Dennis Allen Hanson passed away peacefully at Cottage Hospital after a brief illness, just two days shy of his 74th birthday. Kris Rehler, his partner of 40 years, was by his side.
Dennis was born and raised in Benton Harbor, Michigan. As a child, he loved baseball and family beach days at Lake Michigan. In high school, he was the keyboardist in a band that recorded a 45 single at the famous Chess Studios in Chicago.
Upon graduation, he joined the Merchant Marine and served on the Great Lakes. Dennis was also with the Military Sealift Command, serving the Navy in both the Mediterranean and Indo-Pacific regions.
In 1981, Dennis moved to Santa Barbara, taking a job at Cottage Hospital where he worked for 35 years. He started in Housekeeping, but later moved to Admitting, Transitional Care, and Medical Records. During the last 15 years of his career he worked on the Surgical Trauma Floor 5S/3RT as the unit coordinator.
Upon his retirement, Dennis immediately stepped into the role of Cottage Hospital volunteer, a position he enjoyed. He also wrote the novel “Morri Jibbs’ Mountain: The Journey of a Shipwrecked Drifter,” published by Newman Springs in 2022.
Dennis’s first true love was music. He was a life member of the Santa Barbara Blues Society. He also wrote close to 100 songs and owned and played a variety of string, keyboard and percussion instruments.
He was a founding member of the trio Nightwind, playing numerous gigs around Santa Barbara at clubs, office parties, weddings, and private events on the Condor Express. More recently, he performed at retirement homes and senior luncheons. He also moved to Nashville, Tennessee, for a year, where he recorded three CDs.
Dennis was known as a kind and caring man – and a good friend. He had a great smile, delightful laugh, and a wonderful sense of humor. He was such fun to be with!
Dennis is survived by his sister Mary, of Ludington, Michigan; his nieces and nephews; a host of dear friends; and his loving partner in life, Kris.
We will all miss Dennis in ways that words cannot express. We take comfort in knowing that he is now in the loving arms of his Lord and Savior.
A celebration of Dennis’s life will take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the Cottage Hospital Garden. Please enter the hospital garden through the gate on Oak Park Lane.
A special thank-you to the staff at Cottage Hospital who gave Dennis such exceptional and loving care during his last days.