Karen Hoffman Hanson of Bernardsville, the loving wife of Jon F. Hanson, passed away on Thursday, June 11, 2020, at the age of 81.
Karen was born on Dec. 30, 1938, to the Rev. Dr. Harvey B. Hoffman and Iola Hoffman in Schuylerville, N.Y. She spent her formative years in Hackensack, and was graduated from the Dwight School for Girls, now Dwight-Englewood School, in 1956.
She later attended Connecticut College for Women, now Connecticut College.
Through a mutual friend, she met the love of her life, Jon F. Hanson, and they eloped on Dec. 15, 1957. Together they raised three children, James E. Hanson II and Deborah Paige Hanson, both of Bernardsville, and Jeffrey B. Hanson of Jackson, Wyo.
As befitting the daughter of a minister, faith was a central part of Karen’s life. She served on the Consistory of the Community Church in Harrington Park and was later ordained as an Elder of the Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church. She taught Sunday school for many years and operated a Christian bookstore called Seek & Find in Closter.
For Karen, faith was something that required more than belief, and she was fond of the Biblical passage from James 2:14-26 that tells us that: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.”
Karen put those words into action in many of her passions and philanthropic activities.
She co-founded the Paige Whitney Babies Center, named in honor of her grandchild, an organization that helped families in need by providing necessary infant supplies, including over seven million diapers over a 15-year period. Later, the center went on to provide scholarships to advance the educational and vocational goals of parents in need.
In keeping with her kind and compassionate spirit, Karen generously gave of her time and formidable talents. She founded God’s Co-op Pantry at Good Shepherd Church in Bernardsville and was a volunteer for Homeless Solutions in Morristown.
She was a longtime trustee of the Meland Foundation and a trustee of the Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Mich., the seminary from which her father was graduated and commenced his ministry.
Karen was the proud matriarch of a very close family of over 40 family members.
She is survived by her husband, Jon, the founder and chairman of The Hampshire Companies; and her three children, James E. Hanson II and his wife, Barbara L. Hanson, Deborah P. Hanson and her significant other Robert Ward, and Jeffrey B. Hanson and his wife, Sarah V. Hanson.
In addition, she leaves behind 11 grandchildren of the Hanson and Imperatore families, seven of whom are married and three of whom are engaged to be married; as well as 15 great-grandchildren, with three more due over the summer.
A memorial service to honor Karen’s life and memory will be scheduled at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Karen Hanson’s honor be made to the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center – Oncology Expansion, 475 South St., Morristown, N.J., 07960.