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Hanna Hayes Atkins

August 17, 1923 – May 8, 2024

Hanna Manon Hayes was born to Monta Mooney Hayes and Richard Van Hayes, Jr, in Mcloud, Oklahoma, on August 17, 1923. She died at the age of 100 years and nine months on May 8, 2024.

Hanna went to nursing school in Dallas and graduated as a registered nurse. She soon met a handsome doctor, Merrill Spencer, and they were married in 1944. A lovely daughter – Merrillyn – was born to them in 1946. As stubborn as her mother, Merrillyn changed her name to Mimi when she was quite young. Hanna and her baby followed Dr. Spencer to Germany, where he was a flight surgeon after World War II. Back in the US, they settled for a time in North Carolina – where Hanna set to work banding Summer Tanagers and starting a business with a friend. They also lived for a time in Pasadena, California.

Things didn’t work out for Hanna and Mimi’s father. They parted ways, and Hanna married John Atkins, an anthropology professor, father of four, and the love of Hanna’s life. They moved to Seattle, where two of John’s sons lived with them for a few years.

Hanna worked in a research lab for more than 20 years in the University of Washington School of Medicine.
After her husband John passed away in 1993, she found a second “career,” volunteering for Seattle Audubon (now Birds Connect Seattle.) She worked in the Nature Shop, proofread the newsletter, and then – computer ace that she was – she settled in to working with membership, data entry, and donor relations. Hanna met many friends there who remain friends to this day. 

She was no ordinary woman...
·    She dropped the last “h” from her name Hannah when she was only 12 years old, to be different from others with that name.
·    She took her first airplane ride with her brother, a pilot, when she was a small child. Then she got her pilot’s license when she was 55.
·    Hanna gave up flying after surviving mechanical failure. Then she kept the offending part in her china cabinet.
·    When she found that her new (bright red) Toyota Corolla had a “weak” horn, she had it replaced with one from a Toyota Tundra pick-up.
·    She was such a fan of Dan Piraro’s “Bizarro” comic strip, that she reached out to him and they became friends. He visited Hanna in Seattle, and she’s featured in one of his comics.
·    Ever a techie, she knew what a firewall was and set up one in her office.
·    Hanna modeled resilience. She lost her father to a gun accident when she was 12. Her beloved John’s death was a great loss. She saw her daughter, Mimi, through her death from cancer in 2004.

Hanna leaves to mourn her passing her extended family – Ramona and her family, also Ellen, Chris, Cheryl and Steve, plus Oklahoma family Connie, Cathy, and Meredith, and many friends in Seattle, California, and beyond. Our thanks go to TruCare Adult Family Home for caring for Hanna in her last years and to Evergreen Hospice for making her passing so peaceful.

There will be no service. Hanna’s ashes will be scattered at a later date. If you would like to make a gift in her memory, consider Best Friends, PAWS, or your favorite animal welfare society. Animals were her special cause.


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