An accomplished and honorable veteran, Bill Hansen, of South Lake Tahoe passed away on June 8, 2013 at the age of 92. A WWII POW survivor, Bills story was one of both hardship and fortitude. He was raised in San Francisco where his childhood was full of adventures on the seas with his father, a ship captain.
As a young man, Bill felt a sense of duty to his country and enlisted into the Air Force in March 1943. He trained to be a pilot and flew both B-17’s and B-24’s, ultimately becoming a 1st Lieutenant Bombardier of the 93rd Bombardment group.
He was flying raids over Mannheim, Germany when his plane was shot down in Jan. 1944 and he was captured. From a crew of 10, he was only 1 of 3 that survived. Held prisoner for approximately 1-1/2 years, the Germans had first believed him to be a spy and locked him into solitary confinement. Bill endured harsh treatment with the bitter cold and suffered greatly from the lack of food and medical treatment. It wasn’t until May 1945 that the Russian Army finally liberated him from the camp.
After the service, he earned his BS degree in Electrical Engineering at UC Berkeley. He had a 25 year career in San Francisco as an operating foreman with the electrical underground department of PG&E. In 1950 Bill met his future wife, Marion, at the San Francisco Officers Club where they fell in love while dancing, and enjoyed 63 years together. Bill’s favorite pastime was hiking and stream fishing. He also enjoyed frequenting the local casinos.
Bill was preceded in death by loving wife Marion and daughter Carol. He is survived by devoted daughter Julie and son Richard; was papa to grandchildren Christina, Renee, Zachary, Joella, Brian and Kevin.
Funeral services will be held at McFarlane Mortuary on Tuesday June 18th at 11:00 a.m., to be followed with a full military burial at Happy Homestead Cemetery. Reception will follow at the First Baptist Church, 1053 Wildwood Ave.