A Tribute to Karsten

(Saturday June 14, 2008)


Karsten Hansen, died (April 8, 2008) at the age of 83. A celebration of life was held today at the Elks Lodge in Grass Valley. He was born Nov. 4, 1924, in Sisston, S.D., to Iver Hansen and Hannah B. Patterson Hansen. The family moved to Grass Valley in 1932, and he attended local schools. He worked for Kaiser Engineering, in Vallejo, Calif. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945 on the European front. After his discharge, Karsten was employed with the California Department of Architecture. He and his brother, Arlie Hansen, started Hansen Bros. Company in 1953 that is still operated by family members,  and has become a major general contracting, gravel, heavy equipment rental and supply firm in Nevada County. Karsten served on the Grass Valley Personnel Board and was a member of the Grass Valley Police Department Reserve, and was a Nevada County Supervisor from 1978 to 1986. He served as president of the Grass Valley Lions Club; he was a life member of Madison Lodge 23, the Grass Valley Elks Lodge and National Rifle Association. He was former a member of the Nevada County Sportsman and American Legion Post.

He is survived by his wife, Maryalyce; daughters Kim East and Tina Hughes; grandson, Nathan Hutson; granddaughter, Schandelle Hutson; sisters Lila Bidnorz and Doris Osborne; many nieces and nephews; and his Labrador retriever, Dolly. Karsten was preceded in death by his parents, Iver Hansen and Hannah B. Patterson Hansen; brothers Arlie and Iver; and sister, Alicia Davis.

Today's Celebration of Karsten's life was inspiring and patriotic. Even more, it was a special reunion for many long time residents, acquaintances, family and friends to share memories. The following was written by his grand niece when she was in the fifth grade, and narrated today as an eighth grader honoring Flag Day as well.


What I See when I Look up at the American Flag

By Shelby Carrow


Old Glory, the Star Spangled Banner, the symbol of our nation...I see so much when I look at our Flag. I see our country's beauty, from our sparkling cities to our small farm towns. I see the vibrant culture we have created. From the frozen landscapes of Alaska to the fiery volcanoes of Hawaii, I see America's spectacular physical beauty. I see the rugged peaks of Yosemite, the golden wheat fields of Kansas, the palmed beaches of Florida, the aquamarine waters of Lake Tahoe and the great forests of the Pacific Northwest.

When I look at the flag, I also see a country that was created from people seeking freedom and opportunity. America was formed from the diverse cultures of the world. We are a country populated by Asians, Africans, Native Americans, Europeans and many more. Each of these cultures has brought unique traditions and new perspectives, giving our country character and greatness.

When I look at the flag, I feel the strength of our nation. America has survived many hardships such as war, the Great Depression, acts of terrorism and natural disasters. Tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina and the attack on the World Trade Center have only made our country stronger and more focused on our goal of freedom.

When I look, I see so much. But more than anything, I feel something deep within my heart. I can only describe this feeling as gratitude and pride. I am blessed to be an American.

Grandson Nathan who served in Iraq.

It was a beautiful memorial honoring Karsten and his dear family. God bless all of you.