A crowd of hundreds paid their respects to former Assistant Fire Chief Jon Hansen Saturday morning, as his friends and family put him to rest after a long battle with cancer.
The ceremony was held at Life.Church in Edmond. The ceremony lasted two hours and was a credit to the vast amounts of stories told about Hansen.
Several speakers gave eulogies. Most filled the church with laughter, rather than tears.
Friends of Hansen noted his distinguished career as a firefighter, but also talked about his love of fast cars, air shows and animals. And all touched on his generosity.
Funeral attendees were even encouraged to hug and high five one another at the beginning of the service, the way Hansen greeted those he knew.
“This doesn't surprise me to see this level of out pouring for Chief Hansen's family, because he just touched so many lives,” Oklahoma City Fire Chief Keith Bryant said after the service. “He was literally a friend to everybody, regardless of what standing was in life, regardless of who you were. He always had time for people no matter who you were.”
“Chief Hansen, that's who he is and that spirit, that's not going to leave,” Admiral Doug McClain said.
McClain also gave an emotional eulogy at one point calling Hansen his “brother” although the two were not related.
Hansen became the face and voice for Oklahoma City to the world during the aftermath of the bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah building. His plain speaking and generous attitude served as a guiding light during some of the state's darkest days. Something many said made him a living embodiment of the Oklahoma standard.
He began his career with the Oklahoma City Fire Department in November 1973. He was promoted in 1995 to fire marshal, according to a statement from the department.
After retirement, Hansen continued to serve firefighters through safety training and work with the Council of Firefighter Training.
Hansen died at the age of 65 on April 15, four days before the anniversary of the bombing. His funeral was just a day before the marathon memorializing the tragedy which added yet another element to an already emotionally charged weekend.
“I won't say it’s fortuitous that he passed so close to the 19, but it certainly brings it home” McClain said.
Firefighters leaving the service said the hole Hansen’s loss left in the department will be difficult to fill. Bryant added the mood within the fire stations had been more somber than usual after Hansen’s passing.
When asked how to best to honor Hansen’s memory, McClain said the answer was simple; to live the way he did and serve others.
“We're Oklahoma, we're Oklahoma strong and we're better for having known Jon Hansen,” he said.
Hansen was officially laid to rest at Korb Cemetery, according to a fire department spokesperson.