Marc Hanson may have been best known for being an exceptional public servant, serving as Chief of Staff for State Senator Josh Newman.
But the roughly 150 people who gathered recently at Hillcrest Park in Fullerton also remembered him as a loving father and husband, and an exceptional human being who had a passion to improve the lives of others.
Hanson died suddenly of heart failure on August 25, 2021, just four days after his 46th birthday. His unexpected death has caused a ripple of grief for everyone who had the privilege to know him. Hanson is survived by his wife Shaina, their two children, Jasper and Enzo, his parents, Joyce and Russ Hanson, and his brother, Steve Hanson.
Melissa Ceballos, Jasper’s Transitional Kindergarten teacher at Ladera Palma Elementary School in La Habra, said she was intimidated when she first found out who Hanson was, but once she met him, the pretense of his title faded away and he simply became “Jasper’s Dad.”
“He was not Marc Hanson, chief of staff, walking into our classroom. He was Mr. Hanson, Jasper’s dad, a loving supportive, happy and dedicated father, always smiling, always with his boys in his arms,” Ceballos said. “His positive light was always evident and his love for his beautiful wife and their amazing boys was truly special to witness.”
Newman described Hanson as a close friend.
“For Marc to be taken from us so suddenly, so sadly, and so heart-wrenchingly soon, so young and in the midst of a well-lived life, presents a pain and a puzzle that defies comprehension,” Newman wrote the day after his death.
The two worked closely to help launch the North Orange County Public Safety Collaborative, which quickly found success thanks in part to Newman’s and Hanson’s vision and ability to secure state funding.
Newman talked about Hanson’s strong support for the Collaborative, a coalition of cities, police agencies and community-benefit organizations (CBOs) working together to innovate new ways to prevent youth violence, guide the recently incarcerated back into the mainstream of society and especially to help solve the issue of homelessness.
In 2017, with Hanson’s help, Newman secured the original state budget grant of $20 million that created the Collaborative and provided funding for its first four years. Since then, public safety officials across the region have developed highly effective partnerships with more than 40 CBOs, collaborating on strategy, sharing resources and responding to community needs.
An additional $7.8 million included in California’s Budget Act of 2021 will sustain the Collaborative for another year and enable it to expand. Federal officials have also taken note of the Collaborative’s innovative approach to solving challenging social issues and are seeking an additional $5 million.
“I’m really grateful for all the work that he did, both working within the Collaborative but also what he and I did within the Capital, to secure $7.8 million this year,” he said. “The Collaborative is doing good work.”
The senator said a top priority for the next legislative session will be to get state funding for subsequent years.
“He (Hanson) recently attended a grant preparation meeting. It’s wonderful to see all these organizations that are now a part of this effort and are now thinking of ways of getting at these problems,” Newman said. “He’ll be remembered for the way he made people feel and the energy and enthusiasm with which he embraced all parts of his life.”
A memorial GoFundMe for Marc Hanson’s family has been created. For more information, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/marc-hanson-memorial-fund