitomized community involvement, sitting on the
hospital board, the Senior Center board, the Hub board, and the list goes
on. She wasn’t the type to say, “Have so-and-so help you with that.”
She would roll up her sleeves and do whatever was necessary. Greg
Hart from Mount Si shared with me that she even volunteered to
participate in a Big Mac eating contest at McDonalds to raise funds for
the student body at the high school. Greg added that she only ate
one Big Mac during the time of the contest, but the fact that she
was willing to participate was a strong indication of her character.
Despite having lost the last election for mayor, she continued
to actively participate in city activities, including the
Snoqualmie Ridge Community Center Steering Committee.
For many, Jeanne Hansen was, and is, Snoqualmie —
past, present and future. Our thoughts go out to her family in this time
of grief, and especially to my K-12 classmate, Bob.