Ralph Thomas Hansen
July 26, 1925 – July 23, 2020
Ralph Thomas Hansen of Orleans, MA, formerly of New Providence, NJ passed away at home, with his loving family surrounding him, on Thursday, July 23, 2020. He died three days shy of his 95th birthday.
Ralph was born in Jersey City, NJ to Reuben and Helen Hansen. He grew up in Westfield, NJ with his two younger brothers, Wayne Hansen (Kay) and Douglas Hansen (Pauline). His passion as a boy was building gas-engine model airplanes, the "Super Buccaneers"", that he would fly in the fields near his home. When he graduated from high school, Ralph went to training camp to be a pilot, navigator, or a bombardier during WWII.
Although he was never able to become a pilot, due to his vision, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1946 working on the airplanes he loved and supporting the war effort. He was very proud to serve his country.
Ralph married the love of his life, Jane Kimball, in the fall of 1951. They were married for 69 years. He often told the story of how he sold his horse, so that he could buy an automobile to take Jane out on their first date. After the war, Ralph utilized his mechanical knowledge and became an engineer for RCA Victor where he later worked on the emerging liquid crystal technology. While Ralph worked at RCA and raised his young family with Jane in New Providence, NJ, he earned his engineering degree at Newark College of Engineering, (later renamed the New Jersey Institute of Technology) by attending school at night.
Ralph was a devoted family man and the family took annual camping trips every summer. He also participated as a Cub and Boy Scout leader, while his sons were young. Ralph introduced his family to racing small sailboats and taught his children to sail. He was an active member of Hunterdon Sailing Club at Spruce Run Reservoir in Clinton, NJ for almost thirty years where he served as Commodore. He was President of the Jet-14 Class Association, editor of the Jet-14 Class publication, JetBlasts, and always had a camera at Jet-14 regattas. His photographic collages in JetBlasts were legendary, as was his wooden Jet-14 #555 Triple Nickle, which he rebuilt.
After retiring from Red Devil Tool Co., Ralph and Jane moved to Orleans, MA where they enjoyed some of the happiest times of their lives together. An expert woodworker, Ralph created many more pieces of beautiful fine furniture. He expanded his extensive Jazz collection and he joined the Orleans Yacht Club where he raced a Daysailer and quickly became the skipper to beat. He held the title of Club Champion for many consecutive years. Ralph's final regatta was the Daysailer North Americans on Pleasant Bay at the age of 90.
Ralph was a member of the Federated Church of Orleans. Visiting with family was a center focus of Ralph's life, and gatherings for holidays and Cape Cod summer fun were joyful. Ralph will be dearly missed.
Ralph is survived by his wife, Jane; his children, Tom (Donna), Robin (James) Gaul, David (Anne) Hansen; his grandchildren, Sarah, Emily (Christopher) Canarini, Anna Gaul (Dang Pham), Christopher, Maxwell, his great grandson, Owen Canarini and his brother, Wayne. Ralph was predeceased by his brother, Doug, and his sister-in-law, Kay.
Ralph will be laid to rest in the Massachusetts National Cemetery on July 31 at 12:45 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Robert Radtke Memorial Fund, PO Box 145, Orleans, MA 02653 in support of youth sailing programs.
- Robert Radtke Memorial Fund
Graveside Pavillion Service
Friday, July 31, 2020
Ralph Thomas Hansen
Peter & Delane Ferrucci
August 1, 2020
We send to Jane and family our prayers and to say that we will remember Ralph fondly as a good neighbor for twenty years.
Peter & Delane Ferrucci
(Formerly of Thayer Lane)
July 31, 2020
I knew Ralph from sailing jet14s at Hunterdon Sailing club, every sunday in the 80s. I remember Ralph well. Those were good times. i can try to find some pictures.
July 29, 2020
I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of knowing Ralph for over 20 years as both a friend and neighbor. What an amazing man! Whatever he did, he did to the maximum. I can’t imagine a more devoted husband than he. His boat building and sailing skills were world class, and he took the notion of independence and personal responsibility almost to an extreme (in a good way). My children knew him from the Orleans Yacht Club where they were taking sailing lessons. I remember them explaining to me what a legend we had as a neighbor.
We shared many conversations with Ralph and Jane - in my yard or theirs, on everything from boating to politics. His values and attitude toward life made him a role model for his friends and neighbors.
We will miss Ralph, yet we take comfort in knowing that he rests peacefully in heaven.
Carol and Lloyd Kitchin
July 28, 2020
We are so sorry about the loss of your dear father. His passions and love of family is evident in the children he raised. May you all be comforted by wonderful memories.
Sending love and prayers. 💝
July 28, 2020
Ralph Hansen, or as GM would call him Pah Hansen was a mentor to me. His beautiful jet, triple nickel was a benchmark for all the Jets I rebuilt. I talked to him plenty when I tanked Fang. I was unaware of his training to be a pilot. Ditto Paul Parramore. Then the war ended. When I would travel from Chicago back to
NJ to race I would usually stop by and see him and Jane and Charlie Engler. I found it quite interesting when he and Jane bought the house in Orleans because it was at the site where I went to camp from 1972-1974 (Camp Namequot) he also did a excellent job as editor of “Jetblasts” . Never in the history of the class was there better publications than the ones Ralph produced. How ironic, he was born the same year and date as my mom, Mary Parramore who died in February of this year. I will miss you Ralph