Bob Hanson remembered for his love of family, community

Celebration of life Friday for dedicated community member, 75, who devoted his life to helping people in Iqaluit

Bob Hanson, right, with his friend Bruce Huylan on a boat in Iqaluit in 1986. A celebration of life for Bob Hanson will be held Friday in Iqaluit. (Photo courtesy of Ann Hanson)

By Emma Tranter

Ann Hanson is shown in her living room in Apex on Wednesday. (Photo by Emma Tranter)

It seemed like Bob Hanson was always at the centre of Iqaluit’s growth from a small town to a capital city.

“His resume reads like a compilation of several men,” an obituary written by his family says.

Hanson died Nov. 7 at the age of 75, at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.

As described by his family, his contributions to Iqaluit were immeasurable.

Hanson first came to Iqaluit from New Brunswick in June 1965, at the age of 18, where he met his wife, Ann. The two were together for 56 years and have five daughters, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Through the years, he worked as a volunteer firefighter, deputy fire chief, deputy mayor, president of the Royal Canadian Legion branch, chair of the Nunavut Business Credit Corp., chair of the Nunavut Water Board and chair of Nunavut Arctic College.

He also served as the coroner, volunteered as Santa Claus, and most recently was chair of the Uquutaq Society in Iqaluit.

Sitting in her home in Apex as the sun starts to set around 2 p.m., Ann Hanson doesn’t miss a beat when asked how her husband kept up with his various jobs and volunteer work.

“Family,” she said.

“It was part of living. Just part of our community living.”

Ann said Bob was a loving father, who was always around for his children despite his busy lifestyle.

“It takes a village to raise a child. Bob understood that,” she said.

In his little free time, Hanson loved hunting and spending time out on the land. Ann said the first Inuktitut phrase her husband learned was, “Do you want to go hunting?”

He also received the nickname, ‘Ningauk,’ meaning son-in-law, from people in the community.

“He was well-respected,” said Ann, herself a former commissioner of the territory.

Hanson is probably best known for his service that brought in cargo each sealift season. He established R.L. Hanson Construction with Ann.

The service “moved just about everything, from a piece of two-by-four lumber, to the Queen,” his obituary said.

R.L. Hanson’s school buses also shuttled kids to school for 40 years.

“He left a big legacy to both Iqaluit and Apex,” Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok told the legislative assembly in a statement Nov. 8.

“Niaqunnguut will never be the same again, understandably as he did everything in his power to assist Iqalummiut and the whole of Nunavut, due to his immense contributions,” the premier added

Iqaluit-Tasiluk MLA George Hickes echoed Akeeagok’s comments in the assembly.

“I think we would all be hard-pressed to find such a prominent family that have contributed so much to the positive development and just a positive attitude around people all across this territory, but especially here in Iqaluit,” Hickes said.

A celebration of Bob Hanson’s life will be held Friday at St. Jude Anglican Church starting at 1:15 p.m., followed by a reception at Cadet Hall.

His ashes will be spread on the sealift beach and some of the places he and Ann spent their walking dates, among other places.

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(10) Comments:

  1. Posted by Krista Gates on

    I met Bob once with his daughter Kathy,but seen him round Iqaluit quite a bit during my time in the north. Wonderful man and wonderful family. His positivity and kind nature will live on in. Anne and the girls!! ❤️‍🩹🙏🏻

  2. Posted by Daniel Lambert on

    A gentlement with a unmatched legacy . May he be remembered always as an anchor that he was to share all the good with everyone in Nunavut.

  3. Posted by BP on

    It was impossible not to love this man. He had a big heart and believed in family, community and giving back.

  4. Posted by Chris on

    I had the pleasure of working for Bob when I first moved to Iqaluit. Bob always took the time to shake my hand and ask how everything was with me and continued to do so even after my employment with his company ended. He genuinely cared about people in this community and it was very apparent. He commanded respect because of the respect he gave to others. I am thankful I was able to get to know Bob.

    Condolences to his family, his legacy lives on through you.

  5. Posted by Kono Tattuinee on

    I had the privilege of working with Bob in the late 90’s as we sat on the Nunavut Water Board, respected the man immensely, our chair at the time then was the late Thomas Kudloo another Inuit Legend, but back to Bob he was always the very steady rock and I got to know his business and always willing to help other people anywhere and any time, my condolences to Anne naglingnaujutit, his 5 awesome daughters and the whole family, Iqaluit and Nunavut has lost another great leader, his legacy he’s left with us.

  6. Posted by Nancy U Gibbons on

    Rest in beautiful peace. Reading about this man, he lived amongst the Inuit and understood where we came from. Great role model for Non-Inuit living in our communities.

  7. Posted by Fred Carriere on

    Just heard of Bob’s passing. Please accept my condolences to you Ann and your family
    Bob was a prince among us. I hold many
    fond memories of Bob and the family, in the
    earlier years in Frobisher Bay as well as later
    through Yellowknife Toyota dealings, everything done on his word . Take good care of yourself and your family. RIP Bob .

  8. Posted by Paul Fraser on

    My wife and I first met Bob Hanson in January 1986. We instantly took a like to this giant of a man … large not just in stature but also in personality. Never coy, always welcoming, pointed, quick witted, good humoured plus full of life and love. He and Anne were well matched and they raised five charming and personable daughters. He and Anne were always so proud of their girls. Through good times and rough times Bob was there for us. Even during the many years that we were absent, Bob remained our friend. Thank you Bob … you always had our backs and our hearts. You have earned your rest Bob and as written in scripture … well done good and faithful servant. Fondest regards good Friend. Sandra & Paul Fraser

  9. Posted by Kyle Robinson on

    I had the pleasure of meeting Bob at a very difficult time in my life, one of my darkest moments. His kindness kept me going, and I was a complete stranger to him. His impact was very broad, and won’t be forgotten.

  10. Posted by Shelley (Sullivan) Valaire on

    Beautiful story about a beautiful soul who loved life, family and community. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Hanson family! ♥️

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