TACOMA — Gerald “Spud” Hansen, age 86, passed away peacefully in his home on Feb. 7, 2021, two minutes after his Super Bowl numbers hit.
A second-generation Norwegian-American, Spud was raised by Nic and Asta (Sagen) Hansen in Chinook, Washington. Spud attended Chinook Grade School and Ilwaco High, where he served as president and salutatorian of his 1952 graduating class of three. Spud’s next stop was Pullman, Washington, where he became the first in his family to graduate from college; and where his lifelong passion for the Washington State University “Cougars” began.
At WSU, Spud’s funds soon ran dry, but his drive to earn his degree did not. His journey took him from Pullman, Washington to Bitburg, Germany, where he served two years in SCARWAF (Special Category Army with Air Force). With support from the G.I. Bill, Spud returned to WSU, was elected student body president; and met his future wife, Deanna. Spud graduated in 1959, but a big piece of his heart remained in Pullman throughout his long life. He was especially proud of his WSU license plate: WSU0001.
After college and a few years in HR for Continental Can Company, Spud’s next chapter began in Tacoma, where he started the business that became Spud’s Pizza Parlor and Trophy Room on the east side of town. While owning the Pizza Parlor, Spud and his best friend Harley Otis, bought and briefly owned the Old St. Louis Tavern and the Cage Tavern. At the Cage, they took the first women’s slo-pitch team west of the Rockies to Omaha, Nebraska to play in the Nationals. In 1995, Spud received the Dill Howell Award for his support of baseball and slo-pitch in Tacoma/Pierce County.
Over time, “Spud’s” sponsored countless Eastside Boys and Girls Club youth teams; and Spud served as president of their board for two years. The “Trophy Room” remains a testament to decades of his team sponsorships. Spud’s friends and Trophy Room patrons enjoyed his stories and generous spirit. The charismatic host encouraged his fellow WSU football fans to come by to watch the games: he’d buy a round for the bar every time his beloved Cougars scored a touchdown. In 2001, Spud sold the business and retired; but his legacy at “Spud’s” lives on.
Spud felt a deep connection to his Chinook roots: In retirement, he often returned to the region where he was raised, spending weekends and vacations at a property he purchased in Long Beach. He always felt at home in Pacific County. On his last day, Spud’s family enjoyed following his Super Bowl squares, wondering if he was holding on to see if his numbers hit. True to Spud’s penchant for gambling and a good story — he won the half and the 3rd quarter; and then passed peacefully two minutes after the game.
Spud Hansen was preceded in death by his parents and the mother of his children, Deanna Hansen. He is survived by his son Mark Hansen/WSU ’84 (Laura/WSU ’85), grandchildren Chelsea, Allie and Rachel; Daughter Lynn Bisset/WSU ’85 (Jim), grandchildren Jessie and Jack; Daughter Karen Wilson (John), grandchildren Bryce and Nic/WSU 2021. Spud is also survived by his companion and best friend Charlene Haneline; a special woman who deserves a medal for putting up with him for 27 years.
To honor Spud’s explicit wishes for a lively celebration, a party will be planned for the near future. In lieu of flowers, please donate to The Friends of Chinook School, P.O. Box 243, Chinook, WA 98614.