By Stephen J. Kotz
The line stretched down Hampton Street Wednesday as hundreds of people waited to enter the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in Sag Harbor to attend a wake for Paul G. Hansen, a Sag Harbor real estate agent and builder, who was killed in a car accident just up the street from his home in Noyac early Sunday.
People from all walks of life, including real estate brokers, teachers and carpenters, some lifelong friends, others just acquaintances, remembered Mr. Hansen with smiles and quiet laughter as they waited more than an hour to enter the funeral home, which overflowed with flower arrangements and photographs of Mr. Hansen as a child, college student and father.
“He was a fun-loving guy,” said his older brother, Bob Hansen of Southampton this week. “He was very outgoing and had a broad network of friends. So many people knew him and knew him well.”
Tom Morrissey, who is married to Mr. Hansen’s twin sister, Susan, said with a laugh on Tuesday the Hansens’ father, George Hansen, described his son as “a rogue, but a loveable one.”
“He was involved in the community, helping kids with Little League. He was always involved in sports,” remembered Jeff Peters, a longtime friend. “He loved the water. He was at his happiest surfing or kiteboarding.”
Mr. Peters described Mr. Hansen as a person who always had a good word for everyone, was there to help those in need, and was a devoted father. “He was a hard worker and good provider,” he said. “He was dedicated to his kids.”
On Monday, Dottie Herman, the president and CEO of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, where Mr. Hansen worked in the Sag Harbor office, released a statement that expressed the firm’s sorrow at Mr. Hansen’s death. “Both a loving father and an exemplary member of the community, Paul had a thirst for adventure that was contagious,” she said.
“No one will ever say, ‘It’s too bad Paul never got to try this’ or ‘if only Paul had done that’ because Paul did everything,” said his brother John. “Take a lesson from Paul and live life to overflowing every day.”
Besides selling real estate, Mr. Hansen had a growing business as a house builder, Golden Home Management, and had built houses on the South Fork and Shelter Island.
He enjoyed being a Cub Scout leader, taking his sons on snowboarding trips to Vermont and hanging out with friends and family at Sagg Main Beach, his family said.
Mr. Hansen was born on October 14, 1961, in Rockville Centre to George Hansen and the former Jane Grant. The family moved to Sag Harbor when he was a child and he attended St. Andrew’s Catholic School and Pierson High School. He graduated from Johnson and Wales University with a degree in hospitality management in 1984 and later received a master’s degree from Dowling College.
Mr. Hansen was predeceased by his mother and a brother, Stephen. He is survived by his father, his wife, Catherine Guyer Hansen, and two sons, Hunter and Austin. Besides John and Robert Hansen and Susan Hansen Morrissey, he is also survived by another sister, Kathy Ruotolo of Port Jefferson Station, and two brothers, Thomas Hansen of Madison, Connecticut, and John Hansen of Moneta, Virginia, and many nieces and nephews and cousins.
A funeral Mass was held Thursday morning at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church. The family planned a celebration of his life at Long Beach on Thursday at 3 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial donations to the Memorial Fund for the Benefit of Hunter and Austin Hansen. Checks can be made out to Hunter and Austin Hansen and sent to the attention of Tara Fordham at the Bridgehampton National Bank, P.O. Box 70, Sag Harbor, NY, 11963.