Chris Hansen

Chris Hansen, a member of Haverford Meeting but a longtime attender at Buckingham, passed away the week of January 29. Chris devoted his life to being a healer of children most in need around the world.

Chris's obituary appeared in the Trenton Times (reproduced below).

Christian Hansen, pediatrician

By Meir Rinde

February 10, 2010, 4:19PM

Christian M. Hansen Jr., a pediatrician whose commitment to social justice and public health took him to civil-rights era Mississippi, combat zones in Africa and the Middle East, and the homes of neglected children around New Jersey, died Feb. 3 at the age of 77.

Hansen, who grew up in Camden and later lived in New Hope, Pa., was a pediatric child advocate for the Division of Youth and Family Services for 20 years, but his work took him on what his family called "a seemingly endless number of short medical missions to global crisis spots," including Nigeria, Vietnam, Iraq, Armenia, Rwanda, Kosovo and Haiti.

"He definitely cared so much about children, and he cared about people on a global scale and wanted to do as much as he could to help," said his daughter, Amy Hansen. "He never thought he did enough. He definitely inspired a lot of people to think in a much bigger way about helping others and to have an open heart."

Hansen, the son of a Lutheran minister who became a Quaker as an adolescent, also left a lasting mark on Trenton. He helped establish the Henry J. Austin Health Center in 1969, spent Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings distributing turkey dinners to public housing residents, and volunteered, after his retirement, at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.

Hansen was officially a tutor at the soup kitchen, but executive director Dennis Micai said the retired doctor, who wore a distinctive white chinstrap beard, would help the organization's clients in any way he could.

"He was an icon here," said Micai, who was good friends with Hansen and his wife, Alexandra. "He was probably the most Christian man I met in my life. He was the most non-judgmental person, giving of his time and efforts. He spent hours with people."

Hansen was born in Woodbury and attended Moorestown Friends School, Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, his family said.

After he completed his residency at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in 1961, the Hansens moved to the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Arizona, where he worked for the U.S. Public Health Service, providing care for Native American children.

He next took the family to Ankara, Turkey, where he was in the Peace Corps for two years, and then rejoined the health service, first in South Dakota and then in the Mississippi Delta.

He helped open the Tufts Delta Health Center in 1965, working in the poor, predominantly black town of Mound Bayou during a period of tense and sometimes violent race relations in America.

In 1969, after moving to New Hope, he helped found the health center in Trenton, joined the faculty of Rutgers Medical School, and later worked for the state, taking frequent breaks to travel to war zones around the world.

In a book about his travels, "In the Name of the Children," he described a 1968 trip to Nigeria's war-torn state of Biafra, where he had to help decide which children at a bush hospital could be helped and which could not be saved from dying from malnutrition.

"We selected those who would receive the careful protein feeds, the antibiotics, the antimalarial drugs and finally a blood transfusion, if they were lucky," he wrote. "It was an experience I will never forget and hope never to see again."

Hansen died in Flemington of pneumonia brought on by a rare bone marrow disease. In addition to his wife and his children -- Max, Amy, Jonathan and Nathaniel -- he is survived by five grandchildren.