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Archive for July, 2009

Lost and loved

We interrupt our Dewain Silvester family memories to honor and remember one of my other grandfather’s, the one I knew least well, Wallace Hansen, my step-mom, Melanie’s father.  He, too, was a WWII veteran, and died last Wednesday.

There is a beautiful tribute to him on his business website (he ran a nursery for native Oregon plants).

He liked to give, and you can go to this page and find a calendar, screen savers, and a wildflower coloring books (scroll down a bit) that show where his heart and passion lay.

You can read his obituary here, or below:

Wallace Wylie Hansen


Wallace Wylie Hansen December 3, 1921 – July 14, 2009 SALEM – Wallace Wylie Hansen, “Wally” to his friends, age 87, passed away at home, Tuesday, July 14, 2009. He was born in 1921 in Bellingham, Washington and married Audrey Ethel Safsten, of Blaine, Washington, who passed away November 5, 2007. Wally was a civil engineer, educated at Washington State University, and went on to fight in World War II as a captain in the Army Corps of Engineers. He served in the European and Pacific theatres, and was on the USS Missouri the day Japan signed the surrender documents. He was later recalled to fight in the Korean War. After returning home to Bellingham, he ran a small optical import business until 1965, when he moved the family to Kailua, Hawaii, where he managed the U.S. Army Facility Engineers for the Army of the Pacific until his retirement in 1988. Wally and Audrey retired in Salem, Oregon, only to start Act III of his life: Wally Hansen’s Native Plant Nursery, at a time when few people knew or appreciated what native plants were. He wrote a monthly native plant journal and became a widely respected and noted expert on Pacific Northwest native plants, donating plants to projects, schools, restoration sites, and often just giving away beloved plants so others could enjoy them. He created a beautiful woodland garden and nursery in S.E. Salem, and sent plants, seeds and bulbs of native all over the world. He could look gruff, but came to resemble a woodland sprite, striding through the woods with his jaunty hat and walking stick, which he had used to climb Mt. Fuji. He was adventurous romantic at heart, a talented writer, and loved the poems of Rudyard Kipling and Robert Service and the tales of Jack London. As a young man, with his childhood friend Warren, drove from Bellingham to Mexico City in a Model A Ford. They also worked in gold fields in Alaska in the summers to earn money for college. After his beloved wife passed away, he filled their walls at home with poems such as “If” and “Mandalay” and “Trees.” His favorite quote was “Never complain, never explain.” Until the end, wheelchair bound, with Alzheimer’s, he made friends with everyone he came in contact with. He was a kind and gentle man, beloved by his employees, friends, family and other native plant enthusiasts and will be missed by all. He is survived by 6 children, 17 grandchildren, and numerous great-grandchildren and was an active member of the LDS church. Funeral Services will be at 4 p.m. on Friday, July 17 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2530 Boone Rd. S.E., Salem. Arrangements by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.
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Well, actually, it was yesterday, but I missed it.  Dewain Silvester was born 16 July 1921 in Rexburg, Idaho, 88 years ago.

Next week, many of his descendents will be gathering in Palisades, Idaho for a Silvester Family reunion.  Those who can make it for the whole week will be doing fun things like hiking, rafting, boating, crafting, eating, playing and things like that.  Then there are a few of us who will only be there for the final potluck dinner and the last day!  No matter what, it’ll be great to see everybody.

Someday I’ll get back on track for the rest of the letters (and maybe next week we can start to clear up the mystery of where the rest of the letters are).

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