Edna Hansen

The family of Edna Hansen notes her passing Oct. 6, 2002, to what she described as a beautiful place.

She is survived by her loving husband, Chris, and six children, Kim Williams of Langley, Kip Hansen of Chico, Calif., Sky Hansen of Vashon Island, Shawn Hansen of Homer, Alaska, Dean Hansen of Olympia and Kama Hunter of Tacoma; 13 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Edna May Benck was born Jan. 30, 1924, in Trenton, N.J. She married Christian Hansen Dec. 30, 1945. They moved to Southern California, where she soon became active in various preschool and early childhood programs, while at the same time raising six children.

She began teaching at the Altadena Co-op, where she was on the board of directors for many years and was president of the California Gifted Association. Mrs. Hansen developed a successful program for minority families in Whittier, Calif., which was later used as a model for the Head Start Program. Later she earned a master’s degree from Goddard College and a doctoral degree in early childhood education from Lawrence University, Santa Barbara, Calif. She continued as a field faculty advisor for Lawrence and was mentor for students earning independent study degrees.

In 1981, Mr. Hansen built the Little Dome and Mrs. Hansen began The Learning Park on South Whidbey. For 19 years Mrs. Hansen taught the children (and parents) of South Whidbey to be enthusiastic learners using her pioneering methods of multi-sensory integration.

She has always expressed herself creatively and artistically through such varied media as writing, painting, drawing, soft sculpture and even food. But her greatest expression of creativity was the gift she provided to the South Whidbey community for so many years — a love of learning, a commitment to children and an indomitable spirit.

She will be deeply missed.

A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Oct. 9 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland, followed by a gathering at the dome. All who love her are welcome. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, P.O. Box 19023, Seattle, WA 98109-1023.

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