A tribute to Tom Hansen
A celebration of life for community icon Tom Hansen will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Church of Latter Day Saints at 1594 Malo Road in Lahaina.
“It will be a time of celebration for Tom Hansen’s friends and family to remember and reminisce about the wonderful life we all shared with him,” said sister-in-law Miriam Hansen.
“He loved his friends in Lahaina and all the people he knew in the Islands. You were all his family for a major part of his life.”
Tom was born in Rockville, Minnesota and spent the early years of his life in Seattle, Washington. He earned a degree in Education from Seattle University after serving in the U.S. Navy and then began what would be a lifelong career in teaching, first in the Seattle area and then in Okinawa, Japan.
From his years in Japan, Tom came to Lahaina and began teaching at Lahainaluna High School in 1967. He quickly became a leading fixture in the English classes and later the head of the department. A large man with a positive persona, Hansen influenced the students, faculty, staff and the Lahaina community with a positive attitude.
He lived on the historic campus in the teachers’ dormitory and served as the advisor to the Lahainaluna Pacific and Asian Affairs Council (PAAC) and to the Lunas surfing team.
He thus was instrumental in nurturing the delicate personalities of hundreds of teenagers that have grown up to form the caring community that is Lahaina today. He enjoyed diving, fishing, hiking, cooking, shell collecting and reading. He retired in 1989.
In his later years, Tom could be seen regularly walking along the highway near his Wahikuli home, and then more recently as a fixture in the breezeway seating connecting the Old Lahaina Shopping Center Starbucks and the Foodland supermarket.
No matter the development and hustle & bustle of the new millennium, he remained the Lahaina educator spokesman and a bright light of the local human condition. We will always remember him in this way.
Aloha, Mr. Hansen. May the Lord’s peace be with you always.