BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Retired four-term Bakersfield City Councilman Harold Hanson, 85, died June 12 at Mercy Southwest Hospital with his family by his side, according to his obituary. 

Hanson, first elected to the council in 2000, represented a large portion of southwest Bakersfield for 16 years. He served as vice-mayor – his second stint in that position – during his final term. At that time he was the city’s second-longest serving council member, next to Jacquie Sullivan, who has since retired. 

“Always a gentleman, Councilmember Hanson was known to his colleagues on the Council and to City staff as a consensus builder on the dais, helping lead the community while giving back to it,” the city of Bakersfield said in a statement. “He will be missed, and the City offers its heartfelt condolences to his wife, Lana, as well as the rest of the Hanson family.”

“Harold Hanson served the people of Bakersfield with honor,” former colleague Mark Salvaggio wrote in an email. “He did not belong to any well-oiled political machine. 

“A gentleman is a gentleman everywhere. That was Harold Hanson.”

A banker by profession, Hanson was instrumental in the development of the 24th Street expressway, which improved the transition from Rosedale Highway to Highway 178 by way of downtown.  

Hanson was first elected in a narrow plurality, but he coasted to easy victories in each of the next three races before losing to Jeff Tkac in 2016. After Tkac took his own life shortly after being sworn in, retired real estate executive Bruce Freeman was appointed to fill the position. Freeman was elected to his first full term in 2020.

Hanson was born Dec. 27, 1936 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, to Mack and Madeline Hanson and was the oldest of five.  He moved to California in his 20s and worked in banking for more than 40 years.

He was a dedicated, longtime donor to the Houchin Memorial Blood Bank and an active member of the St. Francis and St. Phillip The Apostle churches.

Hanson held seats on several boards including water and air pollution control and he served as president of the Petroleum Club.

Hanson is survived by his wife of 49 years, Lana; daughter Kelly Hartwick, Kelly’s husband Brad and and their two children; son David Hanson, David’s wife Eileen and their three children; daughter Lori Duke and her husband Mike; son Robert Hanson and his first wife Joanne; and eight great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 9;30 a.m. Thursday at St. Phillip The Apostle Church on Stockdale Highway.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that mourners consider, in Hanson’s name, a monetary donation to Garces Memorial High School or a blood donation at Houchin Memorial Blood Bank.