James Gerald Hanna
October 26, 2023
James Gerald Hanna, 82, of Trout Creek, passed away October 22, 2023, at Clark Fork Valley Hospital in Plains. Jim's last days were spent surrounded by his family.
Jim was born March 28, 1941, in Los Angeles, California, to James Rupert and Alma (Johnson) Hanna. Jim's father was in the Marine Corps and served during World War II. The Hannas eventually moved to Texas, where his younger sisters Cyndia and Kym were born.
As a child, Jim was very artistic, a great basketball player, and was active in Future Farmers of America. He spent his childhood helping the family farming and caring for livestock. He graduated from Cooper High School 1959.
Jim would return to California and worked odd jobs, including as a Christmas present wrapper at Sears, until he joined the U.S. Navy in 1963. He went to electrician school and worked on electrical components within fighter jets and ships. He was stationed in several places, including Jacksonville, Florida, and Oahu, Hawaii.
Jim had a talent for electrical work and when he left the Navy, he moved to Spokane, Washington. He was an avid outdoorsman and worked at an outdoors store. He applied to be a journeyman electrician with Washington Water Power and was hired as a temporary worker. Eventually he was hired as an apprentice electrician.
Jim met Dian Nissen in Post Falls, Idaho, in 1975. They were married May 26, 1976, in a little Catholic chapel near Newman Lake, Washington. After they were married, Jim earned his journeyman certification and worked as a high voltage construction electrician for Washington Water Power, where he would work for more than 33 years. The couple welcomed sons Jason in 1981 and Jesse in 1984.
The Hannas moved to Noxon in 1988 when Jim transferred to the Cabinet Gorge and Noxon Rapids dams. Jim took the electrician job in Montana to spend more time at home with his family. When he and Dian got married, they made a decision to devote their lives to their family and Jim held that throughout his life. The family moved to a farm in Trout Creek in 1991 and Jim retired from Avista, the company that purchased Washington Water Power, in 2005.
Jim was a volunteer with the Trout Creek Rural Fire Department, serving as a fireman and board member for many years, as well as a supervisor with the Green Mountain Conservation District for many years.
His love of the outdoors was a lifelong passion. Growing up he spent a lot of time fishing and hunting with his father, and was a member of a four wheel drive club in California. As a father, he shared his love for fishing and hunting with his children, patiently teaching them about the outdoors. He was a hands-on person and always had a project going, building and fixing things. That philosophy applied to parenting as he spent many hours shooting hoops with them or helping with 4-H projects. He liked to pass on his talents and experiences to his own children and others.
Jim was an involved grandfather just as he was a father. His granddaughter Sophia's fondest memories are adventures like walking on the beach in Maui with her grandpa and always going to get vanilla ice cream with him. When he and Dian would visit Jesse and his family, one of his only requests was to get vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Jim was a person who didn't really talk a lot, but when he had something to say, he meant it and it was worth listening to.
Jim was detail oriented and liked things in their place, a trait he passed on to his children. He was very organized, always had a to-do list and set high expectations for himself and others. Jim would get frustrated, and sometimes even lose his temper, but he would always come back and say things like "It's not the end of the world," or "It is what it is," and then find another way to approach the issue.
He had a perpetual sense of humor. It was a little dry and very sarcastic at times, but it was always there. He would always find a way to add levity to any situation.
Jim will be remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather who was patient, honest and always there to lend a helping hand to a friend, neighbor or stranger. He was the first to go to new neighbors, shake their hands and introduce himself. He didn't want much out of life except a solid, loving family who cared about each other and their community. Jim lived life on his own terms. He was not selfish, but he had his priorities and didn't let things stand in his way. He was confident in his decisions and kept his promises.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, James and Alma; sister Laurie Ellen; son Jason; brother-in-law Larry Ricard.
Jim is survived by his wife Dian of Trout Creek; son Jesse, daughter-in-law Mayra and granddaughter Sophia of Cypress, Texas; brothers-in-law Carl (Katie) Nissen of Polson; Steven (Sunnie) Nissen of Denver; Michael Nissen (Stacy) of Lake Stevens, Washington; Peter Nissen (Rebecca) of Yakima, Washington; Mark Nissen (Remi) of South Carolina; sister-in-law Patricia Rikard of Yakima; sister Cyndia Hanna of Scottsdale, Arizona; sister Kym (Beverly) Hanna of Chandler, Arizona; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
A graveside service with military honors will be held Friday, October 27, 2023, at 11 a.m. at Whitepine Cemetery. Jim believed in giving kids an opportunity to learn. In his honor, the family encourages you to help your neighbors, volunteer with your local 4-H club, support kids in their education or go have an ice cream and enjoy the time with the ones you love most.