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Date of Issue: July 09, 2008

Obituary

hanson.jpg
Jim Hanson relaxes between stories at The Islander office.
hanson-cortez-award.jpg
Jim Hanson was honored by Cortez in 2006 for his coverage of the village in The Islander.
hanson-bday.jpg
Jim Hansonís sweet tooth was satisfied on his 80th birthday in 2004 with a huge chocolate cake.

James E. Hanson

Anna Maria Island, Cortez, Longboat Key, Sarasota, Montana, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and more places around the globe have lost a good friend.

Jim Hanson died on the Fourth of July surrounded by family and friends. He had been a reporter and feature writer since 1995 for The Islander newspaper, where he insinuated himself with the residents of the village of Cortez.

Born in Montana, Jim was a graduate of the University of Montana. He joined the U.S. Navy and served as a captain of a PT boat off New Guinea during World War II. He then continued his military career in Central and South America.

Upon returning to the states, he went to Seattle to work for a newspaper, eventually becoming managing editor. He was later invited to become legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. Henry Martin “Scoop” Jackson of Washington state, and moved to Washington, D.C., to run Jackson’s legislative office.

Jim then went into the lobbying realm, working for Amtrak among other organizations.

Jim retired to Longboat Key in the mid-1980s and, after three years, decided to go back into journalism. He started as a writer for the Longboat Times, later becoming its editor. He then worked for the Weekly newspaper, a Sarasota-Bradenton tabloid, the Pelican Press newspaper and The Islander.

Islander publisher Bonner Joy said, “He made himself a friend to everyone he met and he made friends for the newspaper. He had a gentle way with words and people. He was especially admired among the oldtimers in Cortez, as if he was one of them, and that’s not an easy task. I can’t imagine how we’ll fill his shoes. It will be impossible. I will miss his wit and wisdom.”

Jim won numerous writing awards for The Islander newspaper over the years at the annual Florida Press Association convention.

Former Sarasota Mayor Jack Gurney, also a former reporter, said of Jim, “He was a gentle, very intelligent man who had a great sense of humor. He was just a great guy to have as a friend. He had a wonderful, diverse background. For a boy raised in rural Montana, he saw the world. His perspective on things reflected not only his boyhood, but his experience.”

“He will be missed,” said Cortez resident Joe Kane, “for he had newspaper in his blood.”

“I did love the man,” said Roger Allen of the Florida Maritime Museum in Cortez. “He was one of my pillars. This is so very, very sad.”

Cortez patriarch Blue Fulford said, “Among the annals of journalist writing, he was the top cowboy. I liked old Jim. He always had our best interests at heart.”

Memorial services are being planned for a later date and will be announced in The Islander.

He is survived by wife Amira; sons David of Arlington, Va.; Brian of Bristow, Va., and Eric of Clifton, Va.; daughter Laura of Texas; stepson David Yeces of Sarasota; stepdaughter Diana Nunoz; and many grandchildren and step-grandchildren.

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