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Nancy Perkins Hanson

1954 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Nancy Perkins Hanson Obituary
Nancy Perkins Hanson

Phoenix - Nancy P. Hanson, 63, of Phoenix, Arizona, Elko and Wildhorse Nevada, East Lansing and Traverse City, Michigan, Storrs, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts, died on May 1, 2018 in Phoenix.

Nancy was a smart, assured, and strong-willed woman. Frequently, she expressed certain non-negotiable requests per her life and death. Foremost, there would be no formal funeral services or memorials. Hence, we will honor the spirit and intent of Nancy's wishes by not memorializing her. Instead, we are going to laugh, shed tears and have fun with her friends and family by caringly recalling her evocative passage through our lives. Nancy's Non-Memorial Celebration will take place Sunday, May 20, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. to last call, at the Hanson House. Nancy stories will be told at 3:00 p.m. with food available all day starting at 1:00 p.m.

Nancy was born to William and Carol Perkins in Urbana, Illinois, on December 30, 1954, but grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts (the western, sane and normal speaking part of the state). Upon graduation from Springfield's Classical High School, she enrolled at the University of Connecticut and backpacked through Europe with her dearest friend Thalia. They earned pre-EURO currency with Thalia (the Grinder) singing and playing guitar, while lookout Nancy (the monkey) tin cupped or hatted cash while watching for police.

Nancy returned to domestic practicality and moved mid-west to enroll in Michigan State University's (MSU) School of Criminal Justice in the fall of 1975. She also rented a rural farmhouse room south of campus. It was there that her spouse Richard had the luckiest night of his life, meeting her one chilly October evening. They were married eight months later and succeeded in holding their companionship reasonably intact for over 42-years. Her spouse had a great career only because Nancy put his more difficult job prospects first. Yet, no matter where in the boondocks they landed, Nancy would get or create out of thin air, a great job.

In her professional life, Nancy never really held a job for more than five years, proclaiming "change is good, jobs get boring". She was a waitress, managed the Wild Horse Ranch's grocery, gas, rents, licensing, and fish bait operations, and was an undercover shoplifting shopper. She served as a juvenile and runaway services probation officer, did a stint as a Research Assistant at MSU, endured being a Customer Service Rep for Ambassador International, coordinated the Eastern Nevada Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, along with various typing, writing, editing, and proofreading gigs.

On the odd side, Nancy worked a stint for Shell Oil of Michigan, facilitating drilling in endangered wetlands, with a side effect of souring domestic wells. In Elko, she became the federal Bureau of Land Management's first Lightning Detection System (LDS) specialist (a 1979 high tech firefighting tool). Remaining in LDS, she also became a BLM fire logistical radio-dispatcher upon her 1980 Arizona arrival.

In Arizona, Nancy's college training and employment opportunities eventually synchronized. She became a program coordinator - social service agencies, for the Az Dept. of Economic Security. Switching careers, Nancy joined the Az Dept. of Education as a Chemical Abuse Prevention Specialist. Later she transferred to Arizona State University as Clearinghouse Coordinator for the state's first Arizona Prevention Resource Center. Eventually she moved to the Az Dept. of Health Services to manage all domestic violence and crippled children's contract services.

In 1991, Nancy earned a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Arizona State University. Thereafter she left government to start her own company, Hanson Consulting. She was never unemployed, stating: "I'm not unemployed, I'm a consultant". Her perfect job description was realized: "As a home-based business, I take my dog to work every day". Self-employment was empowering and every job new. She worked with police, Indian tribes, local, state and federal agencies, non-profits, rural hospitals, and schools.

Nancy assisted in the start-up of a naturopathic medicine university and was hired by the national Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) to re-focus their core safety training mission. To learn by doing, Nancy took the actual MSF training course. Typically, Nancy made 100% on the written test and thoroughly flunked the riding test. She knocked down every cone on the lot and tipped the motorcycle over as well.

Nancy was proud that every job she took in her professional life was focused toward addressing social ills, ensuring health care, combating drug abuse, ensuring public safety, protecting the land, and offering services to abused women, children and elders. This service was how she gave back to society by helping others directly, by managing service contracts for underserved populations, and by devising means to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of both taxpayer and privately funded services.

Nancy is survived by her spouse Richard, brother Bill, Uncle Steve, and four nephews and nieces: Adam, William, Stephany and Merriah, in company with their various significant others and children.

Memorials or donations may be given in Nancy's name to the Arizona Humane Society on their website. Nancy last career was volunteering thousands of hours for the Humane Society by assisting with adoption actions, staffing events, walking in parades, and sales. Most of all, she enjoyed care-fostering injured or sick dogs for weeks or months. She was the go-to for dog amputee rehab. Some 29 dogs were made fit for new "forever homes" during Nancy's 1,196 days (3.3-years!) of home-based foster care.
Published in The Arizona Republic on May 18, 2018
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