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Natalie Hansen shares memories of her husband

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Posted: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:15 am, Wed May 9, 2012.

Natalie Hansen, the wife of Capt. Joe Hansen, laughs when she recalls meeting her husband.

It was 1980, and they were both working at the Sherwood Mall in Stockton. Natalie was still a senior in high school, and she was the only one of her co-workers who did not think Hansen was "cute."

"They kept asking me, 'Isn't he cute?'" she said. "And I said, 'No, he has Greg Brady hair.'"

But looking like a member of the Brady Bunch was not much of a deterrent from dating Joe Hansen.

"My co-workers kept teasing me, and eventually I started thinking, 'Yeah, he is kind of cute,'" she said.

Hansen began talking to Natalie, and five years later, in 1985, the two were married. Natalie worked as a travel agent, and Joe Hansen was a new firefighter. They had a son, Alex, who now lives in Sacramento.

The family moved to Lodi from Stockton in 2004, settling in a home just off Century Boulevard.

In their 20-plus years of marriage, Natalie watched her husband indulge in the outdoor hobbies that his fellow firefighters remember so well about him.

He had numerous pursuits, Natalie said, among them kayaking, rafting, rock climbing and scuba diving.

And while Natalie is not much for the outdoors, she said, she and her husband often enjoyed skiing together, and their family even took a week-long vacation at a dude ranch in the sprawling, green hills in Wyoming.

In fact, vacations were the best way to spend time together. They traveled all over, Natalie said, including to Africa and Egypt.

When they went on cruises, Natalie said it was not entirely unusual to find her husband hopping off the boat when they docked to stretch his legs and go for a run.

His athletic spirit was coupled with an amazing loyalty, Natalie said.

When she was diagnosed with cancer last year, she said her husband was at nearly every appointment, sitting by her side.

Describing her husband as logical, she said he was rarely impulsive, always staying calm in a situation.

When asked what she misses about her husband, Natalie echoed Joe Hansen's co-workers: "(I will miss) everything."

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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