June 15, 2016

A Glimpse of Advocacy and Life of Norma Jean Hanson

Category: Residents

Author: Bayview

Photo By Resident Flo Lentz

Norma Jean, technically, is not a new resident of Bayview! She moved in last year, in September, and is quite well settled in her attractive 6th Floor apartment.

This interesting new friend was born to a Norwegian family in Hastings, North Dakota, near Fargo. Times were hard then during the Great Depression, so when Norma Jean was five, in the fall of 1941, her family moved west, to Kent, Washington. World War II began and plenty of work became available. Her father found work with PacCar, which manufactured railroad cars at the time. Even her grandfather, who spoke no English, was employed in war work. Norma Jean heard Norwegian as a child and found in later years that the language and the accent came easily back to her.

After early schooling in the Kent area, Norma Jean attended Washington State College, after which she married her high school sweetheart, who subsequently was drafted to serve in Korea at the end of that conflict. They had three boys but Norma Jean managed to go back to school— at Green River College and Highline College—where in 1975 she earned a 2-year degree as a paralegal. She worked for a number of law firms large and small; she still has her website (via www.normajeanhanson.com) and was active in her work up through 2014. As a full-time paralegal, she volunteered as a “Guardian ad litem” for CASA** (see below) which involved doing parenting evaluations and custody recommendations for low-income litigants.

In 1989, single by that time, and with the boys all out on their own, Norma Jean sold her house in Kent and moved to Seattle. I first met her when she was managing the estate of a deceased client, an artist, in Magnolia, where we both lived.

In 2000, she started her own businesses: a mobile notary service called “Have Seal Will Travel”, a do-it-yourself divorce service called “Self Help Divorce”, and a private paid parenting plan evaluation/visitation service for divorcing families.

In 2014, she decided to make the change to a retirement home, so she sold her house the next year and moved to Bayview. Her youngest son, Ken, lives on Queen Anne with his wife, Nina, and daughter, Zoe. The oldest son, Larry lives on Mercer Island. His son Eric lives with his dad. Larry’s daughter, Hailey lives in Sammamish and works in Bellevue. The middle son, Chris, passed away in 2010.

When I asked Norma Jean about her interests outside of work, I was amazed and very impressed! She has traveled a lot, especially to Scandinavia and other European countries as well as Hawaii and Mexico. Volunteer work includes 15 years with the Municipal League of King County (of which she is still on the Advisory Board), rape relief hot line, and on a domestic-violence hotline. Politics, Norma Jean says, is her hobby. She worked on several campaigns, city and county, and made phone calls during two presidential campaigns. She finds this work interesting and exciting.

I found Norma Jean to be very interesting herself, friendly and easy to talk with, qualities which I feel sure aided her in the success of her valuable work. Do get to know this exceptional lady! You will enjoy her as much as I do. Thank you, Norma Jean, for our time together.

11 West Aloha Street

Seattle, WA 98119

Phone: (206) 284-7330