Steven Vidyaran Hanson, 68, a resident of Pinecliffe, died on February 16, 2020 of cancer.
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Born in Oakland California on March 8, 1951 to Robert Carl Hanson and Margaret Bremner.
Steve grew up in Boulder and attended Flatirons Elementary, Baseline Junior High, and
Boulder High School.
Growing up in Boulder in those years was magical; anyone who lived it will agree. Our
neighborhood up against Flagstaff was full of children and friendly neighbors, but still
contained a lot of wild spaces. Only days before his death Steve mentioned BlackJack Jungle,
a bit of unconstructed land on the south side of Euclid, where all of us played out the
adventures our books and imaginations inspired. In winter, we could sled down College
Avenue and not worry about traffic on 6th street. The evening games of Hide and Seek or
“Spy” seemed to cover entire city blocks and involved all the kids from ages 5-18. Steve, as
one of the ’big kids’ was an organizer, but he seemed to have an eye on helping the little ones
In Junior High and High School, Steve was a member of the wrestling team and made life
long friendships. Steve treasured an album made by students at Boulder High in 1969: “The
Moon is Down.” It’s great music still, and the reminder of a collective effort of hard work,
but such fun.
Steve worked as a chef on the Big Island of Hawaii in the early 1970s, then at the Broker
Inn in Boulder. He also had many jobs in smaller mountain cafés from Ward to Wondervu. He
was a good team worker and always able to learn as well as to inspire. He made exquisitely
perfect hollandaise sauce and once earned a standing ovation from the brunch guests at a
mountain eatery who had watched him prepare it on a camp stove.
Steve took great pride in working hard and well, and his generosity was legendary.
Family and friends were not the only recipients of his gifts. Once, when a local radio station
couldn’t play his request because they didn’t have the album, he drove to the station, waited
for the DJ to answer his knock and delivered his favorite Jimi Hendrix album so all could
hear “All Along The Watchtower.” He was a true Renaissance Man: he was equally
passionate about literature, music, philosophy, spirituality, history, politics, sports, wildlife,
and outdoor adventures. Steve excelled at the art of friendship. He had a talent for living with
an ultra-light environmental footprint, which he learned in rural Hawaii, and perfected over
many decades in the mountain communities above Nederland. He hiked and camped across
the Front Range backcountry, especially the Indian Peaks and Rainbow Lakes areas, sharing
unmapped trails and lakes with a lucky few. He taught many relatives and friends the art of
fly-fishing and other mountain skills.
A witty raconteur, Steve charmed friends and strangers with his conversations and stories.
He also wrote maxims and tall tales about the heroic adventures of his beloved Akita, Bear,
and the famous Chef Bon-Soir.
Steve never lived within the Nederland city limits, but he was a member of the community
for more than forty years. He appreciated the mountain philosophy which let every member
be an individual, no questions asked. He treasured friendships with local business owners and
and was deeply committed to shopping in his neighborhood. In 2008 when it was discovered
that Steve was seriously ill, could use help, and would accept it, the mountain people rallied
round and this friendly response was part of his cure. He recovered and became an avid
photographer, a consumer of BBC documentaries, a movie connoisseur and a pickle-ball
adept. The greatest joy of the last decade of his life were the profound connections he
developed with neighbors and with participants in his beloved yoga community.
His cousin, Andrew Olson wrote these words to him before his death, and they express
what many of us wish we had said:
“When(Aunt) Marky took us all to Hawaii we walked and hitchhiked to Diamond Head
on a mission for something – was it bamboo? Some were too timid to go past the tunnel into
the crater because there was a sign that said something about a prohibited military zone or
something like that. I think you took Woody Guthrie’s advice from the verse of This Land is
Your Land that we never got to sing in school and went in anyway. I discovered later that the
right to roam (the muddy farm paths in England) or the path down to the beach in Italy, is
thought of differently in other parts of the world, where they take the view you showed us
then. It may seem a small thing, but, of course, it is not, as the mountains also taught us.
The most important thing you did for us was to be our mountain guide. I have had many
people who were my guides to the natural world, but you were one. Fly fishing was magic.
The tiny bright point on a long thread of almost invisible line that looped further and further
out in a smooth technique that I only tried enough to know how hard it was and how easy it
looked. And the trout came. They were often fooled by the spiky bits of feather and colored
threads and hair that glittered in their boxes in the shop, each one seeming to promise to be
the right one for one day, just the right one the maddeningly picky trout would be looking for,
and tomorrow or that evening it would be a different one. I caught enough on cast-a-bubbles
to love the skill-less version and the hike up to the lake and traipsing in the woods when I
wasn’t fishing were as important as anything else. Right to roam.
You have never met (my children), Steve, but you should know that your hand is also on their
shoulders, like the long list of people who have their hands on mine, guiding their path, and
the taste you have been so important in giving me and passing to them is, undoubtedly,
critical for their generation. Perhaps the most critical gift we can give – even to the point of
survival. My generation has not covered themselves in glory. We have taken all the
resources of the earth and thoughtlessly frittered them, but you have certainly not taken that
path. I thank you for the example of a different way.”
Steve is survived by sisters Holly and Julie, cousins, nieces, a nephew, very many
beloved friends, and his faithful dog Motley.
A memorial service will be held in July 2020 in or near Nederland.
Steve's yoga practice in the mountains gave him great joy and health in the last decade of
his life. Contributions in his honor can be sent to the Steve Hanson Yoga Fund, to continue
his work to help others study with his yoga teachers. Those who would like to contribute, or
might be in need of a yoga scholarship, can send an email to
email@example.com or call 720-480-3682