Hanson touched many, is missed

Now and then, someone who is not widely known dies and a relatively small group of people feel his loss greatly. But there was something about that person that touched us and we feel the need to share something about him. Rod Hansen, of Amherst, who died earlier this month, was the kind of person we hope everyone knows.

It was a topic of much discussion at Hampshire Hills when people started noticing that Rod wasn’t at the club as much. He had been a seven-day-a-week regular at 5 a.m. when the doors opened, (6:50 on weekends) so he could change and head right for the lap pool, where he spent about 90 minutes every day, much to the amazement of many of us.

We recall once hearing two men in their 30s, who had just been swimming laps, talking about Rod and the number of laps he swam (he told us once it was 84), and one of them said, "I’ll bet he does it five days a week." Someone told him: "He does it seven." But it wasn’t his swimming and tennis that will make so many people miss Rod. It was his attitude. He was so obviously a kind man. You could just feel it. And nice. He was always nice. Just a really decent guy.

He touched a lot of people, and many of them came to a memorial Saturday evening at Hampshire Hills. Some didn’t know him all that well, some just knew him to say hi to, but they came.

When we heard he’d died, we Googled his name and found him mentioned on the website of the United Way of Greater Nashua. We weren’t surprised. In 2014, there was an article there about Rod and his granddaughter and the youngster’s volunteer efforts. Here is what Lisa Conti wrote for the UW website: "Volunteering and community service run deep in Cali’s family, and her grandfather, Rod Hansen of Amherst, is a huge reason why Cali is continuing the tradition." That, we think, is the greatest tribute Rod could be given. His name didn’t make headlines, but he touched lives.

He’ll be missed at 5 a.m. in the lap pool.