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1935 Maynard 2023

Maynard James Hansen

May 1, 1935 — October 17, 2023

Elizabeth Township


Maynard James Hansen, of Elizabeth Township, passed peacefully in his sleep on October 17, 2023
after a brief illness at the age of 88. He was born on May 1, 1935, in Lakefield, Minnesota, to Olga
Wilhelmina Margareta (Wold) and Hans J. Hansen.  He was raised in Minnesota and then moved to Clifton, Texas at the age of 12, and for many years worked in high school and college for his father‘s harvesting business. He, along with his brothers, annually harvested wheat, corn and other crops from the Texas farmlands to the Canadian border. He realized that he did not want to do harvesting for a career and instead, wanted to be a pilot, but found out for the first time in his life that he did not have anywhere near 20/20 vision, so he pivoted and went to college. After graduating from Texas Tech with his BS in chemical engineering and working, he decided not to defer the draft, and was drafted into the US Army and served at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah.  After Maynard finished his Army service, he received his Master’s degree in chemical engineering from Texas Tech University, and began his coursework for his PhD in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Florida. He received an offer from Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Power Laboratories, where he worked as a Nuclear Engineer for 38 years. He worked on the development and improvement of nuclear energy and nuclear reactors in submarines and aircraft carriers for the US Navy. He met Sharon Wright in 1964 in Pittsburgh, PA, where she was working for IBM. They were married on August 15, 1964. They welcomed 4 children: Shannon Marie, Leslie Margareta, Erica Jane and Eric Brett. He was very active in his children’s lives and activities, volunteering with the Boy Scouts and coaching basketball and softball. When the snow was deep enough, he would dig out a maze in the back yard for the kids to play in. He loved to introduce his children to the wonders of the outdoors,
with hiking, kayaking, white water rafting and rock climbing. He explored many wonderful mountains
and valleys with them over the years. Maynard loved to travel. He travelled to all 50 states, 7 continents and visited over 70 countries. He was in Germany in 1961 when the Berlin wall was erected and was also there in 1990 just after the wall was torn down. He hiked on glaciers in Iceland, rode a camel in Egypt, spent a week exploring the Amazon river and hiked on the Great Wall of China. His favorite vacation was a week-long white water rafting trip down the Colorado River with his entire family. It was there that he introduced his wife to her first and last camping trip. 
After retirement he put thousands of miles on his bike on the Rails to Trails, and hiked portions of the
Appalachian trail, with his final ride on the trail at the age of 87. He volunteered with the Mon Yough
Trail Council doing regular improvements for other bikers and hikers. He was involved with the American Youth Hostels and the Sierra Club. He volunteered with the Blind Outdoor Development Group which taught hiking, tandem biking and snow tubing for individuals with visual disabilities. For many years, he remained active by serving as a judge for high school science fairs, volunteering with Meals on Wheels, and being a member of the Westinghouse SURE group and the American Nuclear Society. Maynard is survived by his wife Sharon, with whom he celebrated 59 years of marriage this past August; his 4 children: Shannon Hansen, Leslie (Matt) Lindner, Erica (Neal) Henderson, and Brett
(Kim) Hansen; and his 5 grandchildren: Sophie, Annika, Eva, Ian and Phoebe. He is also survived by his brother Phillip (Esta), sister Elizabeth Dahl and his niece and nephews, and was preceded in death by his brother David. There will be no immediate service, but a celebration of life will be planned in the future. Arrangements are by the Gilbert Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 6028 Smithfield Street, Boston, Elizabeth Township (412) 751-5000 Drew J. Gilbert, Director. Condolences may be made at 
The family requests that memorial contributions be made, in lieu of flowers, to the Mon Yough Trail Council, PO
Box 14, McKeesport, PA 15135 or at

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