Obituary: Karl Johan Hansen 1942-2022

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Karl Johan Hansen
1942 - 2022

Karl Johan Hansen “Bestefar”, 80, passed away Monday, June 6, 2022 surrounded by his loving family.

Born in Karmøy, Norway June 6, 1942 to Emilie (Dyrland) and Sigurd Hansen. Relocated to Seattle, WA in 1961 to pursue a career in the fishing industry.

Karl Johan began working at an early age. He was only 13 when he got a job at the butcher shop where he would deliver meats and sausages to various stores by bicycle. The owner of the shop had a three wheel motorcycle that Karl Johan enjoyed. When the butcher wasn’t watching, he would take the motorcycle for a spin as the butcher would chase and holler at him. Eventually the butcher just gave in and let him be. One day he drove right into a truck, but managed to get away with just a few scratches. The motorcycle was another story.

At the age of 14 Karl Johan got his first job on a fishing boat, making two trips to Iceland to fish for herring. Later he did a fishing trip closer to home and as fate would have it, the weather was bad and they ran aground. One man was lost, Karl Johan survived the accident.

When Karl Johan turned 16 he joined the Merchant Marines as a galley boy. At 17, he was promoted to second cook, where he learned his cooking skills.

In 1961 Karl Johan immigrated to the United States and settled in Ballard. Later he got a job fishing on the Washington coast; eventually becoming a skipper.

In 1966 the love of his life, Else, came to the United States. They were married shortly thereafter. They eventually relocated to Shoreline, WA where they raised their three children.

Immediately following their wedding, Karl Johan and a friend went salmon fishing in Alaska; but the paycheck was meager. The boat sank, fortunately they were both saved.

In 1973, Karl Johan became a U.S. citizen. He was proud of his citizenship, but always made sure his family visited their homeland and his parents’ home every summer. Norwegian traditions remain important to the entire family.

In 1974 he bought the fishing boat Ocean Spray together with Kenneth and Dennis Petersen. Karl Johan started crab fishing in Alaska and soon earned his nickname “the Champ” from his employers and fellow fishermen.

In the 90s, Karl Johan sold the Ocean Spray. He then had his salmon boat built and named her Elka. Karl Johan, Else and their son Stan fished in Bristol Bay for salmon every summer for five years. In 2001, their boat Elka was lost in a warehouse fire along with nearly 30 other boats. Karl Johan leased a boat the next season, and then retired from fishing.

Karl Johan took pleasure in carpentry, smoking salmon, cooking, and spending time with his grandchildren. He also enjoyed attending his granddaughter’s dance recitals, and his grandsons’ games. He was also an avid Seahawks and Sounders fan and rarely missed watching a game. Karl Johan also loved dogs, with three grand-dogs he loved giving treats to when they came to visit.

Throughout Karl Johan’s life he enjoyed music, playing the guitar, singing, telling stories and jokes. He loved his family greatly and enjoyed the company of many friends. He was a wonderful man, husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend and will be missed by all.

Karl Johan “Bestefar” is survived by his wife of 56 years, Else (Martinsen) Hansen; his children, Jan Eivin Hansen, Stan Hansen and his wife Shari, Evelyn Hansen-Baker and her husband James; his grandchildren, Jessika Marie, Joshua Riley and Corey Johan; many nieces, nephews; and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents Emilie (Dyrland) and Sigurd Hansen, and brother Sverre Hansen.

Karl Johan will be laid to rest at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery.

The family wishes to send a special thank you to the ICU medical staff at Swedish Hospital in Edmonds.

A private memorial service will be held for family and close friends.


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