Eric Hansen, a man whose heart was as big as his laughter, tragically left us on October 4th, 2023. His family and friends are deeply saddened and shocked by his sudden death, when his heart was arrested for being too big.
Eric burst onto the scene in San Francisco on June 12, 1964, making his debut as the first-born son of Steve and Karen Hansen. The Hansen family soon relocated to Sacramento when his father accepted a teaching position at Sacramento City College. Eric attended Curtis Park area public schools Sierra Elementary, Cal Middle School, and McClatchy High School, where he formed lifelong friendships and his talent and love for film and music blossomed.
Eric’s precocious movie making skills developed early on, when, armed with a Super 8 camera and an artistic vision, he directed a motley crew of actors including himself, his brother Matt, classmates and neighborhood friends as only a bossy big brother could. In post-production he taught himself advanced special effects magic, using click-by-click claymation or lasers drawn painstakingly on each frame-by-frame, to bring his vivid imagination to light on the screen. Later this passion evolved into documenting his hilarious kids’ hijinks with a VHS camcorder and digitizing all his relatives’ photo archives to illustrate his thoroughly researched family tree. Most recently, his phone allowed him to record and share every important minute of his life and those he loved.
Eric’s volume was always cranked up to 11. His voice was an angelic choir and a heavy metal rock band all in one. Eric was also a dedicated fan - from the most obscure Beatles trivia to every esoteric Queen recording, he took it all in and loved to share it with the world. From headlining high school musicals and performing in summer productions at the Music Circus, to later fronting several bands at home or out on tour, he had an innate musical talent that awed everyone around him. Based on his outstanding performance at the California All-State Honor Choirs, Eric was awarded a scholarship to attend San Francisco State University, where he majored in Music and minored in Film.
Eric faced more than his share of life’s hardships and challenges. Following the tragic loss of a dear friend and college roommate, Eric returned to Sacramento. Shortly thereafter, the loss of his father doubtless contributed to struggles with addiction. However, he was soon blessed with two beloved children and worked tirelessly to raise them and provide a happy and stable home.
After several years working for the California Board of Equalization, Eric boldly ventured out on a professional music career, bringing loud and funky music to the masses. Following life on the road, Eric eventually built a solid career as a trainer at the Franchise Tax Board. His dual role as a tax guru and musical virtuoso gave new meaning to the phrase "taxing my vocal cords!"
There are so many people who are going to miss Eric, but none more than his family.
He was the loving father to his son Ryan, whom we still mourn after his premature death in 2021. He also adored his daughter Mariah who, with her husband Jon Marshall, graced him with grandchildren Avianna, Cairo, and Enzo, from whom this young doting grandfather was taken much too soon. He cherished his family, including his mother, Karen, stepfather, Bob Nunes and brother, Matt, as well as bonus-children Michael Fisher and Emily Gonzalez, and his extended family of bonus-siblings, nephews, cousins, and more. In recent years, Eric found joy and solace in the company of his beloved dog, Olive. They spent treasured moments together at the Sierra School dog park, making lasting memories and many new friends. Olive still awaits his return.
It is hard to communicate the depth of sorrow felt by his friends and family.
A memorial ceremony will be held at East Lawn Memorial Park on Monday, November 20th at 10 am. Thanks to the generosity of his friend Todd Temby, we will celebrate Eric's life at The Bunker, a venue he held dear, on Saturday, December 2nd at 7 pm. It won’t be the same without Eric’s booming voice and gregarious personality to warm the room, but Eric loved a good party almost as much as he loved music. So in his honor, we will come together to laugh, cry, and remember the one and only Eric Hansen, the music man with a heart of gold, a warm smile and a laugh that could bring the house down. The deafening silence he leaves behind saddens us more than we can say.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages those who so desire to make a gift to the Front Street Animal Shelter in Eric’s name.