In Memoriam | Eric Hansen: 1971-2022

It is hard to imagine this life without Eric Hansen. A father, son, brother, friend, ocean swimming enthusiast, history buff, lover of nature, drum circle devotee, and our very own flower guy, Eric Bryant Hansen was born January 29, 1971, in Bay City, Michigan, to Grant Hansen and Cynthia Richards. He moved with his family at age 3 to Santa Barbara and graduated Dos Pueblos High School in 1989.

Eric had an infectious smile and a memorable ability to make people laugh, and through the lens of his curiosity, he felt comfortable speaking with anyone he met. There were no strangers to Eric Hansen.

Eric contributed to our community in creative ways. He decided to work at his uncle’s video store on Mission Street instead of going to college, adding to the hubbub of conversation and nonstop critique about films of all genres that went on into the evening hours. A total film buff, Eric was dedicated to helping people pick out the perfect movie at the video shop.

One year, Eric was hired onto the film production crew for Steal Big Steal Little, a movie written and directed by Andrew Davis and filmed in Santa Barbara County. Davis reflected, “We were fortunate to have Eric help as a great production assistant on the film. We all remember what a sweetheart and outrageous, creative character Eric Hansen was. He lived life with passion and integrity, and worked tirelessly on his many jobs, causes, and passions.”

Davis recalled that Eric shot video with Patrick Fourmy and organized material on nefarious government operations, including Iran Contra. “I met Eric in the 1980s when we took TV production classes together,” Patrick Fourmy said. “He was always a very kind, generous and intelligent person — lending a hand to others and priding himself in being philosophical and unique. Eric, we miss you.”

Patrick’s brother Christian played in the drum circle at Chase Palm Park together with Eric, and they spent a great deal of time hiking in the mountains and into the back country: “Eccentric, Eric had no problem being Eric,” Christian Fourmy said. “Many a local knew him from the video store or drum circle, and if you didn’t, you probably saw him on the road riding a beater bicycle wearing a Hawaiian shirt with a basket of flowers for sale.

“Eric had a profound influence in my life through his friendship and introducing me to his good friend and benefactor Patrick O’Donovan. Patrick would be crucial in starting the drum circle at Chase Palm Park. Over the next five years, hundreds would gather.

“As for the mountains and the ocean, that may have been one of his greatest loves. In fact, fitness in general, he never stopped — whether it was riding up Gibraltar or Old San Marcos Pass, running up Rattlesnake trail and hitting the cold pools, or swimming in the ocean. You are missed, Eric. See you up the road,” Christian said.

Credit: Courtesy

Eric started his own flower stand at UCSB. His natural charm and desire to be helpful combined with his conversational spontaneity to make him a popular figure on campus. He’d pause at least once a day to jump in the surf or boogie board in any season. He loved being a part of and participating in Nite Moves, setting up the buoys and tents and working the beer garden.

His friend Lowell Blank said, “I never saw Eric in a bad mood or heard an angry word from his mouth. He was always ready to engage in a friendly conversation. Eric was was a Santa Barbara institution, a child of the universe, marching to the beat of his own drum.”

The greatest joy of his life came in March 2008 when Brody Hansen was born to Eric and Courtney Shannon. Eric was a devoted father. He and Brody were always out on bike rides, hikes, beach days, camping, and many adventures in and out of Santa Barbara. Eric was beloved by Brody’s cousins as a funny uncle, a leader of games, and a great gift giver.

His family set down the things they would miss the most: Eric’s contagious smile and his poking fun until you laughed, his uncanny ability to remember historical facts, his compassionate heart for the homeless, his John Deere tractor bike he used to deliver flowers, his vintage Hawaiian shirts, his variety of parade costumes and bike decorations, his treasures found at yard sales, and his unending love for his son.

In November 2021, Eric was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He fought like a warrior to have time to create as many fun memories as he could with Brody. Together they went camping in Big Sur, bike riding, swimming in the ocean, watched movies, and played video games.

This past July 16, Eric was baptized at Saint Anthanasius Christian Orthodox Church, and he met with his priest regularly to receive communion. He departed this life peacefully under the care of Serenity House on Sunday, August 7, 2022. The sounds of a Rebelution reggae concert drifted into his room as he was surrounded by his friends and family: Brody, Courtney, Briana, his godfather John Casey, Sebastian, Mark, Brody’s godmother Michelle, and his brother, Todd. Shortly before passing, Eric’s face shone like the sun and his eyes widened. He smiled a great grin as if he were seeing his heavenly family waiting for him. We love you Eric!

Credit: Courtesy


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